Are you following the MP’s expense in Britain and how it seems to dwindle their integrity? Well, the Sierra Leone Parliament has been placed under serious accusations by the Lands Minister Dr. Denis Sandi.
A motion was yesterday moved by the Majority Leader, Hon Eddie Turay that the Lands Minister be charged for contempt of Parliament for failing to appear before the House to clarify certain issues.
Dr Sandi was summoned because of an allegation he made that MPs, Councilors and Tribal Authorities were involved in the sale of lands. The statement infuriated some members of Parliament as they deemed it that their integrity was under threat.
He failed to appear and the Clerk informed the Speaker that the summons was served on him. Hon Eddie Turay also informed MPs that the Minister was around and he spoke to him in his office and he expressed to him the frivolous statements he had made. It was against that that he moved a motion for the Minister to be charged for contempt and be arrested forthwith.
The Speaker ordered the clerk to prepare a warrant of arrest to be served as the session was adjourned to 12PM. When the Minister appeared, the Speaker asked him whether he knew he was to appear before Parliament.
He answered yes and that he was at Parliament at 9am but that he took the letter he received to be that for the Lands Committee.
The Speaker again asked him whether he allegedly made certain contemptuous statements about Members of Parliament involving in the sale of lands.
He answered that he was misconstrued and that what he said was that “Some Members of Parliament especially in the Western Area and he did not mean Members of Parliament for the whole country were involved in the sale of lands”
The Minister said what he was trying to reiterate was cooperation but stressed that “ I have all it takes to substantiate my evidences and that is why I am reiterating that some Members of Parliament especially in the Western Area have over the period of time involved in the sale of lands”
Hon Manni Betts Priddy, an MP from the Western Area said his integrity was at stake and called on the Minister to exactly name the MPs involved.
Dr. Sandi answered it would be unfair for him to state names but should be given time to present documentary evidences.
He revealed that since he took over as Lands Minister, most State lands under the supervision of the Ministry Lands are being converted by private individuals. “State Lands according to the Act, no individual is supposed to have more than one acre but you have individuals who have more than that”
The Majority Leader, Hon Eddie Turay posed that the credibility of Parliament was at stake citing that the country was a donor driven country and because of the role of the MPs having oversight authority, such allegations must be substantiated. He therefore moved a motion compelling the Minister to come back to Parliament and produce all the names of the MPs, the documents alleged to be illegal and the title deeds.