Theft of mosquito bed nets lands 3 health workers in jail


By Ibrahim Jaffa Condeh

Three health workers in Tane chiefdom, Tonkolili district – Veronica Sandy, a Maternal and Child Health (MCH) Aide, Abu Tholley, Health Management Committee chairperson, and Ibrahim Turay, a community member – on 29 May this year made their second appearance at the Magistrate Court in Magburaka presided over by Magistrate Ernest Gooding for allegedly stealing 25 bales of newly distributed mosquito bed nets which were due to be distributed  to under fives during the ongoing ‘Mami en Pikin Welbodi Week’ slated for 5-11 June this year.

According to the particulars of offence, the three accused persons, led by Veronica Sandy on 17th May, 2014 at Makona village, stole 25 bales of treated mosquito bed nets valued seventeen million, eight hundred and eighty thousand Leones (Le17,880,000), being property of the Government of  Sierra Leone.

The accused, who all pleaded guilty to the offence of larceny contrary to section 2 of the Larceny Act of 1916, were represented by three defence counsels – H.K. Koroma Esq., A.R. Abass Kamara Esq., and A. Jalloh Esq.

Abass Kamara Esq. pleaded with the court that because the accused persons have pleaded guilty, justice should be tampered with mercy as a custodian sentence would not be in the interest of both the State and the accused.

In his response, Magistrate Ernest Gooding noted that if there are no buyers the larceny would not have succeeded. He commended the three accused persons for their plea but noted that the offence was grave, as the trio had stolen from the people of Sierra Leone and deprived them of an opportunity of life, which he said was unforgiveable.

He thus sentenced the accused to three (3) years imprisonment each and ordered the restitution of the retrieved 23 bales to the Government of Sierra Leone.

Meanwhile, Pa Kaprr Conteh, headman of the village and suspect in the matter, is currently on the run.