The Sierra Leone House of Parliament
COMPOSITION OF PARLIAMENT
SUMMONING, PROROGATION AND DISSOLUTION
PROCEDURE OF PARLIAMENT
RESPONSIBILITIES, PRIVILEGES AND IMMUNITIES (Members of Parliament)
RESPONSIBILITIES, PRIVILEGES AND IMMUNITIES(Power to make laws )
COMPOSITION OF PARLIAMENT
Establishment of Parliament.
73. (1) There shall be a legislature of Sierra Leone which shall be known as Parliament, and shall consist of the President, the Speaker and Members of Parliament.
(2) Subject to the provisions of this Constitution, the legislative power of Sierra Leone is vested in Parliament.
(3) Parliament may make laws for the peace, finance monitoring, security, order and good government of Sierra Leone.
Members of Parliament.
74. (1) Members of Parliament shall comprise the followingâ€”
- one Member of Parliament for each District who shall, subject to the provisions of this Constitution, be elected in such manner as may be prescribed by or under any law from among the persons who, under any law, are for the time being Paramount Chiefs; and
- such number of Members as Parliament may prescribe who, subject to the provisions of this Constitution, shall be elected in such manner as may be prescribed by or under any law.
(2) The number of Members of Parliament to be elected pursuant to paragraphs (a) and (b) of subsection (1) shall not together be less than sixty.
(3) In any election of Members of Parliament the votes of the electors shall be given by ballot in such manner as not to disclose how any particular elector votes.
(4) Members of Parliament shall be entitled to such salaries, allowances, gratuities, pensions and such other benefits as may be prescribed by Parliament.
Qualifications for membership in Parliament.
75. Subject to the provisions of section 76, any person whoâ€”
- is a citizen of Sierra Leone (otherwise than by naturalization); and
- has attained the age of twenty-one years; and
- is an elector whose name is on a register of electors under the Franchise and Electoral Registration Act, 1961, or under any Act of Parliament amending or replacing that Act; and
- is able to speak and to read the English Language with a degree of proficiency sufficient to enable him to take an active part in the proceedings of Parliament,
shall be qualified for election as such a Member of Parliament:
Provided that a person who becomes a citizen of Sierra Leone by registration by law shall not be qualified for election as such a Member of Parliament or of any Local Authority unless he shall have resided continuously in Sierra Leone for twenty-five years after such registration or shall have served in the Civil or Regular Armed Services of Sierra Leone for a continuous period of twenty-five years.
Disqualifications for membership of Parliament.
76. (1) No person shall be qualified for election as a Member of Parliamentâ€”
- if he is a naturalised citizen of Sierra Leone or is a citizen of a country other than Sierra Leone having become such a citizen voluntarily or is under a declaration of allegiance to such a country; or
- if he is a member of any Commission established under this Constitution, or a member of the Armed Forces of the Republic, or a public officer, or an employee of a Public Corporation established by an Act of Parliament, or has been such a member, officer or employee within twelve months prior to the date on which he seeks to be elected to Parliament; or
- if under any law in force in Sierra Leone he is adjudged to be a lunatic or otherwise declared to be of unsound mind; or
- if he has been convicted and sentenced for an offence which involves fraud or dishonesty; or
- if he is under a sentence of death imposed on him by any court; or
- if in the case of the election of such member as is referred to in paragraph (b) of subsection (1) of section 74, he is for the time being a Paramount Chief under any law; or
- if being a person possessed of professional qualifications, he is disqualified (otherwise than at his own request) from practising his profession in Sierra Leone by order of any competent authority made in respect of him personally within the immediately preceding five years of an election held in pursuance of section 87; or
- if he is for the time being the President, the Vice-President, a Minister or a Deputy Minister under the provisions of this Constitution.
(2) A person shall not be qualified for election to Parliament if he is convicted by any court of any id theft offense connected with the election of Members of Parliament:
Provided that in any such case the period of disqualification shall not exceed a period of five years from the date of the general election following the one for which he was disqualified.
(3) Any person who is the holder of any office the functions of which involve responsibility for, or in connection with, the conduct of any election to Parliament or the compilation of any register of voters for the purposes of such an election shall not be qualified for election to Parliament.
(4) A person shall not be disqualified for election as a Member of Parliament under paragraph (b) of subsection (1) by reason only that he holds the office of member of a Chiefdom Council, member of a Local Court or member of any body corporate established by or under any of the following laws, that is to say, the Freetown Municipality Act, the Chiefdom Councils Act, the Rural Area Act, the District Councils Act, the Sherbro Urban District Council Act, the Bo Town Council Act, and the Townships Act or any law amending or replacing any of those laws.
(5) Save as otherwise provided by Parliament, a person shall not be disqualified from being a Member of Parliament by reason only that he holds office as a member of a Statutory Corporation.
Tenure of Members of Parliament.
