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Former Maritime procurement head opens defense’s case

January 24, 2022

By Regina Pratt

Former head of procurement at Maritime Administrtration, Sahr Kemokai, who was charged to court on 9 count of corruption related charges, took to  the witness box on Wednesday, January 19, 2022, before Justice Simeon Alieu.

 Led in evidence by his defense counsel,H. Kamara,the witness told the court that he was at SLMA on 8th May 2019 to attend  a management meeting and whilst at the meeting the secretary to the Executive Director notified him that he had visitors waiting for  him at the executive director’s office.

“When I went to his office I met two men sitting with him and they introduced themselves that they are from the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) and asked that I should accompany them to ACC office,” he said, adding that at the  ACC office he was asked to provide information regarding a consultancy contract awarded to Toks Taylor for the sum of Le381 million and a statement was obtained from him.

The witness further said the officers at the ACC told him that he should provide evidence about how the contract was awarded, stating that after the interview he was detained at the Criminal Investigations Department (CID) headquarters for five days.

“At the CID they wanted me to provide evidential proof on how the contract was awarded. I was released a day before I received a letter from the Commission of Inquiry but I didn’t appear before any judge,” he said.

He further said he went to the Special Court and met with a few lawyers, who questioned him about how the contract was awarded and that he told them he neither awarded contract to Toks Taylor nor ever met with them.

“The lawyers at COI then asked me to go and that they will call me if they needed me. The Public Accounts Committee also invited the SLMA management to a meeting which was chaired by the deputy speaker, Hon Segepoh Thomas.They asked me about the contract and I told them that I have no idea,” he told the court.

He said after the meeting,chairman of the Public Accounts Committee instructed the executive director to suspend him indefinitely through a letter of suspension, pending the investigations by the management of SLMA.

Counsel for the witness, H. Kamara, applied for an adjournment on the grounds that they have some request forms they wanted to tender in court.

The Anti-Corruption Commission on 13th May, 2020, filed an indictment against Sahr Kemokai, former Head of Procurement at the Sierra Leone Maritime Administration on 3 counts of abuse of office, 3 counts of abuse of position and 3 counts on failure to comply with applicable procedures and guidelines relating to Pprocurement.

The matter was adjourned to Tuesday 8th February, 2022.

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