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Friday, July 1, 2022

Samura Kamara’s corruption trial… Director of Cabinet Affairs testifies in court

By Yusufu S. Bangura

The ongoing trial of Dr. Samura Kamara and four others versus the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) continued on Monday 16th May 2022, at the Freetown High Court No. 2, presided by Justice Adrian Fisher.

During the proceedings, Director of Cabinet Affair at the Cabinet Secretariat, Sonia Umu Karim who doubles as the third prosecution witness has testified in court against Dr Samura Matthew Wilson Kamara and four others.

The witness said she started working at the Cabinet Secretariat in 2014, noting that some of her duties as a cabinet Director includes, to support cabinet in making informed decision as part of the cabinet secretary, specifically supporting Ministries departments and Agencies’ credible and visible proposal, prepare the document and distribute to cabinet, schedule cabinet meeting, take minutes during cabinet meeting, convey decisions to the cabinet after the cabinet meetings.

The prosecutor drew the attention of the witness to exhibit AC 1-5 which was a copy of the cabinet memorandum which was submitted by the Ministry of forging Affairs and International Corporation dated 16th April 2016 and signed by the 4th accused (Dr Samura Kamara) who was the then Minister.

The witness was asked to identify the 4th accused in the dock which she did.

She was asked by prosecuting counsel for the original document which she said are soft copy documents and that they are distributed to the Ministers present during meetings and also kept at the Secretariat archives.

Defense counsel representing the 1st accused, Africanus Sesay objected to the tendering of the documents, noting that the documents were not the original and they looked new considering the time of they were signed.

Lawyer Lansana Dumbuya representing the 4th accused also objected to the tendering of the document on the grounds that a minister always use green ink pen to sign any officially document and some characters are not complete in the signature. Both counsels urged Justice Fisher not to accept the document which was dated 16th April 2016.

Justice Fisher stopped the ACC prosecutor, Kelvin Mantesbo, from objecting to the defense claim, stating that he would hold on the ruling of the objection because he wants to hear what the witness would say about the other documents.

He later asked the witness for the original document but she told him that she printed the documents from the cabinet Secretariat computer, promising that they would conduct a search for the soft copy.

However, Justice Fisher asked the witness to conduct a search for the original documents of the exhibit and must bring them in court on the next adjourned date which she agreed.

Justice Fisher said the documents should be in court before Thursday and he later adjourned the matter to Friday 20th May 2022.

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