77. A Member of Parliament shall vacate his seat in Parliamentâ€”
- on the dissolution of Parliament next following his election; or
- if he is elected Speaker of Parliament; or
- if any other circumstances arise that if he were not a Member of Parliament would cause him to be disqualified for election as such under section 76; or
- if he ceases to be a citizen of Sierra Leone; or
- if he is absent from sittings of Parliament for such period and in such circumstances as may be prescribed in the rules of procedure of Parliament; or
- if in the case of such a Member as is referred to in paragraph (b) of subsection (1) of section 74, he becomes a Paramount Chief under any law; or
- if he ceases to be qualified under any law to be registered as an elector for election of Members to Parliament; or
- if he is adjudged to be a lunatic or declared to be of unsound mind or sentenced to death; or
- if he is adjudged or otherwise declared a bankrupt under any law and has not been discharged; or
- if he resigns from office as a Member of Parliament by writing under his hand addressed to the Speaker, or if the Office of Speaker is vacant or the Speaker is absent from Sierra Leone, to the Deputy Speaker; or
- if he ceases to be a member of the political party of which he was a member at the time of his election to Parliament and he so informs the Speaker, or the Speaker is so informed by the Leader of that political party; or
- if by his conduct in Parliament by sitting and voting with members of a different party, the Speaker is satisfied after consultation with the Leader of that Member's party that the Member is no longer a member of the political party under whose symbol he was elected to Parliament; or
- if, being elected to Parliament as an independent candidate, he joins a political party in Parliament; or
- if he accepts office as Ambassador or High Commissioner for Sierra Leone or any position with an International or Regional Organization.
(2) Any member of Parliament who has been adjudged to be a lunatic, declared to be of unsound mind, or sentenced to death or imprisonment, may appeal against the decision in accordance with any law provided that the decision shall not have effect until the matter has been finally determined.
Determination of question as to membership of Parliament
78. (1) The High Court shall have jurisdiction to hear and determine any question whetherâ€”
- any person has been validly elected as a Member of Parliament; and
- the seat of a Member of Parliament has become vacant.
(2) The High Court to which any question is brought under subsection (1) shall determine the said question and give judgement thereon within four months after the commencement of the proceedings before that Court.
(3) An appeal shall lie to the Court of Appeal from the decision of the High Court on any matter determined pursuant to subsection (1), save that no appeal shall lie in respect of any interlocutory decisions of the High Court in such proceedings.
(4) The Court of Appeal before which an appeal is brought pursuant to subsection (3) shall determine the appeal and give judgement thereon within four months after the appeal was filed.
(5) The decision of the Court of Appeal on any matter pursuant to subsection (3) shall be final and not be inquired into by any Court.
(6) For the purpose of this section Parliament may make provision, or may authorise the making of provisions with respect to the practice and procedure of the High Court or the Court of Appeal, and may confer upon such Courts such powers or may authorise the conferment thereon of such powers as may appear to be necessary or desirable for the purpose of enabling the said Courts effectively to exercise the jurisdiction conferred upon them by this section or by any law relating to the hearing of appeals from the High Court.
79. (1) The Speaker of Parliament shall be elected by the Members of Parliament from among persons who are Members of Parliament or are qualified to be elected as such and who are qualified to be appointed Judges of the Superior Court of Judicature or have held such office:
Provided that a person shall be eligible for election as a Speaker of Parliament notwithstanding that such person is a Public Officer or a Judge of the High Court, a Justice of the Court of Appeal or a Justice of the Supreme Court, and such person, if elected, shall retire from the Public Service on the day of his election with full benefits.
(2) The Speaker shall be elected by a resolution in favour of which there are cast the votes of not less than two-thirds of the Members of Parliament:
Provided that if three successive resolutions proposing the election of a Speaker fail to receive the votes of two-thirds of the Members of Parliament, the Speaker shall be elected by a resolution passed by a simple majority of all the Members of Parliament.
(3) No person shall be elected as speakerâ€”
- if he is a member of the Armed Forces; or
- if he is a Minister or a Deputy Minister.
(4) The Speaker shall vacate his officeâ€”
- if he becomes a Minister or a Deputy Minister; or
- if any circumstances arise that, if he were not the Speaker, would disqualify him from election as Speaker; or
- when Parliament first meets after any dissolution; or
- if he is removed from office by a resolution of Parliament supported by the votes of not less than two-thirds of the Members of Parliament.
(5) No business shall be transacted in Parliament (other than an election to the office of Speaker) at any time if the office of Speaker is vacant.
(6) Any person elected to the office of Speaker who is not a Member of Parliament shall before entering upon the duties of his office, take and subscribe before Parliament the oath as set out in the Third Schedule in this Constitution.
(7) The Speaker, or in his absence the Deputy Speaker, shall preside over all sittings of Parliament, except when the President is present.
80. (1) There shall be a Deputy Speaker who shall be elected by the Members of Parliament.
(2) No person shall be elected as Deputy Speaker unless he is a Member of Parliament.
(3) The Members of Parliament shall elect a person to the office of Deputy Speakerâ€”
- at the first sitting of Parliament in every session; or
- at the first sitting of Parliament after the occurrence of a vacancy in the office of Deputy Speaker, or so soon thereafter as may be convenient.
(4) The Deputy Speaker shall vacate his officeâ€”
- if he ceases to be a Member of Parliament; or
- if he is removed from office by a resolution of Parliament.
(5) If the Speaker is absent from Sierra Leone or otherwise unable to perform any of the functions conferred upon him by this Constitution those functions may be performed by the Deputy Speaker.
