November 23, 2021
By Ibrahim Kabba Turay
An alleged $500,000 fraudster, Randa Skeiky, completed her cross-examination on Friday 19 November 2021 by Justice Momoh Jah Stevens at the High Court. She was arraigned for allegedly stealing the above money from her former boss, Ali Abess.
During cross-examination, the accused said she relied on her written testimony submitted through her lawyer, Mohamed Pa-Momo Fofana, and added that she had worked with the complainant, Ali Abess, for five years as a manager for Kenema and Freetown Offices and also served as the supervisor at the Rawdon Street branch.
The witness was asked whether because she was acting as a supervisor or manager that was why the complainant believed her and entrusted her with his business, she answered in the affirmative.
The witness was asked whether she was at the shop when the complainant was leaving the country, she answered that she only met the complainant at his house when he was about to leave the country, and that she was always in full control of the business and the residence of the complainant whenever he is out of the country.
“The only business I have in the house was to sleep and nothing else,” said Skeiky.
She further told the court that she slept in the house together with the gateman.
“I normally give transport fare to the house cleaner and the cook,” she said, and added that the last time she slept in the house was the day the complainant came to town with his family.
The accused was asked as to why she didn’t return to the shop again, she replied that the complainant took the keys from her and asked her not to open the shop for him again.
When asked whether she received any salary in September 2018, she said “I never received any salary,” adding that she didn’t return to any of the business places after she was accused of stealing the money from her former boss.
The witness was asked whether the gate was opened when she came in the morning, she said the gate was opened, the gateman was not there, but the complainant was sitting in the parlour.
She was asked if PW1 or her wife stopped her from entering the house, she said the night she came the gate was closed.
She said when she came in the morning she met PW1 and they both hugged and shared pleasantries.
The accused was asked if she wanted the court to believe that someone she stole from would hug her, the witness said they hugged and laughed and that it was later the complainant asked her about his missing money.
The accused was further cross-examined that PW1 (Ali Abess) never accused her of stealing his one million Dollars; the witness said he did ask her.
When a question was posed to her that how good their relationship was before PW1 left for Lebanon, she said they were very fine, and that she was introduced to the third Prosecution Witness (PW3), Ibrahim Swaray before the Complainant traveled.
The witness further said it was at that time when PW1 wanted to travel, he told her that PW3 might need money and that if he needed anything she should call PW1 (her former boss) for instruction because they (PW1 and PW3) had a business arrangement.
The accused said it was also at that time the complainant handed over the shop and house keys to her and PW3 was not present at that time.
The witness was asked if she recalled PW3 asking her for $50, 000, she replied that she couldn’t recall, adding that the complainant had already informed her that they didn’t need the said amount again, and that they had discussed it with the people.
The witness was asked if the complainant’s bedroom was opened when he called her, she said the bedroom was opened, but she locked it up later.
Skeiky said the complainant gave her another instruction to open his bedroom, climb atop of a small table and take the keys to open his wardrobe.
She further stated that she never knew what she was going to do in the wardrobe until the complainant asked her to bend down and see some Pound Sterling and United States Dollars and remove the big bundles.
The accused told the court that she eventually saw the bundles which the complainant asked her to take pictures of but they were still talking on the phone and she couldn’t able to snap the bundles of cash.
She was asked whether it was based on the instruction of the complainant that she found the keys to the wardrobe and secret shelf, the accused replied in the affirmative.
The accused was asked when PW1 called her in the morning to open the wardrobe whether he did tell her what she was going to take from the secrete shelf, she replied in the negative.
“Did he ever tell you how much you are going to get from the secrete shelf,” questioned the lawyer, but the accused replied in the negative.
When questioned as to whether PW1 told her the exact amount that was in the shelf, she replied in the negative, adding that had it not been that PW1 had directed her into the secret shelf she would not have known that money was kept in that shelf.
The accused was further asked whether she didn’t take the photos when she removed the money, and if it was the two bundles that she only took photos of, she replied that she was on phone with PW1 and that she only took photos of the $140,000.
The accused was asked whether she was informed about the allegation, she said her husband told her that the complainant’s $500, 000 Dollar was missing.
She was further questioned as to how she got the information that Interpol was looking for her, she said she was in Lebanon when she received information that the complainant had made a statement about his missing money.
She said she received information that there was a search warrant at her residence in Kenema.
She was again questioned as to whether she reported to the Criminal Investigations Department (CID), after she returned from Lebanon, she replied that she did on 14th January, 2019, and made a statement.
She was asked why she didn’t tell her husband about the missing money, she said because she was hoping the complainant could look for it better.
She was also asked as to why she didn’t hand over what was left with her by Ali Abess, she said PW1 didn’t leave with her anything.
The accused was asked as to whether she recalled telling the court that PW1 left her with the shop keys, and why she didn’t hand them over to PW1, she said PW1 had already taken the keys from her.
When questioned about her travel to London whilst the allegation of missing money was on the floor; she told the court that she had discussed her traveling with the complainant. She explained that she traveled because she wanted to see her daughter who was pregnant in London.