By Emma Black

The Executive Director of the Legal Aid Board, Fatmata Claire Carlton-Hanciles has expressed delight at the ruling in a child maintenance matter brought before the Magistrate Court No. 7 by a client. The ruling saw the monthly child maintenance payment increased by nearly 100 percent.

Carlton-Hanciles described the ruling as timely noting that it is coming at a time when the Board is struggling to cope with child maintenance matters relating to the refusal or failure of fathers to provide money for schooling for their children.

The matter was taken to the court in July 2021 when the Board advised its client Martha (not her real name) to file a civil summons at the Magistrate Court against her husband Alfred (not his real name) for delay in the payment of monthly child maintenance money into the account at the Rokel Commercial Bank. Alfred had also bragged about his political affiliation. 

“We had no alternative but to advise our client to go to court after it became apparent that Alfred works in one of the Government Ministries was making excuses not to comply with monthly child maintenance payment,” Carlton-Hanciles said.

The monthly Child Maintenance of Le600,000 was to be paid by Alfred as was agreed upon in November 2020 after the Legal Aid Board’s Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) panel in Freetown assessed his salary. 

The amount was agreed upon based solely on an assessment of Alfred’s salary as a civil servant. Martha had alleged that Alfred had other sources of income, insisting that his salary as a civil servant is a small fraction of his income. However, the ADR panel did not include the other sources of Alfred’s income in determining the amount he should pay as monthly maintenance because it could not verify them. 

The Court commenced hearing of the matter in August 2021. Alfred was represented by two lawyers while the Legal Aid Counsel responsible for juvenile matters, Ibrahim Bangura represented Martha. The matter was presided over presided over by Magistrate Samuel Koroma of Court No. 7 on Pademba Road in Freetown. Counsel Bangura applied for reassessment of Alfred’s income which was granted.

The Court appointed a Probation Officer to verify the claims made by Martha which were proved to be true. As a result, the monthly maintenance payment was increased from Le500,000 ($48 USD) to Le1,000,000 ($96 USD). He was also ordered to pay two months arrears in maintenance payment.

The Court ordered Alfred not to evict the wife from their house and should return the furniture, television set and electrical appliances he had removed from their home when he abandoned his family.

The outcome of this case gives credence to persistent claims by women clients that their children’s fathers lie about their income. The Board is therefore under increasing pressure from women clients to take their child maintenance cases to court for a reassessment of the income of their children’s fathers.

“The Le300,000 provided by the father of my two children as child maintenance per month is not even enough for their lunch talk less of feeding and fare to school and back,” one woman who is pressing the Board to take her case to court said. “I contribute over 80 percent towards our children’s upkeep, education, medical and accommodation.”

One such client is the Janet who works in one of the banks. She is convinced the father of her five children lied to the Legal Aid Board’s ADR panel about hard times with his business. “He is making a lot of money as a building contractor and I am ready to prove this whenever and wherever,” Janet said. “He cannot claim to be hard-up and at the same time live an expensive lifestyle with his girlfriend. He does not want to contribute towards the upbringing of the children.”

Janet has therefore been given the green light by the Legal Aid Board to file a civil summons against her estranged husband. She is ready to help the court reassess his income. “I am taking my children’s father to court to make him a responsible father otherwise I will die of stress from the burden of taking care of five children one of who is in university in Ghana,” she stressed.

Alghassimu Sesay believes fathers are lying about their income but confessed the Board does not have the resources (both human and financial) and the necessary support to prove claims made by mothers. He said the Board has exposed some of the lies told by fathers regarding their income in the past.

He added that a staff of the National Civil Registration Commission (NACRA) lied to the Board about his salary. This was proven when the Board contacted the Human Resource Department of the Commission which revealed the salary of the staff which turns out to be far higher than what he had disclosed to the Board.

Also, fathers (especially those working for government) do not reveal all their sources of income. This makes it impossible to determine the real amount they should pay in child maintenance. They only disclose their salary paid by government which as you know is usually very low. “We assess them base on their salary,” Alghassimu Sesay said. “So, if the salary of a government worker with a very expensive vehicle tells us with proof that he is paid Le1,500,000, we had no alternative but to determine the amount he should pay per month as child maintenance based on this amount,” he added.

53 foreigners sentenced for illegal entry into Sierra Leone

On 6 September 2021, 53 foreigners were sentenced to one month imprisonment and pay a fine of Le200,000 each by Magistrate Abdul Carew of Court No.1 in Kenema. They were found guilty on four count charges including illegal entry into Sierra Leone. Nine Sierra Leoneans, who were arrested during a Police raid at the house where the accused were staying, were acquitted and released.

The foreigners, three Ivorians, 18 Malians, 32 Guineans and 1 Burkinabe, were arrested on 22 July 2021, in Kenema. They were accused of unlawful assembly and illegally entering into Sierra Leone without valid travelling certificates. Apparently, residents of the neighbourhood raised concerns about security issues.