Election of Speaker and Deputy Speaker.
81. On any resolution for the election or removal of a Speaker or Deputy Speaker, the votes of the Members of Parliament shall be given by ballot in such manner as not to disclose how any particular member votes.
Clerk of Parliament.
82. (1) There shall be a Clerk of Parliament who shall be appointed by the President acting in consultation with the Public Service Commission, and shall be responsible for the administration of Parliament.
(2) The office of the Clerk of Parliament and the offices of the members of his staff shall be public offices.
Oath to be taken by Members of Parliament.
83. Every Member of Parliament shall, before taking his seat in Parliament, take and subscribe before Parliament the oath as set out in the Third Schedule, but a Member may, before taking that oath, take part in the election of a Speaker.
Sessions of Parliament.
84. (1) Each session in Parliament shall be held at such place within Sierra Leone and shall commence at such time as the President may be Proclamation appoint.
(2) There shall be a session of Parliament at least once in every year, so that a period of twelve months shall not intervene between the last sitting of Parliament in one session and the first sitting thereof in the next session:
Provided that there shall be a session of Parliament not later than twenty-eight days from the holding of a general election of Members of Parliament.
(3) The President shall at the beginning of each session of Parliament present to Parliament an address on the state of the nation.
Life of Parliament.
85. (1) Parliament shall stand dissolved at the expiration of a period of five years commencing from the date of its first sitting after a general election.
(2) If there is in existence a state of public emergency in accordance with section 29 of this Constitution and the President considers it not practicable to hold elections, Parliament may, by resolution, extend the period of five years mentioned in subsection (1) from time to time but not beyond a period of six months at any one time.
Sittings of Parliament.
86. (1) The President may at any time summon a meeting of Parliament.
(2) Notwithstanding the provision of subsection (1), at least twenty per centum of all the Members of Parliament may request a meeting of Parliament and the Speaker shall, within fourteen days after the receipt of that request, summon a meeting of Parliament.
(3) Subject to the provisions of subsection (1) and of Sections 29 and 84 of this Constitution, sittings of Parliament in any session after the commencement of that session shall be held at such times and on such days as Parliament shall appoint.
(4) Parliament shall sit for a period of not less than one hundred and twenty days in each year.
87. (1) A general election of the Members of Parliament shall be held not earlier than thirty days and not later than ninety days after any dissolution of Parliament:
Provided that nominations for such elections shall in no case be closed within fourteen days after dissolution.
(2) If, when Parliament has been dissolved, the President considers that owing to the existence of a state of public emergency it would not be practicable to hold a general election within ninety days after the dissolution, the President may by Proclamation recall the Parliament that has been dissolved and the following provisions shall then have effectâ€”
- the Parliament shall meet at such date, not later than fourteen days after the date of the Proclamation, as may be specified therein;
- the President shall, subject to the provisions of subsection (16) of section 29, cause to be introduced in Parliament as soon as it meets, a resolution declaring that a state of Public Emergency exists and subject as aforesaid, no other business shall be transacted in Parliament until that resolution has been passed or defeated;
- if the resolution is passed by Parliament with the support of the votes of not less than two-thirds of the Members thereof, a general election shall be held on the last day of the period of six months beginning with the date of the original dissolution of the Parliament which has been recalled or such earlier date as the President shall appoint, and the Parliament that has been recalled shall be deemed to be the Parliament for the time being and may meet and be kept in session accordingly until the date fixed for nomination of candidates in that general election, and unless previously dissolved, shall then stand dissolved;
- if the resolution is defeated or is passed with the support of the votes of less than two-thirds of the Members of Parliament or has not been put to the vote within five days after it has been introduced, the Parliament that has been recalled shall then be again dissolved and a general election shall be held not later than the ninetieth day after the date of the Proclamation by which the Parliament was so recalled or such earlier date as the President may by Proclamation appoint.
(3) When Parliament is recalled under this section after having been dissolvedâ€”
- the session of that Parliament held next before that dissolution; and
- the session or sessions of that Parliament held between the date of its first sitting and of the next dissolution thereafter,
shall be deemed together to form one session.
Presiding in Parliament.
88. There shall preside at any sitting of Parliamentâ€”
- the Speaker; or
- in the absence of the Speaker, the Deputy Speaker; or
- in the absence of the Speaker and the Deputy Speaker, such Member of Parliament as may be elected for that purpose:
Provided that when the President addresses Parliament or attends in person, the Speaker shall leave his chair and no other person shall preside during such address or attendance.
Quorum in Parliament.
89. If objection is taken by any Member of Parliament that there are present in Parliament (besides the person presiding) less than one-fourth of all the Members of Parliament and the person presiding shall be so satisfied he shall thereupon adjourn Parliament.
Use of English in Parliament.
90. The business of Parliament shall be conducted in the English Language.
Voting in Parliament
91. (1) Except as otherwise provided in this Constitution, any question proposed for decision in Parliament shall be determined by a majority of the votes of the Members present and voting.
(2) The person presiding in Parliament may cast a vote whenever necessary to avoid an equality of votes but shall not vote in any other case; if the person presiding does not exercise his casting vote the question proposed for discussion in Parliament shall be deemed to be rejected.
