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Alie Kabbah’s bigamy case…

Witness tells court: ‘No legal requirement to produce divorce certificate’

August 26, 2016 By Regina Pratt

Prosecution Witness number six in the bigamy matter between the State and Allie Kabbah yesterday told the High Court in Freetown that there is no legal requirement for an individual to produce divorce certificate prior to contracting a civil marriage.

Lawyer Abdul Rahman Mahdi was being led in evidence by State Prosecutor A.G.M. Bockarie, before Hon. Justice Miatta Samba.

The witness said he assists the Administrator and Registrar-General to administer oaths, conduct weddings and verify documents, adding that the accused swore to an oath as a divorcee and his spouse a spinster.

He added that the statement was read to the deponent and that the accused signed that everything under oath was true.

When asked by Bockarie as to whether a copy of the divorce certificate was attached to the form, Mahdi said no copy was attached as there is no legal requirement to produce a divorce certificate prior to a civil marriage.

Defense counsel Francis Ben Kaifala, in his cross-examination, asked the witness whether he explained to the accused that he was under oath, which the latter replied in the affirmative, stating that exhibit ‘H’ was prepared by his office as a standard form.

He also told the court that the accused was not given the opportunity to take the form to his lawyers, adding that he was alone on the day he signed the form.

Asked by the defence counsel if there was any requirement of proof of the forms, the witness replied that sometimes they do not require proof.

The witness also told the court that he was not aware that the divorce took place out of Sierra Leone, adding: “I am not familiar with US divorce laws and as a matter of law, proofs are not required.”

The prosecution witness concluded his testimony that Mr. Kabbah was not under any obligation to provide proof of his divorce certificate.

Mr Kabbah, who is vying to lead the main opposition Sierra Leone People’s Party in the 2018 presidential election, is charged with bigamy and giving false statement. He has denied both charges, dismissing them as “politically motivated.”

The matter was adjourned for today.

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