The Sierra Leonean nationals were freed on their fourth appearance after they pleaded guilty to the charge of unlawful assembly.

The matter was prosecuted by ASP Daniel Konneh from the Legal and Justice Department of Sierra Leone Police Kenema division. The accused persons were represented by Maada Sheku Koroma.

Magistrate Carew ordered that the convicted persons be handed over to their respective Embassies in Sierra Leone for eventual deportation to their home countries after serving their sentences.

Magistrate issues bench warrant over fraudulent land sale

Magistrate Hadiru Daboh of Ross Road Magistrate Court No.3 in Freetown has issued a bench warrant of arrest for an accused who absconded after he was granted bail.

Alhaji Jolly Boy and Nathaniel Williams were granted bail by Magistrate Daboh when the first accused Jolly Boy jumped bail.

The accused persons were arraigned on 7 counts charges of conspiracy to defraud and obtaining money by false pretence.

According to the particulars of offence, brothers Alhaji Jolly Boy Williams and Nathaniel Williams, a retired civil servant, in September 2020, allegedly defrauded Adama Yillah and Francis Kamara of Le135 million. They said they had land for sale at Kossoh Town. Magistrate Hadiru Daboh has withdrawn the bail from the second accused Nathaniel Williams immediately after the first accused Alhaji Jolly Boy Williams escaped bail. Magistrate Hadiru Daboh has remand Nathaniel Williams to the Male Correctional Centre in Freetown and adjourned the matter to 20 September 2021.

Construction equipment dispute in court

On Tuesday 14 September 2021, Dr. Cyprain Okoro, a foreign doctor and gynaecologist, appeared before Magistrate Mark Ngegba of Pademba Road Court No.2, in Freetown, alleging fraud of over Le54 million by Michael Tobbie, another foreign national resident in Sierra Leone.

Michael Tobbie is before the court answering to a private criminal summons of two counts of fraudulent conversion and larceny contrary to the Larceny Act of 1916.

According to the charge sheet, the defendant, Tobbie, on 11 December 2020, stole a life card and registration documents for a Caterpillar D8 Bull Dozer, Volvo 120 LB Front Loader, Iveco truck, Volvo truck, a diesel truck, and a Ford dump truck.

Tobbie apparently rented the construction equipment for six months but did not pay the Le54,400,000 fees. The matter has been adjourned to 27 September 2021.

Accused of raping 12-yr old – case goes to High Court

Magistrate Sahr Kekura at the Pademba Road Court No. 1, on Wednesday 15 September 2021, committed a sexual penetration matter to the Sexual Offences Court, in Freetown. Mohamed Pateh alias “Mollay” is accused of raping a 12-year old girl on Sunday 21 April 2019 , in Ascension Town Road in Freetown.

Pateh is faced with one count charge of sexual penetration of a child contrary to Section contrary to Section 19 of the Sexual Offences Act No. 12 of 2012.

Prosecuting counsel , Sergeant Taylor, led two witnesses in court. One is a formal witness, and the victim. Pateh was not represented by a lawyer in court.

Pateh revealed at the police station that the 12-year old girl was his girlfriend and on the night of the alleged incident, the girl slept in his room, but he did not rape her.

However, Magistrate Kekura noted the evidence before the Court was sufficient for the case to proceed pursuant to Section 116 of the Criminal Procedure Act No. 32 of 1965.

Police Sergeant testifies at murder trial

The fourth prosecution witness, Sergeant M.J Bangura, testified in the ongoing preliminary investigation into a murder at Hastings. Sergeant Bangura said on Wednesday 15 September 2021, Foday Alimamy Yillah is alleged to have shot Alpha Kargbo, a resident of Hastings, over a land dispute.

According to the police, the accused, Foday Alimamy Yillah, on Thursday 15 April 2021, murdered Alpha Kargbo. Yillah faces one count charge of murder.

In his testimony to the Court, Sergeant Bangura of the Criminal Investigations Department (CID) Headquarters said on Saturday 17 April 2021, he and Sergeant Kargbo questioned the accused.

He continued that on Sunday 16 of April 2021, a team of police investigators, including him, headed by Superintendent M.K Allieu visited the crime scene at Hastings. At the crime scene, empty bullet shells were discovered. He added that the team handed the bullet shells and one AK47 magazine to the Ballistic Expert for examination.

He said on Friday 30 April 2021, at the Connaught Hospital in Freetown, an autopsy examination was done by the country’s Pathologist, Dr. Simeon Owizz Koroma. He said at the end of the postmortem examination, a medical cause of death certificate was handed over to the team of investigators. The accused was charged with murder on 31 May 2021.

Testing the evidence in cross-examination, defense counsel, C. Campbell, argued that the witness did not state the name of the deceased when he mentioned that he charged the accused with the offence of murder. Magistrate Sahr Kekura ruled that the witness did not state the accused’s name.

