The National Drug Control Act, 2008 that was approved by Parliament on July 31 has been retaken to parliament under a certificate of urgency from the president and will be discussed by parliament this morning.
The new drug bill placed maximum penalty of life imprisonment on those found wanting for trafficking cocaine in to the country.
President Ernest Bai Koroma sent a signed certificate of urgency to parliament even though they are on recess to amend certain sections of the National Drug Control (Amendment) Act, 2008. The amendment bill will be laid by the Internal Affairs Minister, Dauda Kamara.
The President’s signed certificate of urgency states “I hereby certify in terms of standing order 62 of the standing order of Sierra Leone Parliament that the bill entitled, the National Drugs Control (amendment) Act, 2008 requires urgent passage by the Honorable House”.
It was not clearly explained to Awoko what amendments are to be made to the bill but different views from some Members of Parliament suggested that the bill might have been retaken to Parliament for MPs to make it retro-active so that the suspects held for cocaine will be charged on the new drug law as the 1945 drug law is so weak. Others say the penalties for drug trafficking especially for cocaine were too much so it has to be reduced.
Whatever suggestions from the MPs about the bill, Awoko will have the opportunity to listen to the Internal Affairs Minister presenting the amendment on the floor of parliament.
Parliament also will discuss the conditions of service for the President, Vice President, Ministers and also discuss about state salaries, pensions, gratuities and other benefits.
By Ishmael Bayoh