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Le5bn bail for NPA fuel ‘thieves’

By Hawa Amara

Magistrate Komba Kamanda of the Freetown Magistrate Court No.2 yesterday granted bail of one billion Leones (Le1bn) each to five National Power Authority (NPA) workers who were alleged to have stolen 40,000 litres of diesel from the authority valued one hundred and eighty million Leones (Le180,000,000). Total bail for the five accused persons is Le5 billion.

Lead state counsel Monfred Sesay told the court that he could not continue with the proceedings because he is travelling with the Attorney General out of the jurisdiction.

He said he was not averse to bail as it would be unfair to the accused persons. He asked for two weeks adjournment.

Earlier, lead defence counsel H.M. Gavao renewed his application for bail, citing Section 79(2) (1) of the Criminal Procedural Act of 1965, saying bail is the discretion of the bench and that the magistrate should use that discretion in favour of the accused persons.

Magistrate Kamanda granted bail to the accused persons in the sum of Le1 billion each, two sureties in like sum, and sureties must be residence owners in the Western Area and must produce title deeds.

He emphasised that the properties must worth the amount of the bail, adding that the accused persons should surrender their travelling documents, and the bail should be approved by the Consultant Master and Registrar.

It could be recalled that the accused persons – Mustapha Sannoh, Aiah Moseray, Mohamed Mamoud Conteh, Sheriff Koroma and Admire Browne – were arraigned on four counts of conspiracy to defraud contrary to law, larceny by servant contrary to Section 17(1) of the Larceny Act of 1916, embezzlement and obtaining goods by false pretences contrary to section 32(1) of the same Act.

The prosecution alleged that the accused persons, on diverse dates between Saturday 10th and 18th May 2014 in Freetown, conspired with other persons to defraud the government of Sierra Leone by falsely representing that the NPA station at Blackhall Road was in urgent need of fuel, which they accordingly requested to be supplied.

The prosecution further stated that the accused persons on the same date in Freetown, being servants of the government of Sierra Leone, stole from NPA 40,000 litres of diesel valued one hundred and eighty million Leones (Le180,000,000).

The prosecution further alleged that the accused persons between Friday 16th and 19th May 2014, in Freetown, fraudulently embezzled the said amounts received by them for and on behalf of the government of Sierra Leone – their employer. Also between Friday 16th and 19th May 2014, with intent to defraud, obtained from the National Petroleum Sierra Leone the said fuel by falsely pretending that the NPA station at Blackhall Road, east of Freetown, was in urgent need of the fuel.

The matter was adjourned to July 15 for further hearing.