Furthermore, the witness confirmed that he encountered an individual bearing the name Saidu Kargbo whom lawyer Campbell disclosed that he made statement as a witness. He also confirmed that the deceased went to the scene of crime with many youths, adding that these youths forcefully entered the vehicle of the police.

Lawyer Campbell told the Court that the deceased had a physical struggle with the accused while trying to retrieve his mobile phone, but the witness said he did not take that statement but he saw it on the court file.

At this stage, there was argument and counter argument with regards some aspect of the evidence which the prosecuting counsel thinks should be tendered by the Ballistic Expert.

Magistrate Sahr Kekura therefore adjourned the matter to 21 September 2021, while the accused was sent to the Male Correctional Centre in Freetown

Le100M bail granted to Natco manager

Vijay Sharma, 33, Manager at NATCO, made his first appearance before Magistrate Sahr Kekura in Freetown on one count charge of illegal Abstraction of Electricity supply contrary to Section 68 (1)(a) of the National Electricity Act 16 of 2011. The charge was read to the accused person and he pleaded not guilty

Counsel representing the accused person, C.I Pateh, S. Conteh and A. Jalloh applied for bail and said the accused is the general manager at NATCO Company and lives in Freetown. They argued the accused is not a flight risk pursuant to Section 79 (3) of the Criminal Procedure Act No.32 of 1965.

Magistrate Keikura said the prosecutor didn’t submit an affidavit in opposition to bail.

He granted the accused Le100 million bail with two sureties.

ASP Ibrahim Mansaray is prosecuting the matter, which was adjourned to 17 September 2021.

Fish fraud case before Magistrate Court

The Police allege sometime between 1-12 August 2021, at the Magazine Wharf, Mabinty Titi Bangura collected Le74 million from Isha Kamara for 400 bags of fish. Mabinty Titi Bangura made her first appearance before Magistrate Sahr Keikura of Pademba Road court No.1 in Freetown facing charges of Obtaining money by false pretence contrary to Section 32(i) of the Larceny Act of 1916.

Prosecution witness number one, Isha Kamara, who lives in Guinea and is a business woman recalled on a date between 1st August and 12th August 2021 something transpired between herself and the accused.

She said the accused called her and informed her that her friends have fish for sale. She said they agreed on the price of the 400 bags of fish at Le215,000 per bag. Kamara gave the accused Le50 million. The accused insisted on more money and another Le20 million was collected.

Counsel representing the accused, Elvis Kargbo, applied for bail on behalf of his client. Magistrate Keikura refused bail and sent the accused to the female correctional centre special court Freetown. Asp Ibrahim Mansaray prosecuting the matter, which was adjourned to 17 September 2021.

Repeat fraud offender remanded

Notorious fraudster, Tom Karrow, 26-years old, made his first appearance before Magistrate Sahr Keikura of Pademba Road Court No.1 in Freetown on two different files and two counts of Conspiracy to defraud and Obtaining money by false pretences contrary to Section 32(i)of the Larceny Act 1916.

Magistrate Keikura welcomed Karrow and recognized him from previous appearances.

According to the particulars of offence on 10 February 2021, in Freetown, Karrow attempted to defraud Sahr David Gbenda of Le75 million for the purchase of a Toyota Rav-4.

The other file notes on 16 July 2021, at Regent Road in Lumley, Karrow attempted to defraud Reuben Dyke of Le30 million for another vehicle.

The accused person was unrepresented and he was sent to the Male Correctional Centre in Freetown. The matter was adjourned to 16 September 2021.

Le100M bail to 26-yr old for alleged theft from Police

Mohamed Bangura, Hawa Kanu and Santigie Kanu made their first appearance before Magistrate Sahr Keikura facing four count charges to commit Larceny contrary to Section 2 of the Larceny Act 1916, accessory after the fact and receiving stolen goods contrary to Section 33(i)of the Larceny Act 1916. ASP Aminatu Daboh is prosecuting the matter.

The Police allege on Monday 9 August 2021, at the Sierra Leone Peacekeeping and Law Enforcement Academy in Hastings, the accused stole six Sharp air-conditioners valued at over Le5 million and other property valued at Le33 million, from the Sierra Leone Police.

Police constable Ezekiel Coomba attached to CID headquarters in Freetown investigated the matter. He recalled on 16 August 2021, he received the file. The witness said it was eight suspects, 13 statements and three documents with two exhibits. The search warrant of the third accused person was also tendered in court.

A team of police officers visited the scene of crime with Umaru Bangura at Hastings police training school. They saw an empty box, which was removed from the seen and cables were damaged at the backside of the building.  

The constable conducted a search warrant at the premise of the third accused led by Umar Bangura and they discovered damaged parts of air-conditioners.

Defense counsel, M. Sheriff, renewed his bail application for and on behalf of the second accused person. Magistrate Keikura granted the second accused person bail of Le100 million or one surety in like sum. The matter was adjourned to 21 September 2021.  

