By Hawa Amara
Assistant Registrar at the West Africa Examination Council (WAEC) on Wednesday testified at the Magistrate Court No. 2 presided over by Magistrate Komba Kamanda.
Abdul-Rahman Zainu Deen Newland is a key prosecution witness in the criminal prosecution of Samuel Elkana Decker and Abdul Santigie Kamara, both arraigned for allegedly pilfering two cartons of WAEC certificates for private candidates.
The accused persons were arraigned on two counts of conspiracy to commit a felony and larceny, contrary to the law of Sierra Leone after state prosecutors alleged that on diverse dates between 1st November 2012 and 9th October 2013, they conspired with unknown persons to pilfer WAEC Senior Secondary School Certificates for private candidates, amounting to Le.7.5 million.
In his testimony, Mr. Newland told the court he supervises both accuse persons and that on 9th December 2013 a certain gentleman came to the WAEC offices with a blank certificate to retype. He said the said gentleman was arrested because he had in his possession a 2010 private WAEC certificate.
He said that the blank certificate was given to the Head of Examinations, Mr. Enoch Kamara for verification, who observed that Council had not previously issued that particular serial number.
He said the verification further unraveled that two boxes of certificates – four and six – for 2011 were missing, with each serialized from 001 to 1000.
He told the court that the discovery was reported to the Chief Examiner, Mohamed Sapateh, while the apprehended suspect was persuaded to identify persons who may have provided the blank certificate to him, but to no avail.
However, he said, the suspect started speaking when he was told he should be arrested and taken to the Criminal Investigations Department, and named the first accused person, Samual Elkana Decker, as the person who gave him the blank certificate.
The witness said the suspect and the first accused were then arrested and upon obtaining a search and a subsequent search of his resident, six certificates blank certificates were retrieved which are in the custody of the police.
He said the first accused was at large for more than a month until he was rearrested by detectives. The witness further told the court that the first accused told detectives he and the second accused had conspired to pilfer the certificates and sell them, the proceeds of which was shared between them.
Meanwhile, defence counsel H.R. Ahmed applied for bail, but police prosecutor Inspector F.K. Nyuma vehemently objected to bail on the grounds that the matter is a serious criminal matter in respect of educational fraud.
Magistrate Kamanda ruled in favour of the prosecution and adjourned the matter to 6 January 2014.