Ruling for hearing into the substantive application of the tribunal against the former Auditor General Mrs. Lara Taylor Pearce and her deputy Tamba Momoh has been reserved and adjournment will be made known on notices to be sent.

The tribunal on Monday 8th May 2023 sat at the National Social Security and Insurance Trust (NASSIT) Court in Freetown.

Lawyer Roland Wright, Counsel representing the first respondent Mrs. Lara Taylor Pearce, apart from adopting his earlier written Preliminary objections dated 20th February 2023, made oral objections and submissions about the State Notice of Motion application dated 28th November 2022.

According to Lawyer Roland Wright, the
tribunal ought not to entertain the said application dated 28th November 2022 so far as there is no valid affidavit in support of the application filed and served by him from the Law Officers Department.

This he said is mandatory and a requirement for any application; and that the heading referred to in the case file number to wit “M No.4/2022 not in the heading of affidavit to the notice of motion most significantly, he argued that the affidavit from the State remains undated. He submitted that the application must be discountenanced.

Secondly, Counsel Roland Wright went on that the application from the State is asking for orders and which he said are two separate orders in a legal context.

He submits that in the first order sought in the notice of motion, the State Applicants are seeking permission to question the respondents as a means of proceeding with the tribunal.

He argued that even the State Applicants have accepted that both respondents are subject matter.

As per the rules of the practice direction, the State Applicants cannot lead evidence, and can’t ask for permission to question, the respondents. “They are non-compelling witnesses.

Counsel submitted that the application ought to be refused by the tribunal court, as it is in contravention of the Practice Directions.

For the Applicants to use both respondents as witnesses, Mr. Roland Wright’s submission is premature as they have to comply with “E” of the Court Practice Directions. He further submitted that even the tribunal made a distinction between witnesses and respondents.

In response to the objections, the State counsel Lawyer Joseph Andrew Khalil Sesay said assuming without conceding that Counsel for the first respondent was served with an undated affidavit in support or without a case number, this tribunal as per the Practice Directions is sufficient to use the unsworn affidavit in a defective form.

“This tribunal has the authority, and provides room for flexibility”, Lawyer Joseph Andrew Khail.

Sesay emphasized. On the second objection, about order and direction, the State counsel argued that the prayers are self-explanatory.

“The rules are there to guide us and cannot circumvent orders,” State Counsel submitted.

In the absence of the second respondent Tamba Momoh, who according to his legal representative Mohamed Pa Momoh Fofana went on medical, one of the Judges Justice Ansumana Ivan Sesay raised the issue of the continuous absence of the second respondent from the tribunal.

“Your client is not treating the court fairly, and as per the practice directions he ought to be in court at every adjourned date, except otherwise which is not the case,” Justice Ivan reminded Counsel Pa. Momoh Fofana.