Accused motorbike thief granted bail

Tamba Matturi, a labourer, was granted Le20 million bail after the second prosecution witness, Abdul Kamara testified against him before Magistrate Sahr Kekura at the Pademba Road Court No. 1 on allegations of motorbike theft.

According to the indictment, the accused on Tuesday 6 July 2021, in Brookfields in Freetown, stole a motorbike valued at Le12 million from Hassan Bangura.

The accused is facing two counts of conspiracy to commit a felony, and Larceny contrary to Section 2 of the Larceny Act 1916.

Led in evidence of by Assistant Superintendent of Police (ASP), Aminatu Darboh, the prosecution witness, Abdul Bangura, recognized both the complainant, Hassan Bangura, and the accused, Tamba Mathew. He recalled that on 6 July 2021, the Hassan Bangura gave him information. He said Bangura told him that he gave his motorbike to the accused who could not produce it at the time. “I asked the accused about the whereabout of the motorbike, but he responded that someone went to buy something with it at Congo Market,” he said.

Kamara said he further asked the accused if he gave the individual who went with the motorbike the key of the bike, but he said the accused disclosed that he didn’t.

Kamara suggested to the complainant that the motorbike had been stolen, but the accused assured that he will come just now with the motorbike. He went to Police Headquarters and a police officer apprehended the accused, who was taken to the Adelaide Street Police Station.

The witness further put it to the witness that both of them did not speak in respect of the issue just as he claimed in his testimony. 

The accused was granted Le20 million bail plus one surety. The matter was adjourned to 22 September 2021.

23-yr old man accused of stealing food from State Lodge

On 31 August 2021, 23-year old Musa Samura allegedly climbed the fence of the State Lodge, eluded three check points and four observation areas and entered the President’s house at Hill Station in Freetown. The security posts were manned by military and armed police officers. Samura is accused of stealing a 50kg bag of rice, onions, a box of tomato paste, four chickens, some Maggie and a knife, valued at Le1,130,000.

Musa Samura is charged with conspiracy to commit a felony, burglary and larceny contrary to Section 25(i) and 13 (a) of the Larceny Act of 1916. He made his first appearance before Magistrate Sahr Keikura of Pademba Road court No.1 in Freetown on Friday 10 September 2021.

Sergeant Dwight Macarthy is prosecuting the matter. The accused was finally discovered hiding up a mango tree when he was arrested and taken to the Police station. The accused was remanded to the Pademba Road prison. He is suspected of being mentally unbalanced. The matter was adjourned to 15 September 2021.

Life in prison for murder of 85-yr old woman

On 10 September 2021, 38-year old Hassan Morray (alias Sani Med), was sentenced to life imprisonment for the murder of 85-year old, Sia Matu Yobah, in Freetown, on 17 July 2017. The sentence was pronounced by Court of Appeal Judge John Bosco Allieu after an eleven member jury unanimously returned a guilty verdict.

In his address to the jurors shortly before the verdict, Justice Allieu said the standard in all criminal trials is for the prosecution to prove the guilt of the accused beyond reasonable doubt. He said if they’re satisfied that the prosecution has proved its case beyond reasonable doubt, they should return the appropriate verdict accordingly and vice versa.

The prosecution called six witnesses during the trial including Pathologist, Dr Simeon Owizz Koroma.

The convict’s police statement said on 22 July 2017, five days after the incident, he was in front of the gate of his house at Old School, in Freetown when he saw an old woman who asked him to give her medicine because she was sick. According to him, the old woman took the medicine and entered his room to sleep. He apparently left her there for some time and returned to find her “swollen”. Morray said he used a knife to cut the woman’s throat to reduce the swelling.

In his evidence, the 5th prosecution witness, Dr. Simeon Owizz Koroma, said the deceased died as a result of acute haemorrhagic shock due to profuse bleeding.

In his judgement, Justice Allieu said based on the guilty verdict reached by the jury, the convict was sentenced to life imprisonment.

Accused fraudulent car seller denied bail

Dauda Fofanah, 33, made another appearance before Magistrate Sahr Keikura of Pademba Road Court No.1 in Freetown facing on one count charge of fraud contrary to Section 32(i) of the Larceny Act 1916.

The police allege on 7 June 2021, in Calaba Town, the accused took $4,500 USD from Gladys Manga in payment for a RAV-4 vehicle.

Prosecution witness and complainant, Gladys Manga, said she saw the RAV-4 on her sister’s behalf and the accused showed her the vehicle and took pictures to send to her sister. Manga then tested the vehicle with her husband for her sister. They were accompanied in the vehicle by Alusine Kanu, someone who apparently worked at the car centre. After testing the vehicle, she gave the accused the money but the accused failed to provide a receipt and escaped the scene. Someone at the car centre then came and took the keys from Manga.