(3) The rules of procedure of Parliament may provide that the vote of a Member upon a question in which he has a direct pecuniary interest shall be disallowed and if any such provision is made a Member whose vote is disallowed in accordance therewith shall be deemed not to have voted.
Unqualified persons sitting or voting.
92. Any person who sits or votes in Parliament knowing or having reasonable ground for knowing that he is not entitled to do so shall be liable to a penalty not exceeding one thousand leones or such other sum as may be prescribed by Parliament for each day in which he so sits or votes in Parliament, which shall be recoverable by action in the High Court at the suit of the Attorney-General and Minister of Justice.
Committees of Parliament.
93. (1) At the beginning of each session of Parliament, but in any case not later than twenty-one days thereafter, there shall be appointed from among its members the following Standing Committees, that is to sayâ€”
- the Legislative Committee;
- the Finance Committee;
- the Committee on Appointments and Public Service;
- the Foreign Affairs and International Co-operation Committee;
- the Public Accounts Committee;
- the Committee of Privileges;
- the Standing Orders Committee;
- such other Committees of Parliament as the rule of procedure of Parliament shall provide.
(2) In addition to the Committees referred to in subsection (1), Parliament shall appoint other Committees which shall perform the functions specified in subsection (3).
(3) In shall be the duty of any such Committee as is referred to in subsection (2) to investigate or inquire into the activities or administration of such Ministries or Departments as may be assigned to it, and such investigation or inquiry may extend to proposals for legislation.
(4) Notwithstanding anything contained in subsections (1) and (2), Parliament may at any time appoint any other Committee to investigate any matter of public importance.
(5) The composition of each of the Committees appointed under subsections (1), (2) and (4) shall, as much as possible, reflect the strength of the political parties and Independent Members in Parliament.
(6) For the purposes of effectively performing its functions, each of the Committees shall have all such powers, rights and privileges as are vested in the High Court at a trial in respect ofâ€”
- enforcing the attendance of witnesses and examining them on oath, affirmation or otherwise;
- compelling the production of documents; and
- the issue of a commission or request to examine witnesses abroad.
Regulation of Procedure in Parliament
94. (1) Subject to the provisions of this Constitution, Parliament may regulate its own procedure, and may in particular make, amend and revoke Standing Orders for the orderly conduct of its own proceedings.
(2) Notwithstanding anything to the contrary in this Constitution or in any other law contained, no decision, order or direction of Parliament or any of its Committees or the Speaker, relating to the rules of procedure of Parliament, or to the application or interpretation of such rules, or any act done or purporting to have been done by Parliament or by the Speaker under any rules of procedure, shall be inquired into by any court.
(3) Parliament may act notwithstanding any vacancy in its membership (including any vacancy not filled with Parliament first meets after the entry into force of this Constitution or after any dissolution of Parliament) and the presence or participation of any person not entitled to be present at or to participate in the proceedings of Parliament shall not invalidate those proceedings.
(4) Parliament may, for the purpose of the orderly and effective discharge of its business, make provision for the powers, privileges and immunities of Parliament, its Committees and the Members thereof.
Contempt of Parliament.
95. any act or omission which obstructs or impedes Parliament in the performance of its functions, or which obstructs or impedes any Member or officer thereof in the discharge of his duties or affronts the dignity of Parliament, or which tends either directly or indirectly to produce such a result shall be a contempt of Parliament.
96. Where an act or omission which constitutes contempt of Parliament is an offence under the criminal law, the exercise by Parliament of the power to punish for contempt shall not be a bar to the institution of proceedings under the criminal law.
Responsibilities of Members of Parliament.
97. The responsibilities of the Members of Parliament shall include the followingâ€”
- All members of Parliament shall maintain the dignity and image of Parliament both during the sittings in Parliament as well as in their acts and activities outside Parliament.
- All Members of Parliament shall regard themselves as representatives of the people of Sierra Leone and desist from any conduct by which they seek improperly to enrich themselves or alienate themselves from the people.
Freedom of Speech and Debate.
98. There shall be freedom of speech, debate and proceedings in Parliament and that freedom shall not be impeached or questioned in any court or place out of Parliament.
99. (1) Subject to the provisions of this section, but without prejudice to the generality of section 97, no civil or criminal proceedings shall be instituted against a Member of Parliament in any court or place out of Parliament by reason of anything said by him in Parliament.
(2) Whenever in the opinion of the person presiding in Parliament a statement made by a Member is prima facie defamatory of any person, the person presiding shall refer the matter for inquiry to the Committee of Privileges which shall report its findings to Parliament not later than thirty days of the matter being so referred.
(3) Where the Committee of Privileges reports to Parliament that the statement made by the Member is defamatory of any person, the Member who made the statement shall, within seven days of that report, render an apology at the bar of Parliament, the terms of which shall be approved by the Committee of Privileges and communicated to the person who has been defamed.
(4) Where a Member refuses to render an apology pursuant to the provisions of subsection (3), the Speaker shall suspend that Member for the duration of the session of Parliament in which the defamatory statement was made and a Member so suspended shall lose his Parliamentary privileges, immunities and remuneration which shall be restored to him if at any time before the end of the session he renders the apology as required under the provisions of subsection (3).
