M’baqui and Co. denied bail again


June 24, 2015 By Hassan Gbassay Koroma

Justice Alusine Sesay of the Freetown High Court yesterday denied a bail application by lawyer M. Dumbuya on behalf of Mohamed M’baqui and co-accused Mohamed Mansaray, who are charged with an alleged US$700,000 fraud.

Dumbuya made the application after the conclusion of the testimony of 5th prosecution witness, Lahai Jusu Kanneh. The court had adjourned on the last sitting to allow the witness to complete his testimony.

As he notified the court that the accused persons have spent a long time behind bars, the defence counsel pleaded with the court for the accused to be admitted to bail as it would be important for their defence, adding that the offences under which they were charged are bailable.

He also informed the court that the duo has reliable sureties to bail them and that they would not interfere with prosecution witnesses.

State Prosecutor Monfred Sesay objected to the bail application and urged the judge to look at the seriousness of the matter for which the accused persons are being tried in the court.

In his ruling, Justice Sesay said the accused persons had been granted bail by the first judge, Justice M.A. Paul, but did not meet their bail conditions. He thus encouraged the defence counsel to renew his application during the next hearing and ordered that the accused be remanded at the male correctional centre.

Earlier, prosecutor witness Lahai Jusu Kanneh narrated what transpired at the residence of M’baqui in Kenema, eastern Sierra Leone, where an Indian business partner of the accused was kept in false imprisonment for months.

He said he had overheard the accused (M’baqui) saying to a friend that he intended to “flush out” the Indian, adding that he genuinely feared for the life of the latter, who had begged him to save his life.

He said that the accused, his Nigerian friend and the Indian had boarded a vehicle on a certain day and drove off, only to return in the evening. He said the Indian laid in the back seat of the car motionless and that the accused had to carry him like a baby into the house.

“In the morning when I returned for work the complainant called me and said he had asked me to help him and gave me some information about what happened to him when they went out,” he said.

He continued that one Hassan Wakafast arrived in a car and asked for his boss (the accused). He said he told Wakafast to call the accused but the latter told him he did not have his phone number. He said the complaint called the accused and informed him his people in India had sent somebody to collect him.

He said the accused opened the main door to the house and that he heard the Indian telling the accused that if he did not release him one of them would die.

“The accused later called me and asked me to take the bags of the complainant out of his house, which I did,” he told the court. “Few days later I was called upon to make a statement to the police.”

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

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