The following day she went to Criminal investigation Department (CID) headquarters and gave her statement to the Police. Alusine Kanu was arrested and brought to CID headquarters.

Magistrate Keikura wondered why Alusine Kanu was not charged to Court for Conspiracy. A subpoena was issued for his arrest.

Counsel representing the accused, Joshua Ansumana, renewed a bail application on behalf of his client. The accused was denied bail and sent back to the Correctional Centre. The matter was adjourned to 16 September 2021.

Three women accused of stealing electricity

Marie Njai, Fatmata Jabbie and Iye Sesay made their first appearance before Magistrate Sahr Keikura in Freetown facing three count charges of illegal abstraction of electricity supply contrary to Section 68 of the National Electricity Act of 2011.

The Police believe on 6 September 2021, at Hill Station, Marie Njai was stealing electricity from EDSA. The second and third accused, Fatmata Jabbie and Iye Sesay, were also arrested on the same day for stealing electricity on Spur Road in Wilberforce.

Apparently, the three women had illegally connected their houses to the EDSA power grid and were not paying for power. ASP Ibrahim S Mansaray is prosecuting the matter.

Counsel representing the accused, Charles R Williams, applied for bail pursuant to Section 79 sub section 3 of the Criminal procedure Act 1965.

Magistrate Keikura denied the women bail and they were sent to the Female Correctional Centre in Freetown. The case was adjourned to 16 September 2021.

Accused gang-rapists remanded in Falaba District

On 8 September 2021, three men accused of gang-raping an 18-year old farmer in Kombili village, in the Falaba District, were denied bail by Magistrate Santigie Bangura.

The three accused, Kelie Koroma, a trader, and Guineans Ibrahim Kamara and Sulaiman Samura, appeared before Magistrate Bangura to answer to two counts of Aggravated Sexual Assault contrary to Section 19A of the Sexual Offences Act No. 12 of 2012 as repealed and replaced by Section 4 (B) (1) of the Sexual Offences (Amendment) Act No.8 of 2019.

According to the Police, on 1 June 2021, the accused engaged in an act of Aggravated Sexual Assault with an 18-year old farmer.

The victim explained that she was returning from the toilet to her apartment after 8:00pm when she was attacked by the accused men.

She said they dragged her to a stream where they raped her and threatened her with a knife. She said she passed out from the pain and suffered severe bruising all over her body.

The matter was reported to the Mongo police station where a medical form was issued at the Family Support Unit. The matter was investigated by Detective Sergeant 11062 Sesay S.J.

The accused persons were represented by A.O Kamara and Assistant Superintendent of Police, Conteh is prosecuting the matter. No plea was taken from the accused.

Former military officer sentenced to 5-yrs for killing wife

On 3 September 2021, Court of Appeal Judge Monfred Sesay sentenced Lamina Mansaray to 5 years for killing his wife, Mabinty Mansaray, on 14 December 2016. Mansaray is a former military officer and was convicted of one count of manslaughter.

After spending 4 years and 9 months at the Male Pademba Road Correctional Centre, Lamina Mansaray pleaded guilty.

Mansaray told the court that he was a serving member of the Republic of Sierra Leone Armed Forces at the time of the incident. He said on 13 December 2016, the deceased left the house for a week and returned home to request for money to take care of the house, which he refused. He said an argument broke out and he beat his wife with his military belt.

Mabinty Mansaray died the next day at the 34 Military Hospital.

The convict pleaded for mercy, adding that the deceased was his wife with whom he had lived for the past 30 years. The plea in mitigation was done by Lawyer Komba Kanu from Legal Aid Board.

Justice Sesay said his sentence was based on the convict’s plea for mercy and the time he had already spent in jail. He said the decision was in consideration of the welfare of the two children and the convict didn’t waste the court’s time.

Convict killed his friend – sentenced to 10-yrs for manslaughter

Justice Monfred Sesay sentenced 26-year old Mustapha Massaquoi to ten years imprisonment for manslaughter. Massaquoi also pleaded guilty to the killing of Lamin Kanu on 22 April 2018, at Dwarzark in Freetown.

State Prosecutor Joseph A.K Sesay had applied for the murder charge to be reduced to manslaughter, adding that the said application was made for speedy and fair trial and in the interest of justice. The Prosecution cited Section 148 Sub section (1) of the Criminal Procedure Act of 1965 Act No 32 of 1965, which he said will cause no injustice to the accused.

After the murder charge was replaced with manslaughter, Justice Sesay asked the Clerk to read the charge again to the accused person, who pleaded guilty to manslaughter.

Massaquoi told the court that the deceased was his friend and they were at a music festival in 2018. He said he and Kanu argued and fought. Massaquoi stabbed Kanu and killed him.

Justice Sesay said he found him guilty of manslaughter. He said that because the convict didn’t waste the court’s time and further made a remorseful plea mitigation, he will only sentence him to ten years imprisonment including the time already spent.

