February 20, 2015 By Mohamed Massaquoi
Reports monitored from the eastern district town of Kailahun have revealed that the acting Regional Coordinator of the Open Government Initiative (OGI) is currently under custody at the Kailahun police station.
However, reason for the arrest of John Sevalie is yet to be established but some residents who spoke to Concord Times from Kailahun claimed that the OGI man has been detained “for posing as a Customary Law Officer (CLO) in the district”, thus allegedly extorting money from residents without representing them.
It should be noted that Kailahun district does not have a sitting magistrate and a good number of residents rely heavily on CLOs to represent them either at the police or at the magistrate court in Kenema whenever they report cases or have cases to answer.
A senior journalist in Kailahun, who also doubles as Station Manager of Radio Moa, Sahr Juma, said they had made several attempts to have Sevalie released on bail but to no avail.
“He was arrested some three days ago. We had engaged the Crime Officer at the Kailahun police station to explain to us the reason for his arrest and to grant him bail, but both the LUC Superintendent Banya and Inspector John Mannah have turned down our request,” said Mr. Juma. “Even though the allegations against him are still under investigation, but the police should be able to explain to us the crime he is being investigated for.”
Meanwhile, the Public Relations Officer of OGI, Abdoul Samad Kamara, yesterday confirmed to Concord Times about the arrest of Mr. Sevalie.
“We have been informed about the development and all efforts to have him released on bail have been unsuccessful,” Kamara said. “We were only informed yesterday (Wednesday Feb. 18) and we have been making frantic efforts to secure his release on bail. Moreover, we have not been adequately informed about the offence he is alleged to have committed.”
All efforts to reach Inspector Mannah and LUC Banya on their cellophanes proved futile.