Alleged burglar sent on remand


June 25, 2021

By Yusufu S. Bangura

After he made a confession statement in court, Yusuf Koroma was sent on remand at the Male Correctional Centre on Pademba Road in Freetown for stealing zinc, while his alleged conspirators are on bail.

The accused persons, Yusuf Koroma, Saidu Dumbuya, Osman Conteh, and Ishmael Sesay, were arraigned before Magistrate Mark Ngegba at the Freetown Magistrate Court No. 2 on Pademba Road in Freetown, after police alleged that they conspired to steal dozens of zinc valued almost Le 200 million Leones from one Indian businessman, Bishal Bhanwani.

The accused persons were slammed with several count charges, including larceny and conspiracy, among others.

Prosecution witness, who also doubles as the complainant, Bishal Bhanwani, a resident of Makeni and a businessman who deals in  building materials recognized one of the accused persons in the dock.

He disclosed that the 1st accused is his employee, adding that he came to know the 2nd, 3rd and 4th accused persons in respect of the matter.

He recalled on the 24th May, 2021, while being quarantined at home, one of his boys called and gave him certain information in respect of the alleged theft at his store.

“I immediately told them to call the police and also open the store to see what was stolen,” he said.

The witness added that it took three days for him to be intimated about what was stolen, adding that the TOCU Officer who was present took photos of the store where items were stolen.

“After the quarantine, I visited the store and discovered that 120 zinc valued at Le 132 million was missing, and another 70 bundle valued at Le 56 million was also missing,” he said.

Bhanwani said he reported the matter to the Criminal Investigations Department (CID), where he made statement, while the police mounted investigation into the alleged theft.

The first accused (Yusuf Kamara) who was not represented by a lawyer, asked the witness if he was the one who stole all the bundles of zinc that got missing, but the witness responded that it was the accused who told him some other persons stole part of the bundles.

At that stage the accused person revealed that he only stole 28 bundles of zinc.

Counsel for the second accused, lawyer S. I. Koroma, asked as to whether the witness has conducted any business transaction with his client, but the witness said he had never done any business with the accused.

In his own cross-examination, counsel for the 3rd accused, lawyer Gassim Conteh, asked if the witness saw his client steal the zinc, but the witness indicated that he did not see him.

Lawyer Conteh put it to the witness that none of the zinc that were missing was found in the possession of his client, the witness responded that none was found in the accused’s possession.

Magistrate Mark Ngegba sent the first accused person into remand, indicating that he had made a confession statement that he stole 28 bundle zinc.

He later adjourned the matter to Tuesday 29th June, 2021 for further hearing.