The Southern Region Office of the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) on Thursday, 25th June, 2020, cautioned local court administrators in Mattru Jong over acts of extortion and abuse of office. This was made during an engagement with the court administrators in Mattru Jong, Bonthe District.
The Southern Region Manager of the ACC, Musa Jawara, admonished court administrators to uphold integrity, transparency and accountability as that will help ensure peace and stability among the people and their communities. He said moneys received from fines should be handled according to laid down public financial management procedures.
Mr. Jawara called on the authorities of the court to avoid abusing and violating people’s rights, whilst also noting that issues surrounding contempt of court should not be used as a means to abuse their positions. He said that the jurisdiction of the local court is independent of the operations of chiefdom administrators. He cited the functions of the local courts authorities and asked them to remain as arbitrators rather than turning the court into some sort of ‘farmhouse’ to exploit unsuspecting members of the public. “Unlawful fines and punishments on citizens are becoming alarming and that has the tendency to threaten the peaceful co-existence of the State,” he said.
ACC’s Southern Region Prosecutor, Abubakarr Sannoh Esq., said that the improper constitution of the court is a recipe for procedural blunders. He called on local court authorities to stay within the boundaries of their jurisdictions as prescribed in Section 15 of the Local Court Act of 2011. He warned that items with monetary value such as cattle and agricultural produce are not prescribed by law as fines to levy against culprits. “Some of these issues have banished young men and women away from their communities,” he reiterated.
The Local Court Chairman Osman Vandi appreciated the timely intervention of the Commission, and made a commitment to dispense justice to the people of Mattru Jong with fairness. He called on his colleagues to refrain from any act that will undermine the fair dispensation of justice.