By Hassan G. Koroma
Fourth prosecution witness and complainant in the alleged US$700,000 fraud case involving Mohamed M’bakui and Mohamed Mansaray yesterday narrated how the accused duped him of the said amount. Mohamed Malik Sherik was testifying at the Freetown High Court No.2 presided over by Justice M.A. Paul.
He said M’bakui took him to a house in Kenema and told it was ‘a rebel town’, hence he should be kept indoors for his safety and security.
He said the accused later requested the sum of US$194,000 from his boss in Indian, purportedly to secure a mining license, and that the money was remitted into the accounts of River Mining via Ecobank. He said the latter informed him he had collected the said money.
He said that two days later, the accused again requested another sum of US$50,000 from his boss, ostensibly for ‘proper licenses to start operation’ and that his boss had to call their Hong Kong office and pleaded with them to wire the money into the same account at Ecobank. The wire transfer document was tendered in court.
He said that three days later, the accused told his boss they should perform spiritual rites at the proposed mining site and that while they were observing the rite, a certain miner approached them and said he had found a big diamond and handed it over to him, although they were both not sure the object was real gem.
He said the accused, on the same day, upon their return to the house he lodged them, brought blank papers and told them to sign on it as they would be kept at the mines for 10 days, assuring them that diamonds would be subsequently found at the site.
He said that on a certain evening about 500 people walked into the compound and started quarreling with the accused, and that because they do not speak Krio, they could not understand the words but were scared when a stone hit the window from where they were listening and looking.
He said that the accused later told them the men were miners agitating for their pay. He said his boss told the accused he wanted to return to India for medical checkup and was allowed to leave, while he was not allowed to go.
The two accused persons are being tried in respect of 20 counts of conspiracy to defraud, attempted murder, false imprisonment, and causing money to be paid, amounting to US$700,000, contrary to the laws of Sierra Leone.
The witness is expected to continue his testimony at the next adjournment.