Witness testifies in Le20m land fraud


February 23, 2015  By Hawa Amara

First prosecution witness, who is also the complainant, Johnny Paul Ommeh, last Tuesday testified at the Freetown High Court presided over by Judge Abdulai Charm in a matter involving one Abdulai Kallon, who is alleged to have defrauded the former Le20 million in a land transaction.

Ommeh, who deals in electronic spare parts, told the court that on January 15, 2013 he met the accused at Mango Farm area in the York Rural District while he was in the company of a land surveyor, Bob Caulker.

He said the accused questioned his purpose of being in the area, and he replied that he had gone to look for a land to buy, and that the latter told him he had land for sale. He said the accused showed him a piece of land which he valued at Le56 million.

The witness explained that the accused and his wife subsequently visited him at No.3 Sanders Street and showed him the land documents, which were showed to the surveyor, plus the accused person’s ID card, for verification.

The witness told the court that the surveyor gave him the all clear to do part payment as the documents were authentic. “I then advanced the accused the sum of Le20m in the chamber of my lawyer F.B. Kaifala at Pademba Road, where he issued me a receipt,” Ommeh told the court.

The witness continued that after two days he went to the land to begin construction when he was attacked, and that when he phoned the accused to inform him about the incident his phone was switched off.

He explained that he informed the surveyor about the incident, and the latter advised him to make a report to the police.

Ommeh stated that he made a report at the Adonkia police station, and that police officers went to the scene and took a photograph of the construction, before the accused was arrested four days later.

The accused was charged with the offence of forgery contrary to section 4(1) of the Forgery Act 1913, and obtaining money by false pretence contrary to section 32(2) of the Larceny Act 1916.

State counsel Alieu V. Koroma made an application for the accused to be tried by judge alone instead of jury by judge, citing section 144(2) of the Criminal Procedure Act 1965, as repealed and replaced by section 3 of the Criminal Amendment Act No.11 of 1981.

The application was granted by the judge, and the matter was adjourned to March 3.