Good afternoon distinguished members of the press. Let me thank you for coming to this press conference. I must first of all thank God that this trial is over. During this trial we were persecuted together with my family. We experienced pressures driven against us. But I thank God I was not deserted. The Almighty Allah, my family and friends stood by me throughout this bitter experience.
I must express from the bottom of my heart that I hold no animosity against any of my political colleagues, neither the court nor the Anti-Corruption Commission. At this juncture, let me reiterate my support and loyalty to His Excellency the President Dr. Ernest Bai Koroma to whom I remain unequivocally loyal.
|Haja Afsatu Olayinka Ebishola Kabba
I have called you here today, to make a few points after my trial and conviction last Tuesday; to be assured that I will not keep you for long.
For the past six months, I have been going through a trial as a result of an indictment by the Anti Corruption Commission. During this trial, I witnessed the solidarity and support from many of you, i.e. my colleagues, friends, fellow compatriots, partisans of the APC, members of my family, relatives at home and abroad, and many other private citizens who showed concern in my case,On Tuesday 12th October, 2010 there was a verdict which I am sure you all know by now. The thrust of this verdict is that I as the Minister of Fisheries and Marine Resources at the material time should take responsibility for the mismanagement of funds at the Ministry. The fact remains however, that during my tenure as Minister, I introduced mechanisms which not only foster accountability and transparency but also saw considerable increase in revenue generation by the Ministry.
I must also at this time doff my hat to my legal team who tirelessly used their knowledge and enormous experience in litigation. As far as I am concerned their work was a manifestation of professionalism and resilience in the defence of the innocent.
As you all know. I am a woman standing firmly in the Muslim faith. I believe in God and I implore you all to do the same if you have not already done so.
Whilst I remain surprised by the ruling of the court, I want to let you all know that I have always been a law abiding citizen and will continue to be so. My patriotism to my country and loyalty to my party (APC) will also remain unshakable.
The court has decided and I will make no further comments on that because it’s a legal matter and my lawyers are exploring grounds for an appeal.
Again, I’ll say I was and am still impressed with the kind of public support that I have received and continue to receive both locally and from overseas. Therefore, I have not been too surprised by the interests that have already been expressed by my sympathizers to help mobilize funds for the payment of the court fines and restitution. I have always believed that God will provide.
Once again, I want to thank you very much for coming and would kindly ask you to reserve all questions for another occasion. You know very well that I don’t shy away from the media. I have decided on this because the court has ruled but the job of my lawyers has not ended. So I don’t want us to prejudice anything here. As we continue in this together. I pray for the glory of Allah to continue to be visible in our lives.
Thanks a lot, God bless you!
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Newspaper in Freetown, Sierra Leone.