October 1, 2019
By Hassan Gbassay Koroma
Justice Simeon Allieu presiding at the Freetown High Court yesterday granted five hundred million Leones bail each to four accused persons including the erstwhile High Court Master and Registrar, Stephen Yayah Mansaray, Richie Edwin Asgil, Adele Faya and Clarence Solomon Will, who are before him for corruption offences.
The Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) had filed eighteen counts indictment against the former court officials in the High Court for allegedly misappropriating four hundred and sixty million, two hundred and sixty-eight thousand, and two hundred Leones (Le460, 268,200/00) from the Judiciary’s Master and Registrar Account, domiciled at the Bank of Sierra Leone.
In a dramatic twist, the first accused, Stephen Yayah Mansaray, announced to the court that he would represent himself.
He told the Bench that the law makes provision for self defense, although he didn’t have a certificate to practise.
The erstwhile Master made bail application on his behalf in which he told the court that ‘he has record of meeting bail conditions’.
He said he is being investigated for similar matter in which he was granted five hundred million Leones bail which he met and hasn’t jumped bail.
The Commission’s Prosecutor, Joel Tejan Deen-Tarawalie, alleges that Mansaray, Richie Edwin Asgil, former Principal Accountant in the Judiciary; Adele Faya, former Account Clerk of the Judiciary; and Clarence Solomon Will, Assistant at a Law Firm in Freetown, misappropriated Public Funds, contrary to Section 36(1); and conspired to commit a corruption offence, contrary to Section 128(1) of the ACC Act 2008.
The prosecution also alleges that Mansaray and Asgil were signatories to the Judiciary’s Master and Registrar’s account and on diverse dates, between June 2014 and May 2018, both accused conspired with others to sign a number of cheques through which they authorised the withdrawal of funds from the aforementioned account for their personal benefit or for other unjustified purposes.
The commission further alleges that Adele Faya instructed the encashment of various cheques from the same account, and misappropriated the monies, while his co. accused, Solomon Will, between 25th April, 2018, and 14th March, 2019, allegedly conspired with unknown persons to misappropriate public funds by illegally facilitating the encashment of cheques from the Judiciary’s account.
However, the other accused were represented by Hindolo Gavao, Radcliffie A. D Jones, J.B Dauda F.K Garber.
Meanwhile, the erstwhile Master is also facing another corruption charges before Justice Bintu Alhadi for allegedly misappropriating Le60 million High Court fine.
The prosecution had already closed its case in the said matter and is now waiting on the defense to open theirs or make a no-case submission.