By Ishmael Sallieu Koroma
Sierra Leone’s President Julius Maada Bio has sacked the country’s attorney general and minister of Justice Anthony Yeaweh Brewah on Tuesday following controversies surrounding his office over the release and the granting of presidential pardon of a convicted murderer Baimba Moi Foray popularly known as LAC.
In a short public notice from the office of the president signed by the secretary to Bio, Julius Sandy didn’t state reasons for his sacking but said Mohamed Lamin Tarawalley is the new Attorney general and minister of justice.
‘’ The general public is here by informed that it has pleased the president His Excellency the president, Brig. (Rtd) Dr. Julius Maada Bio to announce the following appointment Mohamed Lamin Tarawalley, Esq attorney general and Minister of Justice’’
Mohamed Lamin Tarawalley Esq is the fourth attorney and justice minister to be appointed by Julius Maada Bio since he took over the reign of governance in 2018. Mr. Tarawalley until his appointment was the solicitor general, the principal assistant to the country’s attorney general and minister of justice and the professional head of the law officers department.
Mr. Brewah’s sacking came barely 24 hours after a picture of him, the country’s information Minister Mohamed Rahman Swarray and the controversially released convicted murderer Baimba Moi Foray flooded on social media which they had took at his Taima home, southern, Sierra Leone.
In a short statement on his official page, the information minister was quick to respond after the photo went viral on social media stating that he has never met with the popular herbalist LAC before adding that his picture with the said convicted murderer was ‘purely coincidental ‘
‘’My attention has been drawn to this photo which was taken in the AG’s parlour in Tiama where I had stopped over to pay him a courtesy call as I usually do when passing through Tiama. I have never met LAC before, let alone have any dealings with him. It was purely coincidental that I met them there and they requested a photo opp which politicians hardly reject,’’ a statement from the official page of Mohamed Rahman Swarray said.
On Monday, in an unprecedented act, Julius Maada Bio revoked the presidential pardon and clemency that he has bestowed on Mr. Baimba Moi Foray on the 1st January who was part 160 inmates pardon by the president; drew wide spread condemnation and criticism from rights groups and civil society institutions in the country thus urging the Bio government to review its clemency process.
‘’ The general public is here by informed that His Excellency president Dr. Julius Maada Bio has instituted an investigation into the process leading to the granting of pardon to Baimba Moi Foray (alias LAC ) on 1st January 2022. Pursuant to section 63 (1a) of the constitution of Sierra Leone 1991 (Act No. 6 of 1991 ) consequent upon the foregoing , His Excellency President Dr. Julius Maada Bio has revoked with immediate effect the clemency granted to Baimba Moi Foray alias (LAC) on 1st January 2022,’’ a statement from the press secretary and presidential spokesman said on Monday .
In a statement , LEGAL LINK one of the leading human rights organizations in the country on Tuesday congratulated the Bio –administration for heeding to their call regarding the unwise decision of granting pardon to the convicted murderer LAC.
‘’LEGAL LINK welcomes the move by His Excellency, Dr Julius Maada Bio, especially after its constructive advocacy on 98.1 Radio in the early hours of 17th January 2022, regarding the exercise of his prerogative of mercy particularly on LAC who had been convicted of murder and sentenced to death by the High Court of Sierra Leone over the murder of DJ Clef. We, like the victim’s family and the majority of aggrieved persons within the Sierra Leone society are happy and enthused about this revocation of pardon notwithstanding it being made 16 days after it was first granted’’
The right group added that as an organization that defends the rights of vulnerable groups, advocate for fair trial rights, justice and rule of law in the country , they were of the opinion that the granting of Pardon to LAC was not in the best interest of society nor the interest of the family of the victim.
It could be recalled that in 2016, Mr. Baimba Moi Foray was sentenced to death by hanging after he was convicted over the murder of popular disc jockey Sydney Buckle alias DJ Cleff in 2015.