The statement comes after the official inauguration of the Commission which is scheduled to hold its first hearing on Monday. President Juslius Maada Bio presided over the inauguration in Freetown last Tuesday. The APC, in a statement, expressed dismay that the government decided to go ahead with the inauguration without considering its concerns.
Among others, the opposition party has argued that the instruments establishing the Commission were inconsistent with the provisions of the relevant Constitutional provisions which provides for the establishment of the rules regulating the practice and procedure of all Commissions of Inquiry.
It has also objected to a provision in the constitutional instruments that created the Commission which gives the Commissioners powers to modify, adapt and except themselves from abiding by the practice and procedure in force in the High Court if they feel.
An even thornier issue is the failure of the government to establish ‘Rules of Evidence’ in civil or criminal proceedings. “The APC Party is concerned that this provision gives the Commission the status of a High Court which can recommend penalties that are enforceable by law. The Rules of Evidence applicable in the High Court should therefore apply,” a statement signed by APC’s National Secretary General, Osman Foday Yansaneh, said.
“Therefore, the APC Party wishes to reiterate its position on the Commissions of Inquiry, that its membership is ready and prepared to fully support and cooperate with the Commissions if the aforementioned concerns are addressed,” it added.