(5) Any person who may have made a contemporaneous report of the proceedings in Parliament including a statement which has been the subject of an inquiry pursuant to the provisions of subsection (2) shall publish the apology referred to in subsection (3) or the suspension of the apology referred to in subsection (4) with the same prominence as he published the first report; and if any such person fails to publish that apology he shall not be protected by privilege.
Immunity from service of process and arrest.
100. No civil or criminal process issuing from any court or place out of Parliament shall be served on or executed in relation to the Speaker or a Member or the Clerk of Parliament while he is on his way to attending or returning from any proceedings of Parliament.
Immunity from witness summons.
101. (1) Neither the Speaker nor any Member of, nor the Clerk of, Parliament shall be compelled, while attending Parliament, to appear as a witness in any court or place out of Parliament.
(2) The certificate of the Speaker that a Member or the Clerk is attending the proceedings of Parliament shall be conclusive evidence of attendance at Parliament.
Immunity from serving as juryman.
102. Neither the Speaker nor any Member of, nor the Clerk of, Parliament shall be required to serve on a jury in any court or place out of Parliament.
Immunity for publication of proceedings.
103. Subject to the provisions of this Constitution, no person shall be under any civil or criminal liability in respect of the publication ofâ€”
- the text or a summary of any report, papers, minutes, votes or proceedings of Parliament; or
- a contemporaneous report of the proceedings of Parliament,
unless it is shown that the publication was effected maliciously or otherwise in want of good faith.
Privileges of witness.
104. (1) Every person summoned to give evidence or to produce any paper, book, record or other document before Parliament shall be entitled, in respect of his evidence, or the production of such document, to the same privileges as if he were appearing before a Court.
(2) No public officer shall be required to produce before Parliament any document if the Speaker certifies thatâ€”
- the document belongs to a class of documents which will be injurious to the public interest or prejudicial to the security of the State to produce; or
- disclosure of the contents thereof will be injurious to the public interest or prejudicial to the security of the State.
(3) Where there is a doubt as to whether any document as is referred to in subsection (2) is injurious to the public interest or prejudicial to the security of the State, the Speaker shall refer the matter to the Supreme Court to determine whether the production or the disclosure of the contents of any such document would be injurious to the public interest or prejudicial to the security of the State.
(4) An answer by a person to a question put by Parliament shall not be admissible in evidence against him in any civil or criminal proceedings out of Parliament, not being proceedings for perjury brought under the criminal law.
Power to make laws.
105. Subject to the provisions of this Constitution, Parliament shall be the supreme legislative authority for Sierra Leone.
Mode of Exercising Legislative Power.
106. (1) The power of Parliament to make laws shall be exercised by Bills passed by Parliament and signed by the President.
(2) Subject to the provisions of subsection (8), a bill shall not become law unless it has been duly passed and signed in accordance with this Constitution.
(3) An Act signed by the President shall come into operation on the date of its publication in the Gazette or such other date as may be prescribed therein or in any other enactment.
(4) When a bill which has been duly passed and is signed by the President in accordance with the provisions of this Constitution it shall become law and the President shall thereupon cause it to be published in the Gazette as law.
(5) No law made by Parliament shall come into operation until it has been published in the Gazette, but Parliament may postpone the coming into operation of any such law and may make laws with retroactive effect.
(6) All laws made by Parliament shall be styled "Acts", and the words of enactment shall be "Enacted by the President and Members of Parliament in this present Parliament assembled".
(7) Where a Bill has been passed by Parliament but the President refuses to sign it, the President shall within fourteen days of the presentation of the bill for his signature cause the unsigned Bill to be returned to Parliament giving reasons for his refusal.
(8) Where a Bill is returned to Parliament pursuant to subsection (7) and that Bill is thereafter passed by the votes of not less than two-thirds of the Members of Parliament, it shall immediately become law and the Speaker shall thereupon cause it to be published in the Gazette.
(9) Nothing in this section or in section 53 of this Constitution shall prevent Parliament from conferring on any person or authority the power to make statutory instruments.
Minister may introduce Bill and be summoned to Parliament.
107. (1) A Minister may introduce a Bill in Parliament and take part, but without a vote, in the deliberations of Parliament on that Bill.
(2) A Minister may be summoned before Parliament or a Committee thereofâ€”
- to give an account of any matter falling within his portfolio; or
- to explain any aspect of Government policy.
Alteration of this Constitution.108. (1) Subject to the provisions of this section, Parliament may alter this Constitution.
(2) A Bill for an Act of Parliament under this section shall not be passed by Parliament unlessâ€”
- before the first reading of the Bill in Parliament the text of the Bill is published in at least two issues of the Gazette:
Provided that not less than nine days shall elapse between the first publication of the Bill in the Gazette and the second publication; and
- the Bill is supported on the second and third readings by the votes of not less than two-thirds of the Members of Parliament.
(3) A Bill for an Act of Parliament enacting a new Constitution or altering any of the following provisions of this Constitution, that is to sayâ€”
- this section
- Chapter III,
- sections 46, 56, 72, 73, 74(2), 74(3), 84(2), 85, 87, 105, 110-119, 120, 121, 122, 123, 124, 128, 129, 131, 132, 133, 135, 136, 137, 140, 151, 156, 167,
shall not be submitted to the President for his assent and shall not become law unless the Bill, after it has been passed by Parliament and in the form in which it was so passed, has, in accordance with the provisions of any law in that behalf, been submitted to and been approved at a referendum.
