January 17, 2020
By Hassan Gbassay Koroma
Joseph Fitzgerald Kamara, Counsel representing former President Ernest Bai Koroma in the on-going Commission of Inquiry presided over by Justice Bankole Thompson, has in his final address, submitted that the Commission was not instituted to fight corruption but to make former President Ernest Bai Koroma a destitute.
“The object of this Commission was not to fight corruption but to make former President Ernest Bai Koroma a destitute. This cycle of political vengeance must stop in this country,” he said.
The former Attorney General and Minister of Justice said the purpose of the Commission was to ban his client from holding a public office, confiscate his property and make him destitute, which he considers as vengeance justice.
He said the prosecution has addressed the Commission on the absence of his client, noting that it was the constitutional right of his client to remain silence unless if the prosecution has strong reason for him to say something to help the investigation.
He further that as a law abiding citizen, his client complied with the laws of the land by submitting his asset declaration form to the commission.
He said his client was alleged to have owned half of the property in Freetown, including every powerful buildings, but that the prosecution did not lead any evidence to the Commission that warrant his client to answer to any of those allegations.
He submitted that the prosecution also took no time to investigate or inform the Commission and the public about the lawfully acquired wealth of his client, noting that his client had over three billion Leones shares at RITCOPS Insurance Company and thousands of United States Dollars in other companies before he took office.
He submitted that the prosecution did not investigate what his client had before he took office, but aimed to make sure that his client is ban permanently from politics, noting that his client was financially solvent at the time he took office.
“My lord, my client is not a prolific traveler or a drunker that spend money in night clubs, but he was a prudent businessman.Now this Commission is seeking to make him destitute,” he said.
He further that the prosecution has presented no document to the Commission to show that he owned any other property rather than those in his asset declaration form and submitted that the case against his client be dismissed.
He further that both witnesses the prosecution presented to testify against his client including one investigator, Dauda Kaikai and a property valuator namd Olu Campbell are incompetent, noting that the property valuator has no academic qualification.
One Christopher Olu Campbell in 2019 testified at the Commission that properties of former President Ernest Bai Koroma worth sixteen million five hundred thirty four thousand and five hundred United States Dollars (USD$16, 534,500).