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FEATURES  

Witness Names Oya Sankoh as part of the Corruption
By Our Court Correspondents
Jun 2, 2010, 17:14
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The third protected witness and fourth prosecution witness (PW-4) in the matter of the State versus Haja Afsatu Kabba commenced his testimony yesterday June 1st 2010 by stating that he was not sure which year the Minister allegedly gave him instructions to withdraw money from the Special Bank Account that is now the subject of the corruption trial.

"I am employed by the Government of Sierra Leone for over 25 years now as a civil servant. I worked with Haja Afsatu Kabba at the Ministry of Fisheries & Marine Resources as a senior official. Sometime year before last, 2008 or maybe I think Year 2009, the minister summoned two senior officials including myself..." the protected witness stated only to be strongly interrupted at this point by Presiding Judge, Honourable Justice Samuel Ademus.

"2008 or 2009? Which is which?" the Judge asked.

The witness then stated to the Judge. that "I think it was in 2009".

Hon. Rosaline Oya Sankoh has been named as a party to the alleged corruption for which Haja Afsatu Kabba is facing multiple charges

Lawyer Yada Williams who led the Defence Team yesterday in the absence of Blyden Jenkins-Johnston then objected to the Judge that the witness should cite precisely the name of the Minister who called up the supposed meeting and also precisely the names of the two senior officials if even only by their assigned protected pseudonyms which was then granted and the witness then named everyone who was inside the alleged meeting summoned by Haja Afsatu Kabba.

The objection was upheld and the Judge ordered the ACC to assign pseudonyms for all names to be mentioned rather than referring to them vaguely as senior officials.

Later during cross-examination, the witness was asked by Lawyer Yada Williams if he was sure the list of names he had given was exhaustive to which PW-4 asserted yes. Once again, Yada Williams asked him a second and third time if he was sure that the list of names he gave did not include any other name to which he answered a second and third time in the affirmative with full confidence.

At this point, Lawyer Yada Williams directed the attention of the Court to the Statement by the witness at the Anti Corruption Commission in March this year where he had said and Yada Williams quoted: "This withdrawal was caused by both the Minister and her deputy in the persons of Haja Afsatu Kabba and Rosaline Oya Sankoh" and proceeded to also quote from his statement as saying that "both of them summoned" the list of names earlier stated to the Court whom were then told that the money was needed "to take it to State House".

At this point, Lawyer Yada Williams enquired of the witness PW-4 what was the relationship between Haja Afsatu Kabba and Oya Sankoh to which the witness responded, "It was not a smooth working relationship".

Lawyer Yada Williams then asked the witness "Would I be correct to say it was acrimonious?" to which the witness responded "To some extent"

Lawyer Yada Williams then asked him to elaborate further to which the witness responded that the two women used to have "heated debates which did not augur well for the Ministrys functions".

Lawyer Yada Williams then asked the witness if that meant, "in other words, Haja Afsatu Kabba and Rosaline Oya Sankoh never saw eye to eye" to which the witness responded, "yes, definitely. That is correct". The witness also stated that he did not also get along with Rosaline Oya Sankoh because he identified himself as "the Head of Administration" but that Oya Sankoh "was interfering in my administrative work at the Ministry".

At this point, Lawyer Yada Williams asked for an adjournment date saying he had "a long, long, long way to go with this witness My Lord. I intend to take this witness all over the place."

Earlier during his testimony, the witness stated that in his capacity as Administrative Head, he had issued an appointment Letter to Abdul Wahid Kabba, the son of the then Minister Haja Afsatu Kabba. He first told the Court that Abdul Wahid Kabba was "initially appointed as Temporary Marine Protection Officer" but then later the ACCs witness said in answer to the ACCs Prosecutor Calvin Mantsebo that the said appointment letter was "never dispatched to Abdul Wahid Kabba" so the Ministers son, in the words of the ACCs prosecuting witness, "never served in the capacity as Temporary Protection Officer" but according to the ACCs own witness, Abdul Wahid Kabba was given a letter to be "an unpaid Volunteer" who never received a single cent from Government for his volunteer services to the Ministry.

The has been now adjourned to tomorrow Thursday June 3, 2010 at mid-day.


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