September 2, 2015 By Hawa Amara
Magistrate Komba Kamanda of the Freetown Magistrates’ Court No.1 yesterday granted Le50m bail each to two Nigerians – Benjamin Chukwudi and Alama IkeChukwu – after they duo were arraigned for being found in possession of 100 pieces of woodland common flag sleeping tent, worth Le9,280,746 without lawful authority.
The accused were charged with two counts of conspiracy to defraud and willful evasion of import duty, contrary to section 77(1) of the Customs Act 2011.
Magistrate Kamanda set as condition for the bail two sureties in like sum, with one of the sureties being a property owner and resident in Freetown, adding that the bail should be approved by the acting Master and Registrar.
Police prosecutor Sergeant 922 John Dumbuya told the court that the accused, on diverse dates between 1 January, 2013 and 1 July, 2015 in Freetown, with intent to defraud, conspired with unknown individuals to evade payment of import duty to the aforementioned amount.
Testifying as a prosecution witness, Detective Police Constable (DPC) 1389 Sahr R. Allen of the Criminal Investigation Department headquarters, told the court that 7 July, 2015 the case file was handed over to him for investigation, including four bales of common flag sleeping tent as exhibit, brought from the Kenema police station, while the accused were detained.
He said a correspondence was sent to the National Revenue Authority (NRA) to ascertain whether the exhibit passed through their customs.
DPC Allen stated that the reply from NRA on 25 August was in the negative and that he and Detective Inspector Umaru Kamara interrogated the accused persons and charged them with the offences of conspiracy to defraud and unlawful evasion of import duty.
He first accused Benjamin Chukwudi admitted during interrogation that he was the owner of the exhibit and that he had sent the second accused, Alama IkeChukwu, to collect it from Tanu International Company in Freetown.
The matter was adjourned to 8 September for further hearing.