AIG Brima Jah to appear before disciplinary tribunal today

A special disciplinary tribunal has been set up by the Police Management to investigate allegations of insubordination, disobedience and tyrannical conduct against Assistant Inspector General of Police, (AIG) Mohamed Brima-Jah. Until his recent suspension from office, AIG Brima-Jah was the Director of Professional Standards in the Sierra Leone Police Force. The special disciplinary tribunal is headed by AIG Amadu Mannah.

AIG Brima-Jah has been invited to appear before the special disciplinary tribunal at Police Headquarters or be tried in absentia.

The recommendations from the special disciplinary tribunal are expected to be forwarded to the Police Council headed by the Vice President, Mohamed Juldeh Jalloh. The Police Council is expected to meet on Wednesday 8 September 2021.

The Inspector General of Police, Ambrose Michael Sovula decided to transfer AIG Brima-Jah from the position of Director of Crime Services to Director of Professional Standards following a litany of complaints against AIG Brima Jah from some members of the public for unprofessional conduct.

The Independent Police Complaint Board (IPCB) has already forwarded six reports against AIG Brima-Jah to the Police Council for action. These reports are said to be very damning, according to senior Police sources.

Last week, AIG Brima-Jah granted an interview to Radio Democracy 98.1 in which he alleged that he was being hounded out of the Police Force because he advised the Inspector General of Police not to meddle with the process leading to promotions in the Force.

The Police advertised for vacancies in the Force some six months ago after the Police Council approved the reinstatement of the old ranks. Before promotions are made for senior officers, the Police Council has to approve before the list is published.

From the rank of Chief Inspector downwards, promotion is at the discretion of the Inspector General of Police. The Inspector General does not need the approval of the Police Council.

AIG Brima-Jah is expected to face disciplinary action if found wanting by the special tribunal set up to investigate his conduct in the Police Force.

KKY was eligible to contest – Supreme Court rules

On Friday 3 September 2021, the Supreme Court delivered their judgment on the dual citizenship matter brought by David Fornah of the APC against the Member of Parliament, Kandeh Kolleh Yumkella (KKY) of Constituency 062 Kambia District, Samu Chiefdom.

Justice Nicolas Browne-Marke and four other Judges of the Supreme Court said Yumkella had included copies of his renunciation of American citizenship and Sierra Leonean passport in his affidavit. The renunciation certificate stated that the NGC Parliamentary Leader denounced his American citizenship on 22 November 2017, at the United States Embassy, in Freetown.

The Supreme Court also noted Yumkella made his renunciation public in January 2018 and that a transcription of his speech on the said date was made available to the court. In the transcription, Yumkella said that he made his renunciation in compliance with Section 76(1) of the 1991 National Constitution of Sierra Leone.

Justice Eku Roberts said Yumkella has provided enough evidence of his renunciation, that deemed him fit to contest for the positions of President and Member of Parliament.

Yumkella said, “I call on the government and NEC in particular, to ensure diaspora voting also becomes a reality in 2022 and 2023.”

Yumkella was dragged to court by David Fornah, who challenged the legitimacy of the former UNIDO boss sitting as a Parliamentarian, citing that he (KKY) was a holder of dual citizenship. The Parliamentarian denied the allegations, and filed in an affidavit with several exhibits to the court.

The affidavit of the plaintiff, Fornah, had sought the leave of the Supreme Court to interpret certain Sections in the 1991 Constitution and the Citizenship Act of 2006.

The question that begged an answer was to ascertain, who was a citizen of Sierra Leone and how does one denounce his citizenship?

The plaintiff (Fornah) opted to withdraw his application from the court, citing that he was now certain that Yumkella was not a dual citizen.

Justice Glenna Thompson stated that Fornah had wasted the court’s time. She also found the action by Fornah to be ‘frivolous’ and `unhealthy’ for Sierra Leone’s democracy. She noted that the plaintiff had no intention for the court to interpret the said laws. She admonished that the court should not be used as a political weapon and that an independent Judiciary is important in a democracy.

Justice Alusine Sesay said that Section 127 (2) gives the Supreme Court the necessary power to interpret statutes in Sierra Leone. He also criticized the action made by Fornah to be an ‘unacceptable conduct’ that undermines democracy.’ He said the plaintiff was aware of the status of Yumkella before 2018.

Justice Sengu Koroma also stressed on the detrimental nature of Fornah’s action. He said that the plaintiff opted to withdraw his action after all defendants had made the paperwork before the proceeding. He added that Fornah’s interpretation of Section 11 of the Citizenship Act of 2006 was an ‘academic one”. He maintained that Section 41 of 1991 Constitution needs no further interpretation.

The court also agreed that Fornah should pay the cost of the application of the matter.

