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NEWS : Local News  

Anti Corruption Witness Acted on Illegal Instructions
By Dr. Sylvia Olayinka Blyden
Jun 14, 2010, 14:54
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The trial of Haja Afsatu Kabba resumed last Friday June 12th after a short break caused by illness of the accused. Now looking physically fit and composed, the accused sat calmly in the dock as 4th prosecution witness of Anti Corruption Commission(ACC) who is also a protected witness, told the court that he acted upon illegal instructions. The following is a transcript of a section of his cross-examination:

Defence Lawyer Yada Williams (YW): I am going to read out to you a section of your Statement given to the Anti Corruption Commission on 26th March 2010. Here it is, "I was aware that these withdrawals were not legitimate but I had no choice as she was the political Head and fully-in-charge of the Ministry and I had not wanted to get any confrontation". Do you recall saying that to ACC?

Protected Witness (PW4): Yes my Lord.

YW: You started off your testimony by saying you are a civil servant with over 25 years experience. Is that correct?

PW4: Yes My Lord

YW: Who is the Head of the Civil Service?

PW4: Mr. George Pessima My Lord

YW: As a civil servant, you are answerable to him. If you have problems, you should bring it to his attention; Not so?

PW4: Yes My Lord

YW: Did you complain to the Head of the Civil Service that you were given an illegitimate order by the Minister?

At this point, there was a long silence from the Witness to which the Lawyer asked him if he wanted him to repeat the question. Finally, the witness responds after a long pause...

PW4: No My Lord.

YW: I am putting it to you that the reason why you did not complain to your Boss, Mr. George Pessima, the Head of Civil Service is because the Accused as Minister, never gave you any such illegitimate instructions to withdraw 310 million leones.

PW4: No My Lord.

YW: In the capacity you served in October 2009, you were not under any obligation to carry out unlawful instructions. Is that correct?

PW4: I do not question my ministers authority.

YW: Can you answer my question please. In the capacity you served in October 2009, you were not under any obligation to carry out any unlawful instructions? Is that correct?

PW4: Not to my knowledge my Lord.

JUSTICE ADEMUSU INTERJECTS: What is not to your knowledge? You have already stated that you carried out an illegitimate instruction. Now, answer the question.

PW4: Please can you repeat the question?

YW: In the capacity you served in October 2009, you were not under any obligation to carry out any unlawful instructions. Is that correct?

PW4: Yes my Lord.

YW: You will agree with me that 310 million leones is a very substantial amount of money in this country?

PW4: Yes my Lord.

YW: You will also agree with me that there was a laid down procedure as to how funds could be accessed within your Ministry?

PW4: Yes my Lord.

YW: And that one such laid down rule is that all instructions for withdrawal of funds should be documented?

PW4: Yes My Lord.

YW: Was this instruction from the Minister to you ever documented?

At this point, there was a long silence from the Witness to which the Lawyer asked him if he wanted him to repeat the question.

PW4: No my Lord. It was not documented.

END OF EXTRACT. CASE NOW ADJOURNED TO 16th JUNE 2010


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