(4) Every person who is entitled to vote in the elections of Members of Parliament shall be entitled to vote at a referendum held for the purposes of subsection (3) and no other person may so vote; and the Bill shall not be regarded as having been approved at the referendum unless it was so approved by the votes of not less than one-half of all such persons and by not less than two-thirds of all the votes validly cast at the referendum:
Provided that in calculating the total number of persons entitled to vote at such referendum, the names of deceased persons, of persons disqualified as electors, and of persons duplicated in the register of electors and so certified by the Electoral Commission, shall not be taken into account.
(5) The conduct of any referendum for the purposes of subsection (3) of this section shall be under the general supervision of the Electoral Commission and the provisions of subsections (4), (5) and (6) of section 38 of this Constitution shall apply in relation to the exercise by the Electoral Commission of its functions with respect to a referendum as they apply in relation to the exercise of its functions with respect to elections of Members of Parliament.
(6) A Bill for an Act of Parliament under this section shall not be submitted to the President for his signature unless it is accompanied by a certificate under the hand of the Speaker of Parliament (or, if the Speaker is for any reason unable to exercise the functions of his office, the Deputy Speaker) that the provisions of subsections (3) and (4) of this section have been complied with, and every such certificate shall be conclusive for all purposes and shall not be inquired in any court.
(7) No Act of Parliament shall be deemed to amend, add to or repeal or in any way alter any of the provisions of this Constitution unless it does so in express terms.
(8) Any suspension, alteration, or repeal of this Constitution other than on the authority of Parliament shall be deemed to be an act of Treason.
(9) In this sectionâ€”
- references to this Constitution include references to any law that amends or replaces any of the provisions of this Constitution; and
- references to the alteration of this Constitution or of any Chapter or section of this Constitution include references to the amendment, modification or re-enactment, with or without amendment or modification, of any provision for the time being contained in this Constitution or Chapter or section thereof, the suspension or repeal of any such provision, the making of different provision in lieu of such provision and the addition of new provisions to this Constitution or Chapter or section thereof, and references to the alteration of any particular provision of this Constitution shall be construed likewise.
Residual Authority of Parliament.
109. Subject to the provisions of section 105 of this Constitution, where on any matter, whether arising out of this Constitution or otherwise there is no provision, expressed or by necessary implication, of this Constitution which deals with the matter that has arisen, Parliament shall, by an Act of Parliament, not being inconsistent with any provision of this Constitution, provide for that matter to be dealt with.
Authority for imposition of taxation.
110 (1) No taxation shall be imposed or altered otherwise than by or under the authority of an Act of Parliament.
(2) Where an Act enacted pursuant to subsection (1) confers a power on any person or authority to waive or vary a tax (otherwise than by reduction) imposed by that Act, the exercise of the power of waiver or variation in favour of any person or authority shall be subject to the prior approval of Parliament by resolution passed in that behalf.
(3) Parliament may make provision under which the President or a Minister may by order provide that, on or after the publication of a Bill (being a Bill approved by the President) that it is proposed to introduce into Parliament providing for the imposition or alteration of taxation, such provisions of the Bill as may be specified in the order shall, until the Bill becomes law, have the force of law for such period and subject to such conditions as may be prescribed by Parliament:
Provided that any such order shall, unless sooner revoked, cease to have effectâ€”
- if the Bill to which it relates is not passed within such period from the date of its first reading in Parliament as may be prescribed by Parliament; or
- if, after the introduction of the Bill to which it relates, Parliament is prorogued or dissolved; or
- if, after the passage of the Bill to which it relates, the President refuses his assent thereto; or
- at the expiration of a period of four months from the date it came into operation or such longer period from that date as may be specified in any resolution passed by Parliament after the Bill to which it relates has been introduced.
(4) Parliament may confer upon any authority established by law for the purpose of local government power to impose taxation within the area for which that authority is established and to alter taxation so imposed.
(5) Where the Appropriation Act in respect of a financial year has not come into force at the expiration of six months from the commencement of that financial year, the operation of any law relating to the collection or recovery of any tax upon any income or profits or any duty of customs or excise shall be suspended until that Act comes into force:
- in any financial year in which Parliament stands dissolved at the commencement of the year the period of six months shall begin from the day upon which Parliament first sits following that dissolution instead of from the commencement of the financial year;
- the provisions of this subsection shall not apply in any financial year in which Parliament is dissolved after the laying of estimates in accordance with section 112 and before the Appropriation Bill relating to those estimates is passed by Parliament.
Consolidated Fund.111. (1) there shall be a Consolidated Fund into which, subject to the provisions of this section, shall be paidâ€”
- all revenues or other moneys raised or received for the purpose of, or on behalf of, the Government;
- any other moneys raised or received in trust for or on behalf of the Government; and
- all revenues and moneys payable by or under any bilateral or multilateral agreement.
(2) The revenues or other moneys referred to in subsection (1) shall not include revenues or other moneysâ€”
- that are payable by or under an Act of Parliament into some other fund established for a specific purpose; or
- that may by or under an Act of Parliament, be retained by the department of Government that received them for the purpose of defraying the expenses of that department.
