In M’baqui fraud case:


Witness says ‘complainant asked me to save his life’

June 22, 2015 By Hassan Gbassay Koroma

Fifth prosecutor witness in the ongoing fraud matter involving Mohamed M’baqui and Mohamed Mansaray at the Freetown High Court on Friday 19th June narrated to the court how the complaint, Indian national Malik Sariq, had called on him to save his life, saying “if I did not save his life and allow him to die, it will be a problem for me as a security personnel and the government of Sierra Leone”.

Testifying before Justice Alusine Sesay, witness Lahai Jusu Kanneh said he knew the first accused Mohamed M’baqui and that he was deployed at the accused person’s house at Maligie Street in Kenema as a security guard and he spent about five to six months guarding the premises of the accused.

The witness recalled on 25th November 2012 when he took up the job of securing the accused person’s house after his boss, whom he did not name, had taken him to the house and introduced him to the first accused. “I was given a number of rules by the first accused and one of them was that I should first call to inform him whenever anybody comes to the house to see him; it is only after [giving clearance] that I should allow the person to enter the compound,” he explained.

“The second rule was that I should not talk with anybody in the compound; and the third was I should not enter his parlour or his living room. All of these rules I had obeyed.”

The witness further told the court that after working for months in the accused person’s house, one night electricity went off. He said he noticed someone opening one of the windows in the house and heard a voice calling “security” and begging him to turn on the generator as the house was too dark and hot.

“I became afraid on hearing the voice because my boss had warned me not to talk to anybody in the house,” he said. “I went to put on the generator and as I was returning to my post I met three people at the door: the two introduced themselves as Immigration Officers and the one as a Criminal Investigation Officer. They displayed to me their identity cards and asked who was the person I was talking to from the window. I replied that I don’t know the person, and they asked for the first accused, but I told them he was not around. They asked for his phone number but I told them I do not have it. I allowed them to talk with the complainant who then gave them the first accused person’s phone number.”

Witness Kanneh further told the court that the three men asked the complainant who he was and the latter replied that he was a businessman. He was asked to produce his documents, for which he informed the officers that they were with the first accused. He said the Immigration Officers made a call and later informed him that they had spoken to his boss and that they will be back the next day.

“The following day when I reported for duty I was informed by my colleague security officers employed for night duties that our boss had returned home. And not too long, the 1st accused came out and instructed me to tell anybody coming to the house to look for him that he was not around,” he explained.

“After some time, the accused alongside the complaint and a Nigerian returned to the house. Eventually, I heard them arguing bitterly among themselves inside the house. After the argument subsided, the first accused and the Nigerian left for town. The complaint then cried out to me that if I don’t help him he was going to die, and that if I let him die, it is going to be a problem for me and for the government of Sierra Leone. I became afraid staying in the compound and as I sat down wondering what to do, I saw one of my friends passing by, whom I narrated the whole situation to. I then asked for his advice.”

According to the witness, his friend told him that he was going to see his boss and explain to him the development. After about three hours, he said, his friend returned with a piece of paper which he handed over to him and asked that he pass it on to the complaint for him to call the mobile number on it.

At this juncture, Justice Sesay adjourned the matter for the witness to continue his testimony.

The accused persons, Mohamed M’baqui and Mohamed Mansaray, were arraigned in 2013 on 86 count charges ranging from conspiracy to defraud, false imprisonment to attempted murder.

The prosecutor alleged that between 2012 and 2013 the accused persons employed false pretence to dupe Indian investor Malik Sariq of the sum of US$700,000.