Establishment of Parliament
(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 the Constitution of Sierra Leone, the legislative power of Sierra Leone is vested in Parliament.
(3) Parliament may make laws for the peace, security, order and good government of Sierra Leone.
Members of Parliament
Members of Parliament shall comprise the following:
(a) one Member of Parliament for each Constituency/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
(b) 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.
(c) 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.
(d) 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.
(e) 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
Qualifications for Membership in Parliament Subject to the provisions of section 76, any person who:
(a) is a citizen of Sierra Leone (otherwise than by naturalization); and
(b) has attained the age of twenty-one years; and
(c) 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
(d). 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
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
(1) No person shall be qualified for election as a Member of Parliament:
(a) 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
(b) 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
(c) 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
(d) if he has been convicted and sentenced for an offence which involves fraud or dishonesty; or
(e) if he is under a sentence of death imposed on him by any court; or
(f) 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
(g) if being a person possessed of professional qualifications, he is disqualified (otherwise than at his own request) from practicing 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
(h) 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 offence 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 anybody 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
A Member of Parliament shall vacate his seat in Parliament:
(a). on the dissolution of Parliament next following his election; or
(b). if he is elected Speaker of Parliament; or
(c). 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
(d). if he ceases to be a citizen of Sierra Leone; or
(e). 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
(f). 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
(g). if he ceases to be qualified under any law to be registered as an elector for election of Members to
(h). if he is adjudged to be a lunatic or declared to be of unsound mind or sentenced to death; or
(i). if he is adjudged or otherwise declared a bankrupt under any law and has not been discharged; or
(j). 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
(k). 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
(l). 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
(m). if, being elected to Parliament as an independent candidate, he joins a political party in Parliament; or
(n). if he accepts office as Ambassador or High Commissioner for Sierra Leone or any position with an
International or Regional Organization
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
(1) The High Court shall have jurisdiction to hear and determine any question whether:
(a). any person has been validly elected as a Member of Parliament; and
(b). 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 judgment 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 judgment 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.
Oath to be taken by Members of Parliament
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.
Summoning, Prorogation and Dissolution
(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
(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
(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.
(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 effect:
a) the Parliament shall meet at such date, not later than fourteen days after the date of the Proclamation, as may be specified therein;
b) 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;
c) 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;
d) 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 dissolved:
a. the session of that Parliament held next before that dissolution; and
b. 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.
PROCEDURE OF PARLIAMENT
Presiding in Parliament
There shall preside at any sitting of Parliament:
a. the Speaker; or
b. in the absence of the Speaker, the Deputy Speaker; or
c. 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
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
The business of Parliament shall be conducted in the English Language.
Voting in Parliament
(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
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.
(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 say:
Committees of Parliament
a. the Legislative Committee;
b. the Finance Committee;
c. the Committee on Appointments and Public Service;
d. the Foreign Affairs and International Co-operation Committee;
e. the Public Accounts Committee;
f. the Committee of Privileges;
g. the Standing Orders Committee;
h. such other Committees of Parliament as the rules 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 of:
a. enforcing the attendance of witnesses and examining them on oath, affirmation or otherwise;
b. compelling the production of documents; and
c. the issue of a commission or request to examine witnesses abroad.
Regulation of Procedure in Parliament
(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 when 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
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.
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, Privileges and Immunities
The responsibilities of the Members of Parliament shall include the following:
a. 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.
b. 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
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.
(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 or 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
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
(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
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
Subject to the provisions of this Constitution, no person shall be under any civil or criminal liability in respect of the publication of:
a. the text or a summary of any report, papers, minutes, votes or proceedings of Parliament; or
b. 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 witnesses
(1) Every person summoned to attend 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 that:
a. 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
b. 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.
Exercise of Legislative Power
Power to make laws
Subject to the provisions of this Constitution, Parliament shall be the supreme legislative authority for Sierra Leone.
Mode of Exercising Legislative Power
(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
(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 thereof:
a. to give an account of any matter falling within his portfolio; or
b. to explain any aspect of Government policy.
Alteration of this Constitution
(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 unless—
a) 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
b) 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 say—
a. this section
b. Chapter III,
c. 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 section:
a. references to this Constitution include references to any law that amends or replaces any of the provisions of this Constitution; and
b. 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.