The Acting General Manager of the Guma Valley Water Company (GVWC) Ibrahim Wilson was yesterday locked up in the parliament building till the end of sittings for contempt of Parliament.
Mr Ibrahim Wilson’s lock up came about when, Hon Eric Jumu of the SLPP last week expressed the lack of water supply at Parliament and it was at that point that the speaker of Parliament, Hon Justice Nathaniel Abel Stronge sent the Clerk of Parliament, demanding that he wanted to see the Guma boss. It was reported that the Guma boss in apparent disrespect, did not honor the call even after the Honourable Speaker had sent a letter to him.
What brought him to Parliament was when Parliament used its powers to subpoena him to face the whole House yesterday. He was brought in by the Sergeant At Arms of Parliament after the speaker had informed MPs about his presence. He was made to stand facing the MPs to hear his trial.
First it was Hon Komba E. Koedoyoma of SLPP who started the proceedings. He said for far too long the respect of Parliament were relegated as people have failed to understand and respect Parliament commands. He educated the Guma boss that Parliament stood as one of the arms of government and the respect that was due to the executive should also be due to Parliament. He referred to sec 95 and 96 of the constitution which states that any act, omission which obstructs or impedes Parliament, in the performance of its functions or which obstructs or impedes any member of Parliament or which tends either directly or indirectly to produce such a result shall be a contempt of Parliament.
“Mr Speaker, Honorable members” he went on “we need not waste much more on this issue. The man standing before us has committed a contempt of Parliament and in my own purview, I believe that he should be sent down for accommodation for further hearing and sec 96 further makes provision for criminal proceedings” the MP said.
He stated that the reason why the Guma boss was brought before them was of grave concern stating that they needed water at Parliament all the time and that Guma was not treating them with the respect Parliament should deserve. “An example ought to be set so that we will not have a repeat of this type of experience. This will send a signal to the rest of the Parastatals and other government institutions… and with that I suggest that the Acting General Manager be sent down for a week” he advocated.
Hon Borbor Sawyer also of the SLPP said they as Parliament need to set an example whilst Hon Ibrahim Martin Bangura from the APC asked why the Guma boss was not in shackles and called for him to be suspended from his job without pay. Hon Emmanuel W. Tommy of SLPP remarked that the Guma boss had proven to be incapable for the job and he too suggested he be incarcerated.
The deputy majority leader of Parliament, Hon Sheku Badara Bashiru Dumbuya added his voice saying “ Mr Speaker, some people may do certain things unwittingly, unwittingly in the sense that they may be doing certain things the consequence of which they are not aware, it might well be the case of the gentleman standing before us” He continued that there is a saying that ignorance of the law is no excuse and asked Mr Wilson whether he knew who was calling him and whether he knew who that person was and the position of the speaker of Parliament. Those he answered in the affirmative.
The Majority leader and leader of Government business, Hon Edward M. Turay too added that if the authority of Parliament was to be re-established, it should be done on the issue of the Guma boss and if there was anytime they should be seen functioning, it should be on Mr Wilson. He explained to him the consequence of what he did.
The MP who initiated all, Hon Eric Jumu said from what he had heard he thought there was some concensus to send a signal to all “I felt so bad when I heard the speaker narrating what happened and since some water is now coming to Parliament I want this House to temper Justice with mercy on the Guma boss” he begged.
Asked by the Speaker what he had to say in his own favor, Mr Wilson started by begging for mercy and said “it has not been my practice and am really and truly sorry for what happened and I have tried my best to supply Parliament with water. I will make sure that our two water bowzers will be up and running to Parliament and our top priority will be to supply water to Parliament”.
As if back in the Law Courts where he was used to deliver judgment the Speaker handed down his sentence saying “Mr General Manager, I have watched your demeanor and I’m convinced you are sorry for what you did and I believe you are ashamed of what you did. In my judgement, you will be kept in close custody within the precincts of Parliament until this session is adjourned today”. He was taken away by the Sergeant At Arms and was released after Parliament was adjourned.