The Chief Justice (C. J) of the judiciary of Sierra Leone, Justice Desmond Babatunde Edwards has on Monday 9th December 2019, commissioned the Industrial and Social Security division of the High Courts. The divisions which is domiciled at the Siaka Stevens Street Court building comprises of two separate court rooms and chambers for judges.
In his keynote address, the C. J said by constitutional instrument no. 4 of 2019 dated 4th April 2019, he had the pleasure of setting up that division as well as the Anti-Corruption Commission division and the sexual offences divisions of the High Court.
Prior to this time, there was no opportunity for specialisation as judges were assigned randomly. The the C.J said the result was that judges have to compete with for rooms in order to conclude matters of that nature and were mainly dealing with such matters in addition to the several other matters encompassing the five divisions then.
Now judges are specifically and or specially assigned and will be dealing with these matters in special courts designed and built for that purpose on a regular basis and will have the opportunities to specialise. “As we increased the number of judges, judges will be required to handle matters in just a single division resulting to specialisation”, he said.
He further stated that “social security being a human rights issue the judiciary was compel to source funding from the government under the mandate and control of of the industrial and social security division. “We in the judiciary are now ready to live up to our mandate as provided by the NASSIT Act no. 5 of 2001 to ensure and enforce compliance “, he said.
The Minister of Labor and Social Security, Alpha Timbo described the social security court as a special court originated from the desire to ensure that employers establishments fully comply…adding that it was consistent with Section 25 of the National Social Security and Insurance Trust Act no. 5 of 2005.
Sorry, there are no polls available at the moment.
He said if contributions were not paid, the operations of the trust will come to a halt therefore it was necessary to achieve effectiveness in the collection of contributions.
He went on the cite the various provisions within the Act which emphasizes compliance and penalties for failure to comply. The Minister said in the formulation of the Act, they were mindful of the fact that institutional provisions needed to be made to safeguard the Trust for it to be able to collect it contributions.
He spoke about the challenges the Trust have been facing in their efforts to retrieve large contribution arrears owed to the Trust.
He noted that the establishment of the court is an absolute necessity adding that with the introduction of the court, the management will be able to overcome that particular challenge.
The Director General of NASSIT, Mohamed Fuad Daboh, emphasised that it was the responsibility of employers to make sure that employees were registered and contributions were paid on their behalf. He also pointed to the non-compliance challenges NASSIT have been facing over the years. He said they were appreciative of the court as there will no longer be a hiding place for non-compliance institutions.
By Edna Browne-Dauphine
Login or Subscribe to read the entire article