June 6, 2019
By Ibrahim K.Turay
The Judge Advocate, Justice Momoh Jah Stevens, presiding at the Court Martial has issued a Bench warrant for Captain Patrick Edwin Kamara, as the latter could not appear before him and the five board members.
The Judge told the court that since Captain Kamara is not the only person before the court, they won’t stall the matter, but rather try him in absentia.
Captain Kamara, who was the Commander of the Presidential Guard Force Unit under former President Ernest Bai Koroma before the allegations were made against him, is being tried together with two of his colleagues on five counts of missing arm and ammunition, an allegation they have denied.
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He reportedly disappeared on the 24th May, 2019, from the military detention centre at Wilberforce Barracks in Freetown.
The State prosecutor, Lt. Colonel M.B.S Kamara, earlier applied for the court to permit him present a witness that would explain how Captain Kamara got missing at the holding centre, which the judge granted.
The witness, Lieutenant Colonel J.P.Koroma, who identified himself as the commander of three companies in the Republic of Sierra Leone Armed Forces (RSLAF) testified that they were the first Provosts Company at Wilberforce, where the accused was, as well as Makeni Provost Centre.
When quizzed by the Judge Advocate as to whether he knew why Captain Kamara was not in court, the colonel said the accused was not in court because he had escaped.
He said on the 24th May, 2019, at around 6:30am, he received a phone call from O.C Major T.H Sandy, who informed him that Captain Kamara has disappeared and that he crosschecked after he received the information.
He told the court that there was no sign of breakage in the cell or anywhere within the area captain Kamara was kept.
“As a commander of that unit, I requested that all personal that were on duty should be put on remand, and they were all arrested and taken to the CID headquarters in Freetown,” he testified.
During cross examination, Ady Macauley, Counsel for the fugitive captain asked the witness as to whether Captain Kamara’s cell was locked, he replied that the cells were always locked, but stated that on that day he met them widely opened.
The lawyer also asked as to how many gates someone would cross to the cell of Captain Kamara, the colonel responded that there were three main gates that were always manned by military officers.
Macauley also asked him if there was an open investigation, the Colonel said that they were looking at difference possibilities in the investigation and that seven soldiers were jointly being investigated.
However, the soldier was charged alongside two others-SLAF 18165301 Warrant Officer Class one, Samuel Conteh and RSLAF 18167256, Warrant Officer Class two, Abu Bakarr Jalloh on five counts ranging from conspiracy, larceny by servant, willful neglect and ordering damage to service property, to conduct that was prejudicial to the group order and military discipline, contrary to the Armed Forces of the Republic of Sierra Leone Act No.34 of 1961 as amended. But they have pleaded not guilty to the offences.
Meanwhile, the court will resume next week Tuesday 11th June, 2019