11 Alleged Fraudsters Sent to Jail
August 25, 2017 By Memunatu Bangura
A battery of lawyers yesterday failed to convince Magistrate Albert J. Moody presiding at the Magistrates’ Court No.1 to grant bail to eleven accused persons, who were arraigned before the court for conspiracy to defraud contrary to the laws of Sierra Leone.
Five Bankers, five securities and one driver, all attached to the Bank of Sierra Leone were whisked to the Male and Female Correctional Centres respectively, after almost an hour heated debate between the defense team and the prosecution.
Cecilia Fatola Annie Ben-Carew, Abdul Ibrahim Sama, Komba Gbolie, Rebecca Kosonikeh Fuller, Yayah Hamid Gabreel Kamara, Dankawallie Mansaray, Solomon Caulker, Patrick Massaquoi, Albert Jabatti Fortune, Francis Alimamy Sesay and Charles Eric Wilhelm, were before Magistrate Moody on one count of conspiracy to defraud contrary to law.
The particulars of offence stated that the accused persons on a date between 1st April, 2017 and 12th July, 2017, at Bank of Sierra Leone, with intent to defraud the Government of Sierra Leone of its needed revenue, conspired with other persons unknown and facilitated the unofficial movement of the Leones and foreign currency (United States Dollars and British Pounds Sterling) out of the said Bank to the hand of private individuals by making false representation that the Bank was engaged in its normal auction exercise, knowing the same to be false.
The Defence team including Lawyer M. E. H. Sesay, S M Sesay, M Dumbuya, H. M. Gevao, B. Pratt, A K Musa, P. T. Bear, J Kapuwa, V. Lansana and O. S Kamara, among others, pleaded with the Bench to put their clients on bail.
Lead Counsel, H. M. Gevao, canvassed the Bench to put his clients on bail, citing Section 79(2) of the Criminal Procedure Act of 1965.
He told the magistrate that the accused persons have been in police custody for eighteen days, thus violating their fundamental Human Rights as enshrined in the country’s 1991 Constitution.
According to him, the police have no right to have incarcerated the accused persons for more than ten days.
He told the crowded court that while the accused persons were in police custody, the prosecution should have prepared their witnesses to testify on the matter rather pleading for an adjournment to summon witnesses.
He also applied for the matter to be discharged because the offence for which the accused persons were before the court was ‘bad in law’ and the particulars cannot be amended.
“In my fifteen years of practicing criminal law, I have never come across this charge that is put before this accused person,” he said.
In his response, ASP Kamara said the prosecution was asking for an adjournment because they wanted to prepare their witnesses and other relevant evidences to prove the case against the accused persons.
He objected to bail, stating that the accused persons were employees at the Bank of Sierra Leone and that the prosecution witnesses were also employees of the same institution, noting that there was possibility for the accused persons to interfere with the prosecution witnesses.
The matter was prosecuted by Assistance Superintendent of Police, Samuel Kamara, associated by Anti-Corruption Commission prosecutor, Lawyer M. Sow.
Earlier, Lawyer Gevoa, objected to lawyer M. Sow’s associating with the police prosecution on the grounds that he is working for the Anti-Corruption Commission which is an institution that has an ‘independent prosecutorial power’.
Meanwhile, all accused persons were remanded in prisons until Tuesday 29th August, 2017.