APC MP & four others charged with child trafficking
By Hawa Amara
Following the completion of a preliminary investigation into the adoption saga involving officials of Help A Needy Child International (HANCi-SL), presiding Magistrate at the Freetown Magistrates’ Court No.2, Magistrate Komba Kamanda, last Friday ruled that there was sufficient evidence to warrant a committal of the matter to the High Court.
Magistrate Kamanda said that having weighed the merits and demerits of evidences adduced against the accused and statements made by the latter, in respect of the controversial adoption agreement between HANCI and parents of the adopted children 10 years ago, plus submissions by the defence counsel and the prosecution, he was convinced the matter needed to be heard and determined at the High Court.
Defence counsel A.M. Conteh pleaded for bail on the grounds that the accused persons are ordinarily resident in the jurisdiction and will not violate the terms of the bail, not least that the first accused is a Member of Parliament.
Principal State Counsel, Gerald Soyie, did not object to the bail application. Thus, Magistrate Kamanda renewed the bail condition in the sum of Le40 million plus one surety in like sum, to be endorsed by the Acting Master and Registrar.
The accused persons in the HANCI case include ruling party lawmaker, Hon. Dr. Roland Kargbo, John Kapri Gbla, Henry Abu, Peter Lamin Dumbuya and Peter Brima. They were in 2013 arraigned on thirty-one (31) counts of conspiracy to engage in trafficking persons, trafficking persons and perjury, contrary to section 1(1) of the Perjury Act of 1911.
The prosecutor alleges that the accused persons had between August 2005 and May 2012 with intent engaged in the trafficking of Adama Kargbo, Alhassan Koroma, Sento Koroma, Adama Kamara, Sulaiman Kargbo, Sallay Tarawallie, Sanyon Conteh, and Balia Kamara, amongst others, as well as undertaken to transport and house the said children.