Chief Alhaji Samuel Sam-Sumana, former Vice President the All Peoples Congress-led Government has attempted to economically strangulate and cripple Sierra Leoneans in his pursuit to seek relief at the ECOWAS Court for a violation of his fundamental human rights.
This was disclosed by the Office of the Attorney General and Minister of Justice during a Press Conference held on the 15th March, 2023.
Attorney General and Minister of Justice, Mohamed Lamin Tarawalley, intimated that Alhaji Sam-Sumana was removed from office before 2018 under the previous administration for reasons unknown to the public.
He continued that dissatisfied with his removal, he filed a lawsuit in Sierra Leone and subsequently went to the ECOWAS Court for a violation of his political rights under the framework of human rights violation.
“In 2017, a judgment was delivered against the State, requiring it to pay his compensation and benefits,” he said adding how Sierra Leone did not defend its position; instead, the then Attorney-General, Joseph F. Kamara, wrote a letter to the court stating that Sierra Leone is a sovereign nation and cannot submit to the provisions of the ECOWAS court which resulted into a judgment in default against the country.
The Attorney General furthered that when the Government changed in 2018, Sam-Sumana sought to enforce the judgment and went back to the ECOWAS court.
He underscored that, however, the reliefs he sought were severe, with him asking the ECOWAS to sanction Sierra Leone as if it was a military regime, a terrorist country, or a blacklisted country.
The relief requested, he disclosed, is that the Authority of Heads of State and Government of ECOWAS impose sanctions against the respondent through the suspension of new community loans or assistance, the suspension of disbursement on ongoing community projects or assistance programs, exclusion from presenting candidates for statutory and professional posts, and suspension from participating in the activities of the community pending compliance with the judgment of the ECOWAS Court delivered on the 27th day of November 2017.
He said Sierra Leonean lawyers and Government representatives had no choice but to defend the case as they could not allow such relief because it would have resulted in a free flow of other bodies imposing sanctions by virtue of the judgment.
Solicitor General, Robert B. Kowa, on his part stated that if the ECOWAS judgment defended by the State had gone against the State, it would have meant that the Government was a human rights abuser and the country did not follow the rule of law.
The consequences of sanctions by ECOWAS, he said, would have escalated to the EU and possibly other European nations, based on the fact that Sierra Leone did not respect human rights.
He said fortunately, Sierra Leone was able to put up a strong legal defense, led by Osman Kanu, the Principal State Counsel which ensured that the nation’s status and dignity were restored.
The Solicitor General emphasized that the Government’s legal team would not allow any connivance to extort money from the people of Sierra Leone.