July 2, 2021
By Yusufu S. Bangura
Presiding Magistrate Mark Ngegba at the Pademba Road Court No.2 on Thursday, 1st July, 2021, sent one Francis Wilson into remand after Francis Morrison Johnson testified against him in the ongoing preliminary investigation into alleged $45,000 fraudulent gold deal.
The accused person was before the court after police alleged that sometimes in April, 2021, at College Road in Freetown, with intent to defraud, conspired with other persons unknown to defraud one Francis Morrison Johnson the sum of $75,000 USD, equivalent to Le 666 million Leones.
Police also alleged that the accused, Francis Wilson, sometimes in April 2021, obtained the sum of $12,000 USD equivalent to Le 280 million Leones on the pretext that he had 8 kilogram of gold for sale, knowing same to be false.
Police further alleged that the accused on the same date and place, obtained the sum of 45,000 USD, equivalent to Le 468 million Leones after he claimed that he had 15 kilograms of golf, knowing same to be false.
The complainant (Francis Morrison Johnson), a resident of Congo Water at Wellington, recognized the accused person and narrated that he was part of the team that took money from him in respect of gold.
He said sometimes in April, 2021, he had a business partner, Mohosin Haydei, a Bangladesh businessman, who was also interested in buying gold.
“I was introduced to the accused and his partners by one Joseph Kargbo who told me that they were into mining business and had license. I disclosed my intention to the accused who asked me to meet him at his office at Goderich for us to have a discussions around the business,” he explained.
He continued that he and his colleague, Ibrahim Bangura, went to the accused’s office at Goderich.
“Upon arrival, the accused and one Edward Roy Macaulay told us that they had 35 kilogram of gold, but I told them that I wasn’t prepared for 35kg gold, so I told them that I only wanted 15kg of gold,” he said.
He further narrated that, a day after he again visited the office, and that at the office Edward Macaulay told him that the accused together with the Bangladesh would be traveling to abroad, so it will be good for them to go into business.
He said the accused and his partners brought an expert who tested the 15kg of gold, which he wanted to buy.
“After it was tested, it was revealed that the substance was a gold bass. I told them that, I don’t have the 45,000 USD, but 16,000 USD. Since I didn’t know the exporter, I therefore handed the money to one Edward,” he said.
He told the court that the exporter told him that he was going to do the processing in Dubai.
“At 3am in the morning while we were heading to Sea Coach, we on boarded a tricycle. Before long, I saw a vehicle which hit the tricycle in which we were seated from the behind. I now saw a very huge max man demanding our bags. They took our bags and sprayed pepper spray in my eyes.I couldn’t run because they hit me with stick on my feet, but my partners ran away,” he explained.
Wilson said at that time he was having 468 million Leones in his possession which the accused carted away.
The witness said he later went to the Aberdeen Police Station and reported the matter.
In his cross-examination, defense counsel, lawyer S. A. Bangura, enquired if the witness had license for dealing in gold, but the witness said he hadn’t any license.
Defense counsel noted that it is a crime for one to deal in gold without license. However, the witness said he merely sponsored the business, but that he is not a gold dealer.
When asked by the defense counsel as to whether he did any background check before doing the business, the witness said he didn’t because he trusted the person that introduced him to the accused.
Defense counsel put it to the witness that it was he who wanted to dupe the Bangladesh businessman, but the witness replied in the negative.
Defense counsel renewed his application for bail, but Magistrate Mark Ngegba said he will only consider bail after he would have heard more evidence. Magistrate Mark Ngegba sent the accused into remand at the Male Correctional Centre and adjourned the matter to Tuesday, 6th July 2021.