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Tuesday, May 17, 2022

In $46,000 diamond fraud…

American accused & co denied bail again

By Hassan G. Koroma

Olabode Babatunde Olukammi, who claimed to be an American citizen and John Sannoh, a Sierra Leonean, were again denied bail by the presiding magistrate, Magistrate Komba Kamanda at Friday.

The duo was making their fifth appearance at the Freetown Magistrates’ Court No2. After the matter was transferred from Kenema, where they had allegedly stole two pieces of diamond,  worth US$56,000 (Le.240, 810,000) from one Mohamed Kabbay.

Defense counsels, A.V. Lansana and H.M.  Gavao applied for bail for their respective clients, but Principal State Counsel, Monfred Sesay, vehemently opposed to such, and his line of argument – the seriousness of the charges – was accepted by the presiding magistrate.

During cross-examination, first prosecution witness and complainant, Mohamed Kabbay, said the police took $2,722 plus Le.40 million from the hotel room of the first accused person (Paloma Guest House in Kenema) when they went to arrest the latter.

Although he said he was not present when the police raided the hotel room of the accused, he testified he saw a bag belonging to the first accused where the said money was deposited, as well as saw the money on a table in the office of the Assistant Inspector General of Police at the Kenema Police Station. He said the police later informed him the money was discovered in the room of the accused.

When being cross-examined by H.M. Gavao Esq., the witness said he has traded in diamonds for over fifteen years.

He said he knew the second accused three days before the transaction occurred, and that he reported the second accused to the police for threatening remarks.

Second prosecution witness, Backarie Jawara identified himself as a trader, and revealed he knew the first accused, Olabode Babatunde Olukammi and the complainant, Mohamed Kabbay, whom he said is his brother in-law.

He said that on 3rd May, 2014, the complainant requested that he (the witness) accompanied him on a diamond deal, adding that both of them went to the office of the first accused person.

He said that they met a certain guy standing outside the office, while the first accused and another guy were sat inside the office, and that no sooner they entered the office than the  complainant took out diamonds in his possession and gave them to the first accused person.

At that point, he said, the first accused enquired about the relationship between the two men and that the complainant introduced him as his brother in-law.

He said the accused requested that he (the witness) leave the office so that he could transact business with the complainant in privacy.

“I left and went about my business,” he said. “After an hour I called the complainant Mohamed Kabbay to check on him but he told him on the phone that he was at the police station. I went to the police station where I was asked to make a statement and I did as asked,” he said.

The accused persons are arraigned on five counts of conspiracy to defraud, larceny, making false statement, forgery and altering, contrary to the laws of Sierra Leone.

The matter was adjourned to 13th June for further proceeding.

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