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Tarawalie versus NPA Board The Courts & Not the Media
By Edward Kojo Thomas
Jan 13, 2009, 17:20
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Going through the dailies in Freetown, one of the lead stories on one of the front pages of a local tabloid screamed out about human rights abuse. As a human rights activist, I quickly turned to read the contents as published on Monday 12th January 2009 captioned Unlawful Dismissal .. NPA to pay Le 2.3 Billion for Human Rights Abuse.

I am quite sure the desired intention of the writer is to see that the rights and privileges of the average citizens are not tampered upon nor undue advantage levied against an innocent public servant who might have dedicated his time and energy working for this Nation especially in the energy sector. However, the fact that the matter is now in the hands of the Judiciary (sub-judice), there is no need for the complainant going about press houses soliciting sympathy in the eyes of the general public unless he has no faith in the Judiciary? If he has no faith in the Judiciary, then why get his lawyers to file these papers on his behalf? Let us look at some of the statements that was made on his behalf:

The matter of unlawful termination of the professional service of the former deputy general manager has been perceived by the general public as a clear case of human rights abuse.
It keeps dragging on and on to the disadvantage of the deputy general manager who for over four months has not been receiving salary.
What has sent shock and dismay to the general public is the poor response the Commission for Privatization has received from the chairman of the NPA board about the matter, despite several advise from state authorities to address the matter
Mr. Patrick Tarawalie whose human and professional rights have been grossly abused

The law is there to protect and accord every citizen his or her inalienable right to justice and as long as a matter is now in front of the Courts, the complainant must respect the Court and cease commenting and trying to prejudice the minds of the public. It is wrong to prejudice the outcome of the courts by trying the NPA Board in both the Media and the Courts. Let the Courts do its job.

If for any reason the termination of Mr. Patrick Tarawalie was a wrongful one, his justification to such claims has been submitted to the Judiciary for redress so I see no reason for journalists to make frantic efforts through the press for public attention and sympathy to his course against the people he has dragged to court.

What if the NPA Board or Management started to wash the dirty linens of Patrick Tarawalie in the public domain? How would he feel? There have been reports, though unproven, that certain people now crying foul through journalistic ranting and raving, had instituted biased actions against junior employees without justification.

I could remember reading a story on one of the news paper that Staffs of the National Power Authority (NPA) rose against a certain sacked NPA staff, citing some very strong reasons, which if ever proven, will make the case for such a staff member to be immediately sacked.

So, what will some people say or feel if the civil matter is moved from the courts to the public domain with all the different sides airing their grievances in the public domain and ignoring the courts? As I have previously mentioned, let the concern of whosoever is interested in the matter give a free hand to the Judiciary for the Law to take its cause.

I have no grudge against the writer, but one thing I have in mind is that writing baseless stories about people will not only destroy the credibility of true dedicated citizens but will hinder the zeal and assiduity of the individual in contributing to nation building.

Finally, the photographs of the General Manager Dr Zubairu Kaloko and the Honorable Minister Haja Afsatu Kabba on the front page together with the article does not substantiate the allegations that the two took the decision. Rather, but it was a unanimous one taken by the Board. What the Courts need to deduce now is whether the decision was taken in favour of the interest of the staff members and the Authority as a whole. Only the Courts must be allowed to do its job. Anything else, including media hype of an ongoing sub-judice matter will be disastrous.

© Copyright by Awareness Times Newspaper in Freetown, Sierra Leone.

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