Sierra Leone's high court has prohibited the electoral commission from proceeding with March 27 vote amid claims of fraud and police harassment.

Sierra Leone's high court has placed an injunction stopping the country's electoral commission from going ahead with a presidential runoff vote scheduled for March 27. The ruling on Saturday came after Ibrahim Sorie Koroma, a lawyer and member of the ruling party All People's Congress (APC), filed a legal request arguing that allegations of electoral fraud should be investigated before the vote takes place.

The court's order stops the National Electoral Commission (NEC) from proceeding with the vote until the hearing and determination of this court, adjourning the matter until Monday, the eve of the planned runoff. However, despite the high court injunction, the NEC in a swift statement said: while legal proceedings are on-going, the Commission will continue its practical and logistical preparations for the run-off.

On Wednesday, the electoral commission accused police of disrupting its work, saying officers had  unjustifiably entered NEC premises, unannounced and at random, interrogated NEC staff, and obstructed them from performing their duties.

Police on Thursday denied the accusations and said they were investigating 200 cases of electoral fraud nationwide and that their role was to "remove from within its ranks" any NEC staff member likely to undermine fair elections.