Supreme Court postpones judgement on KKY

The Supreme Court of Sierra Leone has postponed the delivery of judgment on the dual citizenship case filled by David Forna against Hon Kandeh Yumkella, former presidential candidate of the National Grand Coalition’s (NGC) party. Yumkella now represents constituency 062, Samu Chiefdom in Parliament. David Forna has challenged the eligibility of Yumkella since he was elected MP in 2018 over his alleged dual citizenship status.  The court may decide whether he was validly and duly elected or not on 3September 2021.

41-yr old imprisoned for impregnating 12-yr old pupil

On 31 August 2021, Court of Appeal Judge, Jamesina King, presiding over cases at the Sexual Offences Model Court (SOMC), sentenced 41-year old Ibrahim Sesay, a tailor, to 15-years imprisonment and also ordered compensation of Le10 million for sexually penetrating and impregnating a 12-year old girl.

Sesay was charged with one count of sexual penetration. The case goes back to sometime in June 2017, when the victim was raped around Lumley, Freetown. The victim said it was Sesay who impregnated her during the month of Ramadan in 2017.

According to the young victim, the incident took place when her aunt asked her to spend nights in Sesay’s room because her uncle had wanted to sleep in her aunt’s room and there was not enough room for all of them.

The 5th prosecution witness, Dr. Olabisi Cole, from Rainbo Centre, told the court that the victim’s hymen was ruptured, adding the victim was nine weeks pregnant.

After the close of the Prosecution’s case, the defence opened its case leading in evidence two witnesses including the convict in support of their case. The defence challenged the medical report, citing inconsistency in the dates in the report admitted to by the Doctor as an error which did not affect her findings.

The convict vehemently denied the allegations against him and said he was innocent.

While she stressed that the victim was consistent in her entire evidence, Justice King referenced the medical report which affirmed that the child had a ruptured hymen and that an ultrasound scan proved that she was pregnant.

Justice King also ordered the Ministries of Social Welfare and Gender and Children’s Affairs to provide care for victim and her child. The Appeal Court Judge told both Ministries to protect their identities.

50 Paralegals trained to provide services to children

The Legal Aid Board with support from UNICEF has organized a one-day orientation workshop for 50 volunteer paralegals on the provision of quality legal aid services to children in conflict with the law at the Board’s head office on 27 Wilberforce Street in Freetown.

The training was aimed at capacitating the paralegals with skills and knowledge in the provision of legal advice and assistance to juveniles investigated at the Family Support Units (FSU) of the police. The volunteers will be stationed at the FSU where they will provide legal assistance to children upon their arrest until they are charged to court. 

The participants were drawn from all the 16 districts across the country. They will be deployed in 50 FSU branches in six police regions in the country in the Freetown-West; Freetown-East; Southern; Eastern; North-Western and North-Eastern as follows: 25 police divisional headquarters, 13 police stations and 12 police posts.

The Chair of the workshop, the Registrar and Program Manager of the Legal Aid Board, Joseph Dumbuya, said suspect juveniles should not abused whilst they are under police investigation. He said juveniles have a right to legal advice and assistance upon their arrest until they are charged to court. He added that, this is provided for in the National Constitution and the Legal Aid Act 2012. He said many juveniles have been deceived into confessing they committed a particularly offence by the police which they had denied in court.

Legal Aid Counsel responsible for Juveniles, Ibrahim Bangura and Patrick Sovie, presented a paper on Guidelines on Child-Friendly Legal Aid at police station. They explained about the various categories of offences: serious or felonious, hybrid and minor or misdemeanor offences. Bangura said child victims and witnesses are in contact with the law but not in conflict with the law.

They admonished the paralegals to draw the attention of the police to Section 35(1) of the Legal Aid Act 2012, which provides that the police should call or inform the Board upon the arrest of anybody who seems to be an indigent including children and women.

ACC indicts Mines Compliance Officer of NMA

On 26 August 2021, the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) filed an indictment against Daniel Kapri Serry, a Mines Compliance Officer of the National Mineral Agency (NMA), on five counts of corruption offences. The offences include one count of Peddling Influence, contrary to section 31(4); and four counts of Accepting an Advantage, contrary to Section 28(2)(a); of the Anti-Corruption Commission Act No. 12 of 2008 as amended by the Anti-Corruption (Amendment Act, No. 9 of 2019.

The ACC allege that Serry, in February 2021, peddled influence and accepted an advantage for himself in order to make use of his influence to obtain a benefit from a public body. Serrry accepted $5,000 USD, then another $2,000 USD, and then $300 USD) from businessmen of Chi Clement and Simplice Bedy, in order to facilitate the release and export to Dubai, United Arab Emirates, of 15 Kilograms of gold valued at $350,000 USD. Serry also accepted an IPhone 11 in consideration for him to trace and apprehend Fatmata Bomporo Sessay, a businesswoman involved in the sale of the 15 Kgs of gold.

Serry is expected to make his first appearance in the High Court of Sierra Leone in Freetown on 4 October 2021.

