From Awareness Times Newspaper in Freetown

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Sierra Leone's President's Regime is following in Siaka Stevens' Footsteps
Jan 26, 2010, 13:31

It was classic during the days of late President Siaka Stevens of Sierra Leone. A critic who was proving to be too much of a thorn in the flesh, would get set-up with one crime or the other and taken to the Pademba Road Prisons with the fullest support of the corrupt Judiciary. Well, the current President Ernest Bai Koroma had promised that he would be taking the country back to the days when his mentor, Siaka Stevens used to rule and this is what is now happening. Critics and Non-conformists are being set up on a daily basis. The case of the Publisher's bodyguard is just one of numerous such examples that abound today in Sierra Leone. The only difference is that this one has gone awry at the hands of the Koroma Regime.
Above is Front page of Oct 7, 2009 edition of Torchlight newspaper published by President Koroma’s ‘Spokesman’, Mr. Shekito Tarawalie. It was clearly INCITING Public disaffection against Sylvia Blyden over an issue that was topical and brewing tremendous hatred, malice and bitterness against anyone said to be behind or associated with the vicious armed robberies that had rocked Sierra Leone. The allegation that was screaming on above front page about Nigerians confessing to using Sylvia’s Jeep was all a BIG FAT LIE. No such confession ever existed then or now but the Stupid Police Officers mortgaged their integrity to charge the matter to court simply because they felt President Koroma wanted it done!

Above is Front page of Oct 9, 2009 edition of Torchlight newspaper published by President Koroma’s ‘Spokesman’, Mr. Shekito Tarawalie. It had now proceeded to inform the Public that Sylvia Blyden was now a suspect who would be called in by the Police for the matter of the series of Armed Robberies that were taking place in the country. The President's Spokesman's publications were gradually building up a case in the public domain against the name SYLVIA BLYDEN! The newspaper was to also carry an article alleging that a rival newspaper publisher had escaped from the country because of the armed robbers found in Publisher Sylvia Blyden's Jeep. It was all a concerted attempt to sully the Publisher and set the stage for agents of the Ernest Koroma regime to move in on detaining the Publisher. However, no-one was buying into the attempt to sully the good name of Sylvia Blyden as an Armed Robber accomplice. So, they could not "call in" Sylvia Blyden but used her Bodyguard as a surrogate to suffer in her stead. And he has been suffering unjustly now for the last four months of October, November, December, January with February almost upon us. WHAT A SHAME TO THE KOROMA JUSTICE SYSTEM.

Above is Front page of Oct 12, 2009 edition of Torchlight newspaper published by President Koroma’s ‘Spokesman’, Mr. Shekito Tarawalie. It was describing the Nigerians and Sierra Leoneans charged as “Sylvia’s Suspects” even though there was nothing to justify such a description. Inciteful, Malicious & Wicked! What kind of Regime is in place in Sierra Leone today? This is the question that everyone is asking of each other.

Above is Front page & Contents of Oct 14, 2009 edition of Torchlight newspaper published by President Koroma’s ‘Spokesman’. It gleefully announces Sylvia Blyden’s Bodyguard (photographed as he was being led away by Wardens) has been taken to Prison and then the Publication of the President's Spokesman WARNED the Judiciary against granting bail to Armed Robbery SUSPECTS, which warning instructions, Magistrate Stephen Conteh adhered to without stating any reason for denying bail contrary to the recently launched Bail Policy. This is precisely how Siaka Stevens destroyed the Judiciary; created Bad Blood in the country and laid the foundation for the Civil War that erupted!

Publisher’s Bodyguard & Koroma Justice System

A Commentary on Events (first Published on January 22nd 2010):
Sierra Leone’s topsy-turvy justice system under former APC Leaders contributed in no small measure to the outbreak of the civil rebellion that rocked the very existence of this country with the viciousness it embodied. It was one of the reasons why the APC Leader Ernest Bai Koroma apologised profusely to this Nation; Such injustices, his 2007 Elections Manifesto promised would not be repeated under his own APC regime. Alas! It now appears that the Manifesto was saying one thing whilst the President’s regime is now portraying a different look altogether. This is why many citizens are now decrying the growing injustice in the halls of the country’s justice system as manipulated by the Executive Arm of President Koroma’s regime.

