By Hassan G. Koroma
Pastor Aiah Momoh, a movie producer, yesterday testified in the mega piracy presided over by Magistrate Komba Kamanda at the Freetown Magistrates’ Court No.2 on how he apprehended the accused persons.
Pastor Momoh told the court he has spent over fifteen years in the film industry, first as an actor and now a producer. He said he recalled on 10th January 2014 when he received a phone call from one Benjamin Conteh, his Assistant Director, who informed him about the mass piracy of local movies by the accused.
He said he intimated few stakeholders in the film industry about the development and they held a meeting where it was agreed that they deploy some boys to embark on a sting operation in order to catch the pirates.
He said one of the boys sent on the operation, by the name of Alusine, went to the old PZ building on Wilberforce Street and purported to buy a movie, which turned out to be a pirated copy. He said the matter was reported to the Victoria Park Police Station.
He said they again gave money to Alusine to buy another copy, plus a mobile phone to alert them about the transaction, while they waited around with the police. He said that no sooner the Alusine entered the building than he was accosted by a group of boys who identified him. He said the boy was rescued by the police who swiftly intervened and arrested the first accused, Abass Kamara, who had in his possession computers, burners and cartoons of pirated Sierra Leonean movies.
The witness said the accused was taken to the Central Police Station, where the second and third accused persons were subsequently arrested after they were identified as part of the gang of pirates.
The accused persons were again refused bail and remanded at the Pademba Road maximum security prisons, while the hearing was adjourned to 5th February.
It could be recalled that the accused persons – Abass Kamara, Gibril Kamara and Osman Jalloh – were charge to court on one hundred and fifty-one (151) count of conspiracy, distributing copyright materials, selling copyright materials and others without the authority of the firm owner(s), contrary to section 71(1) of the Copyright Act of 2011.