Salone News

Hinga Norman Affair: Supreme Court Adjourns

By  | 23 March 2006 at 14:40 | 404 views

Commentary

By Alfred Munda SamForay

The Supreme Court of Sierra Leone in the matter of Samuel Hinga Norman(photo) versus SLPP, Jah, Saffa and Carew adjourned Tuesday morning without issuing the much awaited ruling on the case. Reason for the court action or lack of action ? We are told that there was an insufficient number of justices on the Chamber to consider the matter. One justice, we are told, was up for confirmation before the House of Representatives but the legislature was unable to confirm the nominee before the court convened this morning. Another justice is out sick.

As a result, the case was adjourned to 25th April, 2006. Although disappointed at the continued delay on the matter, the Norman defence team did not launch a formal complaint as it appears the justices are doing their best to keep the politically volatile situation from taking on a life of its own.

Although we are unable to confirm this, rumours abound in Freetown that the real reason for the delay was that events developing at State House with respect to Vice President Berewa may have caused Parliament to delay hearings on the President’s? judicial nominee which in turn led to the unceremonious adjournment at the court. The rumours also involve former Finance Minister, J. B. Dauda, recently appointed a senior adviser to the President who has suddenly of late become Mr. Kabbah’s right hand man during Kabbah’s tour of the Provinces. But like I said, these are just rumours.

What appears to be clear is that the Supreme Court is doing all it can not to have to issue a ruling on this matter. It appears the high court would rather that the SLPP and Chief Hinga Norman arrive at an out of court settlement but neither party appears willing to indulge the other. Some party leaders appear to intimate that they are willing to talk but Norman is not. It also appears to be quite clear that an victory for Chief Norman may result in untold carnage at party headquarters as well as at State House. Assuming that Norman sees absolute victory in the making both at the so-called special court as well as the Supreme Court, it stands to reason why he would be inclined to let the dead bury their dead and not bother himself with the losers who have tormented him and his family for three years.

The events at the Supreme Court may also not be entirely unrelated to events at the so-called special court for Sierra Leone where President Kabbah himself is still dangling on the rope he and Mr. Berewa prepared for Mr. Norman. The Trial Chamber there is still deliberating on the subpoena issued for Mr. Kabbah by Chief Norman. Some how if Mr. Kabbah can find a double barrel solution to rid himself of the special court menace as well as the imminent defeat at the Supreme Court, the President, the SLPP and the government will be all the better for it. The Trial Chamber (should have met)on Wednesday on what it calls a status conference presumably to examine the remainder of Mr. Norman’s witness list.President kabbah is still listed as Defence Witness No. 1.

Meanwhile, a group of representatives of donor nations also known as the Committee of Management is due to arrive in Freetown on Monday to get a first hand assessment of the progress or the lack thereof, at the SC-SL. The representatives are sure to get an earful on both the pros and cons of the UN-backed war crimes tribunal. Not the least is why the court used donor funds to finance subversive activities in Sierra Leone, Liberia and Togo. The court’s exorbitant price tag now in excess of twenty million dollars a year as recently reported by award winning journalist, Lansana Gberie. All this to prosecute nine defendants in a country that has no workable electricity, water or sewage system will be among the briefings the court will probably prefer that the donors not know about. But they will, unless God says otherwise.

Alfred Munda SamForay,
Hinga Norman-CDF Defence Fund &
The Committee to Elect Norman.

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