Alleged car thieves face Court

Sulaiman Foray, Amadu Nabie Yaya, Nabie Turay and Joseph Ivan Koroma made another appearance before Magistrate Sahr Keikura of Pademba Road Court No.1 in Freetown on two counts charges of Larceny contrary to Section 2 of the Larceny Act 1916.

According to the charge sheet on 14 July 2021 in Goderich, the accused stole a Toyota FJ Cruiser valued Le200 million from Florence Bockarie.

Prosecution witness number one, Florence Bockarie, a retired teacher, said the first accused was her driver but the others she did not know. She said on 14 July, the first accused told her the vehicle had broken down and he took the jeep to a mechanic. The vehicle was not with a mechanic but was driven through the Hastings toll gate and Maisaka toll gate. The witness followed up by involving NATCOM and tracing phone calls. She discovered the vehicle in Kambia, where she called the police. She also tracked the other accused through Adonkia and visited the homes of others. The accused were arrested by CID.

Counsel representing the fourth accused, M Karim, applied for bail for and on behalf of the fourth accused person he made his application pursuant to Section 79 sub section 2 of the Criminal Procedure Act 1965.

Magistrate Keikura granted the fourth accused bail of Le200 million. ASP Aminata Daboh was prosecuting the matter, which was adjourned to 6 September 2021.

Accused robber denied bail for arms & ammunition offences

Forty-five year old, Alpha Gobeh, an alleged armed robber, was on Thursday 26 August 2021, sent to prison by Magistrate Sahr Kekura of Pademba Road Court No 1 for unlawful possession of 10 rounds of ammunition and escaping from police custody.

The accused, Alpha Gobeh, was arraigned on two counts charges of Escaping from lawful custody and unlawful possession of arms and ammunition contrary to Section 19(2)(c) of the Arms and Ammunition Act 1955 cap 234 as repealed and replaced by Section 1 of the Arms and Ammunition Act No 17 of 1974.

According to the police on count one, it was alleged that the accused on Monday 4 January 2021, at the OSD Head Quarters Freetown while under the custody for the offence of Robbery with Aggravation at the CID HQ, escapeed from lawful custody. Count two stated that the accused on the Tuesday 13 April 2021, along Wilkinson Road in Freetown, was found in possession of ten rounds of ammunition without license.

Police prosecutor ASP Daboh intimated the court that her witness is absent and therefore could not proceed with the matter.

Defense counsel, Emmanuel Teddy Koroma, applied for bail in behalf of the accused. He said the essence of bail is to guarantee the feature appearance of an accused and therefore he vouched for the safe conduct of his client, adding that if his client is put on bail, he will not jump bail or interfere with the Prosecution witnesses. His application was made pursuant to section 79 (3) of the CPA 1965, adding that with respect of the offence unlawful possession, he relied on the bail regulation of 2018.

Magistrate Sahr Kekura replied to the bail application and refused bail due to the serious nature of the offences. The accused was remanded in prison and the matter was adjourned to 1 September 2021.

Customs Officer testifies in arms and ammunitions matter case

Three accused face arms and ammunition charges, Nabieu Unisa Raymond Bangura, Agnes Korto Reffle and Hon Emmanuel Conteh, appeared in court on Monday 30 August 2021.

Lead by State counsel, Yusif isaac Sesay, the third prosecution witness, Mohamed Sannoh, who works at the National Revenue Authority, in the Customs Services Department, testified.

The witness said he was the head of the anti-smuggling unit attached to the baggage section. He said one of his role is to make sure containers are discharged for inspection.

He said on 2 July 2021,he was on duty at the unstuffing site for inspection when Foday Fofana called his attention to a gray Pathfinder jeep parked nearby and told him that they have discovered arms and ammunitions in it.

The witness said he called his colleague Mohamed Kabba Massaqoui on the phone concerning the issue. He said before his colleague arrived he was shown a plastic bag contained items suspected to be arms and ammunitions.

The witness said PW1 and the police arrived at the scene and the car was driven by Victor Murana to a clearing point for everyone to see. He said PW1 adviced them to move to his office with the items

The witness said on arrival at PW1 office, they counted the items in the presence of Victor Murana, Isatu Kargbo, staff attached to PW1’s office and other police officers. He said while the counting was going on there was a knock at the door and someone answered ‘I am honorable’.

He said third accused Hon. Saidu Emmanuel Conteh, entered and introduced himself as the member of parliament from constituency 129. He said third accused informed PW1 that he is there in respect of a vehicle that was shipped to him which had issues with customs.

The witness said third accused displayed a photo of a vehicle in his phone in front of all present in the office and when matched with the one on the phone of Gibrela Kamara the police officer.

He said the MP denied bringing arms into the country.

He said PW1 asked where did he shipped the vehicle from and he responded from the United State of America.

At the end of his testimony the matter was adjourned to Wednesday 1 September 2021 for cross examination.

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