Famous Legal Luminary Nasiru D. Tejan-Cole Esq. who is also the father of the erstwhile Commissioner of the Anti Corruption Commission, Abdul Tejan-Cole, has spent a number of days now taking his time to systematically cross-examine President Koroma’s brother, Thomas Koroma who is the Tenth Prosecution Witness testifying against suspended NRA Commissioner-General Allieu Sesay in an ongoing corruption matter brought in front of the Courts by the Anti Corruption Commission (ACC). The cross-examination has seen an unprecedented entry into the matter by Joseph Kamara, the current ACC Boss who presented himself to the Courts as now joining the matter in order to give extra legal muscles against Tejan-Cole.
On Tuesday January 11th 2011, Mr. Thomas Koroma appeared in Court with an exposition of arrogance and an anticipation of quick crucifixion for Allieu Sesay but he has now found himself battered and squeezed in his cross examination to the extent that on the second day of his cross-examination (Wednesday 12th January 2011) the President’s brother had to ask the judge for permission to leave the Witness Box on the excuse that he was tired of standing in the box.
It was an epitome of paradox for a man who is barely 50yrs old and happens to be a Field Engineer to complain of standing while he was being cross examined by a man who is over 80yrs of age who was also on his legs. Well, this indicates the level of grilling that was taking place in the court room. Notwithstanding, Mr. Koroma was able to escape further grilling through the generosity demonstrated by the learned judge, Justice Ademusu who decided to adjourn the case.
Brother of the President shown walking out of Court on the first day he appeared. On that day, although he had been deflated with the 'Shut-Up' he still possessed an air of confidence little knowing the grilling that awaited him; which commenced on the very next day and caused him to say he was "tired" of standing in the witness box.
Wednesday, Thursday and again today, Friday January 14th 2011, Thomas Koroma has been subjected to some of the most cleverly drafted questions by Tejan-Cole which have left spectators in total awe of the legal prowess of a man who is currently in excess of 80 years. Thomas Koroma's cross-examination has again been extended to next week Monday January 17th 2011 as the legal luminary has more questions for him.
Things got to be so ‘interesting’ for the ACC prosecutors that in an unprecedented move, the current ACC Boss, Joseph Fitzgerald Kamara, took upon himself to appear in court on Wednesday in order to provide extra ‘muscle power’ against Tejan-Cole. He arrived in court full of confidence and self-introduced himself to the Court. Poor Joseph Kamara had to leave the courtroom totally subdued after Pa Tejan-Cole took time to very civilly educate him on when and how he could address the court.
Meanwhile, here are a few highlights of what has transpired so far since the President’s brother commenced testifying on Tuesday 11th January 2011.
The President’s brother has informed the court that he went over the head of the NRA Boss to directly query an NRA Contractor when he did not have the mandate to do so and he was openly chastised by Allieu Sesay for this.
The President’s brother has confirmed to the court that the so-called contract he claims gave him the mandate to be an Adviser to the NRA was signed between himself and a subordinate of Allieu Sesay without the knowledge of the Commissioner General or the Board of the NRA.
The President’s brother has confirmed that he signed a contract with one Mr. Alfred Demby who had claimed to the President’s brother that he was representing the National Revenue Authority (NRA) but without expressed permission or knowledge of the substantive NRA Boss at the time, Allieu Sesay. It was alleged that the contract was for Thomas Koroma’s company, TS & Co, to provide consultancy services to the NRA through funds provided by DfID.
Mr. Koroma told the Court he did not consult a lawyer when signing the contract. It was then pointed out to him by N.D. Tejan-Cole Esq. that Mr. Demby never had the legal authority to sign any contract on behalf of NRA for Koroma to advise on DFID funds without knowledge of the Board or the C-G. It is only the Commissioner General and the Chairman of the Board who have such authority vested in them by the NRA Act of 2002.
Furthermore, it was revealed by Mr. Thomas Koroma that the contract signed by him and Mr. Demby was prepared by Mr. Gaiva Lavally’s Company, Salmarcon Ltd. Mr. Lavally happens to be the procurement consultant of Crown Agents of Great Britain and that the said contract was not prepared by the NRA nor was it vetted by NRA’s legal department. This, Lawyer Tejan-Cole pointed out to the President’s brother renders his so-called contract document with the NRA to be a fake.
Mr. Koroma further stated that one Mr. Henry Vagg, the British DFID’s Engineer and Mr. Lavally were present as witnesses when he (Mr. Thomas Koroma) and Mr. Demby signed the contract without the knowledge of Allieu Sesay. This, Tejan-Cole imputed to the court, tends to suggest a conspiracy involving Thomas Koroma, the President’s brother, DfID’s Engineer, Mr. Vagg; Crown Agents Representative, Mr. Lavally and Mr. Alfred Demby, a staff of NRA.
However, even though Mr. Thomas Koroma alleged that Mr. Vagg and Mr. Lavally were present during the signing, the document as tendered to the courts did not contain any portion where Mr. Vagg or Mr. Lavally signed as witnesses. Tejan-Cole then informed that in every standard contract agreement there should be a portion for at least a witness to sign.
Lawyer Tejan Cole Esq, the leader of the defence team, also pointed out that any NRA contract document must either be signed by the Commissioner General or the Chairman of the Board and that the said document must have the NRA seal, consistent with the NRA Act of 2002. Unfortunately the Thomas Koroma and Demby contract to "advise" on DfID funds failed these tests.
Mr. Thomas Koroma is the 10th prosecution witness and to date the ACC prosecution team has been grappling. In the twist of event, the ACC knew that it needed more muscles and brains to remedy their predicament was why, probably to protect Mr. Thomas Koroma from further grilling in the hands of Lawyer Tejan Cole Esq, the Commissioner of ACC boss, Commissioner Joseph Fitzgerald Kamara who signed the 57 Count Indictment, decided to join the prosecution team in an unprecedented move.
Since the inception of the ACC, none of its Commissioners; Val Collier, Professor Joko Smart and Tejan Cole Jnr., had ever made representation in High Court on ACC cases. This move by the current Commissioner is unprecedented. This puts to question why the Commissioner is more than willing to act thus for this particular case and furthermore, why he had not put in an appearance during the earlier nine Prosecution Witnesses but only at this precise point in time when the President’s younger brother was being grilled by one of the best legal minds in Sierra Leone, Nasiru Deen Tejan-Cole Esq.
The matter has been adjourned to next week Monday January 17th 2011 when the cross-examination of the President’s brother will continue by Allieu Sesay’s Defence Team led by N.D. Tejan-Cole Esq.
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Newspaper in Freetown, Sierra Leone.