Aside from the injustice the common man experiences on a daily basis, the Judiciary is being manipulated by operators in the Ernest Koroma regime to help settle scores and provide intimidation for those perceived to be critics of this regime. One such case involves a young citizen by the name of Kalilu Jalloh.

Mr. Kalilu Jalloh, one of the professional private bodyguards providing 24 hours round-the-clock close protection security for the Publisher of the Awareness Times newspaper, Dr. Sylvia Olayinka Blyden has yesterday January 21st 2010 been once again sent off to the maximum security prisons on remand in a matter that is fast proving to be a trumped up charge as it is yet to have a single witness testifying to the allegations of conspiracy to commit armed robbery.

Applications for Jalloh to be granted bail have been repeatedly turned down by the Judiciary through Court No. 1 presided over by Magistrate Stephen Conteh. Although the much publicised and heavily lauded new Bail Policy launched with International Donor Funds, clearly states that when bail applications are turned down, cogent reasons for the refusal of such bail must be provided in Open Court, this is yet to occur so no-one knows exactly why the Bail Applications have been turned down for a matter that does not fall within the non-bailable offences of treason and murder.

It is also important to note that ever since the State commenced proceedings against Blyden’s bodyguard in October at the instigation of the President’s Press Secretary’s publications, not a single witness has appeared to testify against Kalilu Jalloh. It is well known that whilst Blyden does not hesitate to heap praises on the President or his Government when such is due, Blyden is a fearless advocate of the common man whose critical pen has exposed many shenanigans of the President’s team to their displeasure. As a result, she has been subjected to many intimidating tactics of which this one involving her bodyguard is just the latest.

Mr. Kalilu Jalloh was arrested at around 9pm on October 3rd 2009 along Lumley Beach Road on his way to Nigerian Independence Day celebrations. He and the Nigerians in the vehicle with him were described as Armed Robbers based on an alleged "anonymous tipoff" to the Sierra Leone Police. No weapon was found in the vehicle neither did thorough searches at their individual residences yield any arms or ammunitions. Upon being arrested, despite no arms or any sign of weaponry in the vehicle, Kalilu Jalloh was mercilessly beaten up by police officers and presented to an angry mob of youths as "one of the armed robbers terrorising Freetown". However, his lawyers insist it will all be eventually proven to be a big fat lie as Jalloh and the Nigerians had merely been on a celebratory junket to enjoy at the Lumley Beach Independence Day celebrations of Republic of Nigeria.

Whilst he was being tortured, Kalilu Jalloh reports that he was described by a certain police officer as "one of those stupid people securing Sylvia Blyden". The case, which has no witness testifying so far, has been adjourned about ten times now with the State Prosecution not even appearing on some slated dates. Yesterday, the matter saw the Director of Public Prosecution (DPP) Oladipo Robbin-Mason appearing, only for him to once again, not present a single witness. The DPP yesterday said he had been instructed (ostensibly by the Attorney-General) to ask for another adjournment in the matter. The adjournment was quickly granted by Magistrate Stephen Conteh, Bail was once again refused and Kalilu Jalloh was taken back to jail with the understanding that the Prisons Officers will bring him to court at the next adjourned date of Friday January 29th 2010. Once again, it should be noted that since his arrest on October 3rd 2009 to date, not a single witness has come forward to testify against him. The only evidence so far from October 3rd 2009 to date is an "anonymous tipoff" that the vehicle in which they were arrested contained armed robbers! Unbelievable but quite true!

Yesterday, Kalilu Jalloh’s aged mother who had travelled from the provinces to be with her son burst into tears when her son was once again being led away back to jail. His sisters and other relatives told journalists that they simply cannot understand how something like this could be happening in a country that is supposed to be a democracy and one in which international donors are pouring so much millions of dollars into strengthening the Justice system and making the Judiciary more independent.

