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Wednesday, June 29, 2022

Samura Kamara’s corruption trial: ACC witness tenders documents with missing pages

 By Ibrahim K. Turay 

Dr. Samura Kamara

In the jam-packed High Court No.1 presided by Justice Adrian Fisher in the corruption matter between  the state versus the 2018 presidential candidate of the main opposition All People’s Congress (APC), Dr. Samura Kamara and four others, defense lawyers on Friday picked up some anomalies in the barrage of exhibits tendered  by the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) witness, Joseph Bockarie Noah.

On Friday, Noah tendered documents including contract agreement, cabinet papers, correspondences, cheques and bank statements of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, but defense lawyers raised concern that some of the documents had missing pages.

Justice Fisher called on the prosecution to make available the said missing pages to the defense before the next sittings today, Monday 7th March.

Among the barrage of documents tendered by the witness, most of the cheques in relation to the disbursement of funds for the refurbishment of the Sierra Leone Chancery Building in New York were dated between August 2018 to June 2021, but the bank statements of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs ran from 13th October, 2017 to May 21st, 2021. 

Meanwhile, Justice Fisher cautioned lawyers from both sides to desist from publishing exhibits on the social media and called on them to be professional in the discharge of their duty.

“I am very disturbed by the conduct of some colleagues at the Bar in respect of an exhibit in the public on social media. It is disgraceful and I am really annoyed about that. You are doing a disservice to your clients. Let us respect each other and respect the court,” he said.

He noted that “I hold you a duty that this trial is a fair trial. Let us focus on the exhibits in the court.”

The former Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Dr. Samura Kamara and others are answering separately and co-jointly to 48 counts of corruption offenses that include failure to comply with applicable procedures and guidelines to do with procurement; management of funds; misappropriation of public funds; abuse of office; fraudulent acquisition of a benefit; knowingly deceiving a principal; and conspiracy to commit a corruption offense.

Dr. Samura Kamara is charged with two counts of deceiving a principal and misappropriation of public funds to the tune of USD2,560,000 disbursed by the Government of Sierra Leone through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs sometimes in 2016 for renovation of the New York Chancery Building in the United States of America.

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