(3) No moneys shall be withdrawn from the Consolidated Fund exceptâ€”
- to meet expenditure that is charged upon the Fund by this Constitution or by an Act of Parliament; or
- where the issue of those moneys has been authorisedâ€”
- by an Appropriation Act; or
- by a Supplementary Estimate approved by a resolution of Parliament passed in that behalf; or
- by an Act of Parliament enacted pursuant to the provisions of sections 112 and 113 of this Constitution; or
- by rules or regulations made under an Act of Parliament in respect of trust moneys paid into the Consolidated Fund.
(4) No moneys shall be withdrawn from any public fund, other than the Consolidated Fund and the Contingencies Fund, unless the issues of those moneys have been authorised by or under the authority of an Act of Parliament.
Authorisation of expenditures from Consolidated Fund.
112. (1) Subject to the provisions of section 107 of this Constitution, the Minister for the time being responsible for finance shall cause to be prepared and laid before Parliament in each financial year estimates of the revenues and expenditures of Sierra Leone for the next following financial year.
(2) The Head of the expenditureâ€”
- of the estimates shall be included in a Bill to be known as an Appropriation Bill which shall be introduced into Parliament to provide for the issue from the Consolidated Fund of the sums of money necessary to meet that expenditure and the appropriation of those sums for the purposes specified therein; and
- of the Consolidated Fund payments shall be laid before Parliament for the information of the Members thereof.
(3) Where, in respect of any financial year, it is found that the amount of moneys appropriated by the Appropriation Act for any purpose is insufficient or that a need has arisen for expenditure for a purpose for which no amount of moneys has been appropriated by that Act, a supplementary estimate showing the sum of money required shall be laid before Parliament.
(4) Where, in respect of any financial year, a supplementary estimate has been approved by Parliament in accordance with the provisions of subsection (3), a Supplementary Appropriation Bill shall be introduced in Parliament in the financial year next following the financial year to which the estimates relate, providing for the appropriation of the sum so approved for the purposes specified in that estimate.
(5) Notwithstanding the provisions of subsection (4), the Minister for the time being responsible for finance may cause to be prepared and laid before Parliament estimates of revenue and expenditure of Sierra Leone for periods of over one year.
(6) Parliament shall prescribe the procedure for the presentation of Appropriation Bills.
Withdrawal of moneys from general revenues.
113. Where it appears to the Minister responsible for finance that the Appropriation Act in respect of any financial year will not come into operation by the beginning of that financial year, he may, with the prior approval of Parliament signified in that behalf by a resolution thereof, authorise the withdrawal of moneys from the Consolidated Fund for the purposes of meeting expenditure necessary to carry on the services of the Government in respect of the period expiring four months from the beginning of the financial year or on the coming into operation of the Act, whichever is earlier.
Withdrawal of moneys from general revenues.
114 (1) No moneys shall be expended from the general revenue of the Republic unlessâ€”
- the expenditure is authorised by a warrant under the hand of the President; or
- the expenditure is charged by this Constitution or any other law on the general revenues of the Republic; or
- the expenditure is of moneys received by a department of Government and is made under the provisions of any law which authorises that department to retain and expend those moneys for defraying the expenses of the department.
(2) No warrant shall be issued by the President authorising expenditure from the general revenues of the Republic unlessâ€”
- the expenditure is necessary to carry on the services of the Government in respect of any period not exceeding four months beginning with the commencement of a financial year during which the Appropriation Act for that financial year is not in force; or
- the expenditure has been proposed in a supplementary estimate to be approved by Parliament; or
- no provision exists for the expenditure and the President considers that there is such an urgent need to incur the expenditure that it would not be in the public interest to delay the authorisation of the expenditure until such time as a supplementary estimate can be laid before and approved by Parliament; or
- the expenditure is incurred on capital projects continuing from the previous financial year until the commencement of the Appropriation Act for the current financial year.
(3) The President shall, immediately after he has signed any warrant authorising expenditure from the general revenues of the Republic, cause a copy of the warrant to be transmitted to the Accountant-General.
(4) The issue of warrants under paragraph (c) of subsection (2), the investment of moneys forming part of the general revenue of the Republic and making of advances from such revenues shall be subject to such limitations and conditions as Parliament may from time to time prescribe.
Remuneration of the President and certain other officers.
115. (1) There shall be paid to the holders of the offices to which this section applies such salaries and allowances as may be prescribed by or under any law.
(2) The salaries and allowances payable to the holders of the offices to which this section applies shall be a charge on the Consolidated Fund.
(3) The salary, pensions, gratuity and allowances payable to the holder of any office to which this section applies and his other terms of services shall not be altered to his disadvantage after his appointment, and for the purposes of this subsection in so far as the terms of service of any person depend on the option of that person, the terms for which he opts shall be taken to be more advantageous to him than any other terms for which he might have opted.
(4) This section applies to the officers of the President, Vice-President, Attorney-General and Minister of Justice, Ministers, Deputy Ministers, the Chief Justice, a Justice of the Supreme Court, a Justice of Appeal, a Judge of the High Court, the Director of Public Prosecutions, the Chairman and Members of the Electoral Commission, the Chairman and Members of the Public Service Commission, and the Auditor-General.
