Prosecution witness recants statement

By Regina Pratt

First prosecution witness in the ongoing court martial trial, Warrant Officer Class II (WO2) Abu Bakarr Dumbuya, while being cross-examined by the defence last Friday, recanted he had told the police anything about an alleged secret meeting by the accused soldiers at St. Andrews Secondary School at Teko Barracks in Makeni.

WO2 Dumbuya, according to statement attributed to him by the police, had averred that the 14 soldiers had met at the school, but had to refute the claim when pressed by defence counsel Thomas Beah.

Beah, Esq., asked the witness as to whether he was questioned by the police on any allegation, and the latter replied in the affirmative.

Testifying at the court martial for the second time last week, the witness said one of the accused, Private Musa Fabai, was on annual leave when he was declared wanted by the police.

He further told the court that Fabai was under his supervision all but in name, as he was writing the West African Senior Secondary School Certificate Examinations while on leave.

The witness also said he prepared annual leave passes for 17 personnel, including the accused persons, Privates Musa Fabai and Tholley on a date in August 2013 he could not recall.

He said he handed over the annual leave passes to the clerk for onward distribution to the accused persons and that he believed Private Fabai would have collected his, although he did not report to him (the witness).

The witness was unsure as to the length of time between which Private Fabai was arrested and gave a statement to detectives at the Mena police station in Makeni.

WO2 told the court that the statement he made to the police was read to him and that he appended his signature to it, stating that the list given to him by the Military Police had four names, with one of the names scratched out, thus reducing the number to three.

The 14 soldiers are accused of mutiny, conspiracy to mutiny, among a host of eight charges, but they have denied all the charges.

The hearing was adjourned to 12 May.