Missing in action without prior excuse…Attorney general derails Tuesday’s parliamentary sitting

Members of the Sierra Leone Parliament Tuesday 26th November 2019 registered their dissatisfaction over the absence of the Attorney General and Minister of Justice, Priscilla Schwartz, who was supposed to appear before them to table documents as outlined in item one on the order paper of the day’s business. Schwartz should have laid before the house of the Sierra Leone Parliament the following papers:

  • The High Court (Appointment of Criminal Sessions) Order, 2019
  • The High Court (Criminal Sessions) Rules S.I. NO. 74 of 1965
  • The Criminal Procedure Act, 1965 (Act no. 32 of 1965)
  • Statutory Instrument No. 2 of 2019.

When the Attorney General and Minister of Justice, Schwartz was called upon to lay the above papers as expected, she was not in the well of Parliament. The Speaker of Parliament, Honourable Abass Chernor Bundu asked if she was represented by her deputy, but the response was in the negative. This made the MP representing Constituency 051 in the Tonkolili District; Honourable Alhaji Sorieba Turay in a loud undertone suggested that the particular item on the order paper be skipped for the business of the house to continue. He noted that the disappeared Schwartz should not hold the business of the house to a halt. “Let us proceed; we don’t need to wait for her. Of course, she has to take us seriously…” Hon. Turay shouted in an apparent show of anger on the issue. It was clear that other MPs on the ruling SLPP side were uneasy with the seeming stern stance of Hon. Turay against the missing Attorney general. Some MPs even trivialized the issue and there was a bit of a commotion of words from either sides of the aisle in the well of Parliament.

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