Sierra Leone’s Anti-Corruption Commission Chief, Francis Ben Kaifala, denies allegations he hijacked the weekend leadership election of the Sierra Leone Bar Association in favor of a candidate friendly to the government.

The Commissioner pointed out in an interview that he went to the Bar election in Kenema in his private capacity as a Legal practitioner with 17years of practice. He revealed that his role was to conduct the election of the new executive of the Sierra Leone Bar Association.

Responding to allegations of changing the order unknowing to the various aspirant at the hall, he justifies that at the Annual General Meeting any member can propose to change the order of the business as per the agenda. He confirmed that a member can bring something up in the agenda that is important which can also be put to a vote for a consensus, a standard practice in Company Law.

He further revealed that when the process began, he realized that they have been conducting Bar elections that span till 2am in the morning. Realizing that they are in Kenema, and they will be travelling to Freetown, he proposes the motion of bringing the election up in the agenda above other Items in his capacity as a private person. He added that the membership agreed with him as they voted to endorse the decision for the election to be made second in the agenda.

He expressed his disappointment at Lawyer Pa Momoh Fofanah for putting out statement one hour after the election detailing the conduct of the election when he was not present at the Annual General Meeting in Kenema. He believes Pa Momoh is withholding honesty because he could not place on the letter that he was not in Kenema wher the AGM took place.

He admitted that there were challenges with the election but there was a Voter’s list Pursuant to a court Order which was displayed at the Hall in Kenema. But he confirmed that the aggrieved camps were rowdy, throwing missiles adding that their claim was for him not to preside over the election.  He confirmed that he is senior for both Presidential aspirants Wara Serry-Kamal and Augustine Sengeh Marah at the Sierra Leone Bar Association.

However, he acknowledges that the Bar is a very small body and they are connected to one another. He described Lawyer Marah and Lawyer Wara Serry-Kamal as his good friends and Tuma Adama Jabbie has also been his friend for the longest of time.

Responding to concerns about conflict of interest and also sympathizing with the SLPP Party, the commissioner states “There is no requirement about politics at the Bar. There is no law which says that if somebody is a member of a Political Party he should not stand to be President of the Bar. There is no law which says somebody cannot conduct election if affiliated with a Political Party. I can say over 90 people in that hall belong to a political party. Politics has never been a reason to disbar anybody standing for election or voting for election or conducting election. The real question that you need is your moral fortitude and your strength of character to conduct election. I believe this is what the other members see and clearly nominate me to conduct the election.

The only thing that happens in Kenema, I stood for the Bar, I stood against those forces that went to Hijack the election in Kenema and now they are very unhappy,’

Realizing these challenges, he acknowledges that there are deep seated problems in the bar which he is joining efforts to reconcile with the other aspirants to move processes