The Chief Justice of the Judiciary of Sierra Leone Justice Babatunde Edwards has on Thursday 8th October 2020 during the ongoing budget process at the Ministry of Finance presented a budget estimate of Le 22,053,000,000.00 for the Fiscal Year 2021.
“Supreme Court Le 2,612,100,000.00, The Court of appeal Le 541,000,000.00, The High Court/Magistrate courts 5,346,900,000.00, Judiciary administration and Support Services Le 10,570,000,000.00 and Training and overseas traveling Le 2,983,000,000.00,” according to the summary divisional budget estimates for FY 2021.
Justice Edwards said their key deliverables for FY 2021 are increasing access to Justice in Districts such as Tonkolili, Falaba, Karene, Kabala, Pujehun, Kailahun, Western Rural-York, Moyamba, Port Loko, and Matru Jong, enhance capacity building for Judges, Magistrate, and Administrative Staff, infrastructural development and improvement (Building of 5 Magistrate Courts in Falaba, Bo, Karene, Port Loko, and York and two High Courts in Port Loko and York and rehabilitation of other courts.
He said the Judiciary will enhance social security by 20 percent through the social security court, installing an effective and efficient case management system and increasing the court’s visibility worldwide for both fast-track Commercial Court and General Courts by establishing a website.
In 2020, Le 16,967,132,600.00 was approved for the judiciary, and according to the Chief Justice, that was the highest budgetary allocation to the judiciary.
The Chief Justice said with that budgetary allocation they were able to meet most of their key deliverables like organizing Training for at least 35% of the Judiciary Personnel, improving upon court Records Management, expedite Judgments to Reduce the number of pending cases by 70%, Increase Courts visibility in Regions such as Tonkolili, Falaba, Karene, Kabala, Pujehun, Segwema and York, and Set up courts to Enhance Tax Enforcement starting with Social Security Courts.
Non-State Actors present during the discussion call for more outreach by the judiciary giving that the judiciary has only one Public Relation Officer presently, calling on the judiciary to improve on their archive system as there are instances when case files went missing, and they also share the concern of Magistrate Courts not sitting regularly.
The Director of National Budget Mr. Tasima Jah reminded the Chief Justice that the government will be slashing on recurrent spending in the FY 2021 and focus on capital projects.