116. (1) Parliament may provide for the establishment of the Contingencies Fund and for authorising the Minister responsible for Finance, if he is satisfied that there has arisen an urgent and unforeseen need for expenditure for which no other provision exists, to make advance from the Fund to meet that need.
(2) Where any advance is made in accordance with subsection (1), a Supplementary Estimate shall be presented and a Supplementary Appropriation bill shall be introduced into Parliament as soon as possible for the purpose of replacing the amount so advanced.
117. (1) The public debt of Sierra Leone shall be secured on the revenues and assets of Sierra Leone.
(2) In this section reference to the public debt of Sierra Leone includes reference to the interest on that debt, sinking fund payments in respect of that debt and the costs, charges and expenses incidental to the management of that debt.
118. (1) Parliament may by a resolution passed in that behalf and supported by the votes of a majority of all the members of Parliament, authorise the Government to enter into an agreement for the granting of a loan out of any public fund or public account.
(2) An agreement entered pursuant to subsection (1) shall be laid before Parliament and shall not come into operation unless the same has been approved by a resolution of Parliament.
(3) No loan shall be raised by the Government on behalf of itself or any other public institution otherwise than by or under the authority of an Act of Parliament.
(4) An Act of Parliament enacted in accordance with subsection (3) shall provideâ€”
- that the terms and conditions of a loan shall be laid before Parliament and shall not come into operation unless it has been approved by a resolution of Parliament; and
- that any moneys received in respect of that loan shall be paid into the Consolidated Fund and form part thereof or into some other Public Fund of Sierra Leone either existing or created for the purposes of the loan.
(5) For the purposes of this section, the expression "loan" includes any moneys lent or given to or by the Government on condition of return or repayment and any other form of borrowing or lending in respect of whichâ€”
- moneys from the Consolidated Fund or any other Public Fund may be used for payment or repayment; or
- moneys from any fund by whatever name called established for the purposes of payment or repayment whether in whole or in part and whether directly or indirectly may be used for payment or repayment.
(6) The provisions of subsections (1), (2), (3), (4) and (5) shall also apply to any agreement for a loan entered into by the Government in respect of the natural resources of Sierra Leone, such as mineral, marine, forest and such other resources.
(7) Parliament shall be notified by the appropriate minister or authority of all gifts, donations, grants and pledges made to the State of Sierra Leone.
Establishment of office and functions of Auditor- General
119. (1) There shall be an Auditor-General for Sierra Leone whose office shall be a public office, and who shall be appointed by the President after consultation with the Public Service Commission, and subject to the approval of Parliament.
(2) The public accounts of Sierra Leone and all public offices, including the Courts, the accounts of the central and local government administrations, of the Universities and public institutions of like nature, any statutory corporation, company or other body or organisation established by an Act of Parliament or statutory instrument or otherwise set up partly or wholly out of Public Funds, shall be audited and reported on by or on behalf of the Auditor-General, and for that purpose the Auditor-General shall have access to all books, records, returns and other documents relating or relevant to those accounts.
(3) The public accounts of Sierra Leone and of all other persons or authorities referred to in subsection (2) shall be kept in such form as the Auditor-General shall approve.
(4) The Auditor-General shall, within twelve months of the end of the immediately preceding financial year, submit his report to Parliament and shall in that report draw attention to any irregularities in the accounts audited and to any other matter which in his opinion ought to be brought to the notice of Parliament.
(5) Parliament shall debate the report of the Auditor-General and appoint where necessary in the public interest a committee to deal with any matters arising therefrom.
(6) In the exercise of his functions under this Constitution or any other law, the Auditor-General shall not be subject to the direction or control of any person or authority.
(7) The provisions of subsection (6) shall not preclude the President, acting in accordance with the advice of Cabinet, or Parliament from requesting the Auditor-General in the public interest to audit at any particular time, the accounts of any body or organisation as is referred to in subsection (2).
(8) The salary and allowances payable to the Auditor-General, his rights in respect of leave of absence, retiring age and other conditions of service, shall not be varied to his disadvantage after his appointment.
(9) The provisions of section 137 of this Constitution, relating to the removal of a Judge of the Superior Court of Judicature, other than the Chief Justice, from office, shall apply to the Auditor-General.
(10) The Auditor-General shall retire from office on attaining the age of sixty-five years or such age as may be prescribed by Parliament.
(11) The administrative expenses of the office of the Auditor-General including all salaries, allowances, gratuities and pensions payable to or in respect of persons serving in the Audit Service shall be a charge upon the Consolidated Fund.
(12) The accounts of the office of the Auditor-General shall be audited and reported upon by an auditor appointed by Parliament.
(13) Any person appointed to be the Auditor-General of Sierra Leone shall, before entering upon the duties of his office, take and subscribe the oath as set out in the Third Schedule to this Constitution.
(14) Whenever the office of the Auditor-General is vacant or the holder of the office is for any reason unable to perform the functions of his office, the President may, in consultation with the Public Service Commission, appoint a person to act in the office and any person so appointed shall, subject to the provisions of the section relating to the removal of the Auditor-General, continue to act until his appointment is revoked by the President.