The newly elected executives of the Sierra Leone Bar Association have called on the Attorney-General and Minister of Justice Abdul Serry Kamal, members of Parliament and the Law Reform Commission to take speedy action to ensure that an Employee Act is enacted in Sierra Leone.
Briefing Journalists at their secretariat in Freetown yesterday, the Secretary General of the Association Desmond Ngakui said that, after their associations annual conference, they resolved that the Act should include but not be limited to the following: to confer a right of action on an employee or worker for unfair as distinct from wrongful dismissal; to prescribe the minimum notice of termination having regard to the nature of the job; the seniority of the employee, and the length of the Employee’s service; to specify the reasons for the termination or dismissal in every case which must be stated in writing and communicated to the Employee; to limit the causes for which an employee may be terminated after a stated number of years’ service; to confer on the courts or other appropriate tribunal power to order the reinstatement of the Employee or order compensation or both; to make provision for compulsory minimum pension and gratuity rights of all employees and to confer a right on an employee to claim unfair dismissal where he or she has been dismissed for redundancy.
He further stated that, the Sierra Leone Labour Congress, the Sierra Leone Bar Association, the Sierra Leone Association of Journalists (SLAJ) and civil society groups acting as watchdogs of the people, do immediately embark on a campaign to ensure that such legislation is drafted and forwarded to Parliament for consideration and enactment most urgently.
Lawyer Ngakui noted that, the Bar Association forms a legislative standing committee with the responsibility of partnering with the Law Officers Department and the Law Reform Commission to work on the Reform of the Legislation.
The association Secretary General pointed out that the association will take steps in ensuring the materialization of the review of the criminal procedure Act No.32 of 1965.
On the Sierra Leone Constitution, he disclosed that sections 18(1a) and (b) and section 21 of the state Proceedings Act No 14 of 2000, are totally inconsistent with and derogate from the rights of a citizen having a claim against the government to take proceedings against the government to enforce such claim as enacted by section 133(1) of the said constitution which is the supreme law of the state.
Mr. Ngakui further disclosed that, the said sections 18 (1a) and (b) and section 21 of the state proceedings Act No. 14 of 2000 be repealed and expunged from the said Act forthwith as being unconstitutional and contrary to the letter and spirit of the Constitution by limiting the reliefs open to a citizen having a claim against the government, while not so limiting the reliefs open to government having a claim against any citizens, thereby putting the government above the law.
He said that the association is calling on the office of the Attorney General and Minister of Justice and Members of Parliament to take urgent action to ensure that the said sections 18 (1) A and B and section 21 of the State Proceedings Act No.14 of 2000 are repealed and expunged from the said Act.
Association Vice President Mustapha Turay said that, this new Executive wants to take the association to the people by organizing workshops, and public forum to educate the people on certain laws of the land.
Martha Sesay the association’s Assistant Financial Secretary said that, the role of the executive will not be only to these resolutions but to address other relevant issues.
By Abibatu Kamara