November 2, 2016
The Legal Aid Board has secured the release of a commercial driver, Kelfala Mansaray , who was charged with the offence of offering an advantage to a public officer, contrary to the Anti-Corruption Act 2008.
The particulars of offence note that Kelfala was arrested on the 2 March, 2016 by a certain Police Officer, Gbassay Turay at Savage Square, Fourah Bay Road and taken to the Ross Road Police Station for allegedly driving a vehicle with defective breaks and faulty signal lights, and that he was also caught playing loud music.
The particulars further alleged that Kelfala offered the sum of forty thousand Leones (Le 40,000) to Gbassay to have him discontinue the investigation and forget about the matter.
The witness, Kabba Sesay, in his statement said he saw Kelfala attempting to offer the bribe to the police officer, who was busy preparing a Motor Traffic Report. Kabba said when he confronted Kelfala on the issue, he said it was meant to secure his release.
Kelfala was consequently arrested and handed over to the Criminal Investigations Department of the Ross Road Police Station for further investigations.
Kelfala, in his statement admitted being arrested by Gbessay Turay,who took him to the Ross Road Police Station without being told the offence he was alleged to have committed.
He said on their way to the station, Gbassay demanded the sum of fifty thousand Leones (Le 50,000) for his release.
He told the court that when he told the officer that he hadn’t any money on him; the latter retorted that he was going to charge him because he did not understand the system.
At that point, he told the officer that he had forty thousand Leones (Le40,000) ,which the latter collected.
According to Kelfala, upon seeing that money had changed hands, the Duty Traffic Officer demanded that officer Gbassay returned the money.
Kelfala said he was manhandled by the police and forced to take back the money. He said the Duty Traffic Officer then went on to take a snap shot of him, taking back the money from Officer.
According to Kelfala, he was then taken to the Criminal Investigations Department (CID), where he was detained for nine days and then released.
Kelfala said he was invited by the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) on 1 September, 2016 and was subsequently released.
He said was again invited on 6 October, 2016 when he was charged to court and subsequently sent to the Pademba Road Correctional Centre.
He made his first appearance in court on 20 October, 2016 and was refused Bai, while the matter was adjourned to the 26 October 2016.
The accused was represented by the Legal Aid Board, although he pleaded guilty to the offence charged.
The lawyer for the Legal Aid Board, Cheryl Sembie did a plea in mitigation on behalf of the accused, which the presiding judge, Justice Miata Samba granted and then cautioned and released the accused.