December 13, 2016 By Hassan Gbassay Koroma
The Anti-Corruption Commission on Thursday in the High Court secured thirty million Leones or three years imprisonment conviction in a corruption matter involving one Joko C. Alvin, Principal of the Russel Technical Secondary School in Koya Rural District.
The convict was charged to court for abuse of office.
The convict was standing trial in the High Court before Justice Alusine Sesay on a count’s charge of abuse of office, contrary to Section 42 (1) of the Anti-Corruption Act of 2008.
The ACC Prosecutor, Mohamed Saw, had alleged that the accused being a public officer in 2013, improperly conferred an advantage on himself and removed the names of two hundred and thirty-six pupils from the Ministry of Education Science and Technology approved list of pupils that were supposed to attempt the 2013 West Africa Senior Secondary School Certificate Examinations (WASSCE) and replaced them with unqualified ones.
Reading the judgement, Justice Sesay said the prosecution presented eleven witnesses that testified in the matter and that upon the closure of the prosecution’s case, the convict told the court that he relied on his statement to the Anti-Corruption Commission.
He said the convict was charged with one count of abuse of office and that the element needed to be proven by the prosecution, were that either at the time of the crime the convict was a public officer, if he improperly conferred an advantage on himself or other person and by the conduct of using his office, improperly conferred an advantage on himself or other person.
He said the evidence established by the prosecution was that the convict was the principal of the Russel Technical Secondary School, a government assisted school and that such qualified him as a public official for a public entity.
He said from the evidence in court, rules were set by the examinations council that were to be followed by the convict but according to the evidence, he did not work according to those rules.
He said two hundred and thirty-six names were improperly deleted from the approved list from the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology and replaced with unqualified pupils.
He said the convict had admitted in court that he indeed deleted names of pupils from the list and begged for forgiveness.
Justice Sesay further stated that the convict was clearly aware of the rules of the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology and that of the examination council, adding that there was no justification for him to have acted outside the rules.
He said the convict knew that deleting the names of the pupils was tantamount to criminal act but went ahead by doing it and that notwithstanding his confession; it was still the duty of the prosecution to prove his guilt beyond all reasonable doubt.
“I had considered the whole case, especially the prosecution witnesses, documents tendered in court during the trial and the statement of the accused to the Commission and I believe in the testimony of all the witnesses. I want to say that the prosecution has proven its case beyond all reasonable doubt and I hereby find the accused guilty as charged,” he said.
C.F Edwards representing the convict pleaded with the judge to temper justice with mercy and stated that court that the convict is a family man and that if given custodian sentence, his family would.
The convict also pleaded for mercy, stating that he regrets his doing and told the court that he has five biological children plus fifteen foster children and that his family would suffer if a given a custodian sentence.