"We just have to be patient and trust the Judiciary will finally do the right thing. It will all be over one day and the international and local Public will then make their due opinions on the kind of leadership the country currently has in place," Dr. Sylvia Blyden consoled the relatives yesterday as their son and brother was being sent back to Pademba Road Prisons. It is important to note that the fearless Sierra Leonean newspaper publisher is the recipient of regular death threats on her life but she has never wavered in her duty of informing the public especially in matters concerning human rights abuse of Sierra Leone citizens.

Another bizarre angle to this matter at the Judiciary is that the same Judiciary is concurrently sitting on the matter of various armed robberies for which two different sets of people, are being tried in two different courts FOR THE EXACT SAME OFFENCES!! Both of the two sets of persons reportedly do not know each other but they had their identically worded matters sent to the Judiciary by the State. One is being tried at Magistrate Court No. 1 presided over by Magistrate Stephen Conteh and the other one at an adjacent Magistrate Court presided over by Magistrate H.H.I. Davies-Cole in the same Law Courts building!

Efforts to get clarity on this anomaly from the Police and the Law Officers’ have yielded nought. Instead, one senior Government Lawyer yesterday told Awareness Times, on condition of anonymity, that "we are in a serious dilemma over how to proceed with this issue of Sylvia Blyden’s bodyguard as we do not have a single witness in that matter; nay, not a single witness at all".

What has left many citizens equally disenchanted were the screaming headlines published by President Koroma’s Press Secretary as he whipped up public disaffection against the Bodyguard. One of the headlines had stated "ARMED ROBBERS CONFESS: WE USE SYLVIA’S JEEP TO ROB". Another one had stated: SYLVIA BLYDEN’S BODYGUARD IS AN ARMED ROBBER whilst still yet another had alleged that RIVAL FLEES TO USA TO ESCAPE FROM SYLVIA BLYDEN’S ARMED ROBBERS. Citizens are saying if the State has no witness, they should bring in the President’s Press Secretary to testify as to what he knows about his published confessions of armed robbers and jeeps used to rob.

The fact does remain that despite ceaseless adjournments and the young bodyguard being behind bars denied bail, there is yet to be shown a semblance of a prima facie case against the young Kalilu Jalloh over the last four months he has been incarcerated.

"This kind of systemic injustices under Ernest Bai Koroma’s Presidency is starting to make Sierra Leone resemble a Banana Republic! Even under Siaka Stevens, this kind of mockery and bizarre developments were unheard of," a senior veteran journalist said yesterday in total disgust.

Many citizens believe the blame for much of the rubbish going on in the corridors of the justice system should be put on the head of the country’s Attorney-General and Minister of Justice, Hon. A.F. Serry-Kamal. However, it will appear Serry-Kamal reflects what the country’s leadership wants him to be. This is because very competent sources at the Presidency inform this newspaper that just within the last fortnight, there was a Performance Review of the Justice Ministry presided over by Mr. President and his Strategic Policy Unit (SPU), following which, Mr. Serry-Kamal was overheard telling people that he scored "very high marks" in carrying out his justice sector assignments to what he believes to be the pleasure of the President.

Whether the British international donors whose citizen taxpayers hard-earned cash are being spent to develop this country’s justice sector and whether the United Nations’ Peace Building Fund actors; both of whose AUDITED REPORTS are quite interesting in nature, share the same sentiments as Hon. Serry-Kamal, is what is the burning issue that is now up in the air for grabs by any interested party to further explore.

Meanwhile, the Publisher’s bodyguard continues to be in jail with still no prosecution witness and no evidence proffered but no discharge and no bail whilst the saga continues but we will keep you all informed of this ongoing blight on President Koroma’s regime’s credentials; which blight remains to be in sharp contrast to his stated 2007 Elections Manifesto. Alas! It was all big Manifesto lies!!!!!!

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