From Awareness Times Newspaper in Freetown

Afsatu Kabba
Justice Ademusu replaces Justice Browne-Marke in Afsatu Kabba Trial in Sierra Leone
By Bampia Bundu
May 6, 2010, 17:06

The Honourable Chief Justice yesterday May 5th 2010, in her wisdom, decided to re-assign the matter of the State versus Haja Afsatu Kabba away from Hon. Justice Browne-Marke to Hon. Justice Samuel Ademusu.

This move saw the matter being restarted de-novo with Haja Afsatu Kabba taking a fresh plea once again on the seven counts. She pled Not Guilty to all of them.

The Anti Corruption Commission asked for the formal granting of the application for Trial-By-Judge-Alone made by the Attorney-General and this was granted as a matter of course by Justice Ademusu. This means Justice Ademusu alone will now listen to the witnesses, look at the evidence and come to a decision as to whether or not Haja Afsatu Kabba is guilty or innocent.

Yesterday, the Anti Corruption Commission prosecuting the matter, produced a 15th witness in addition to the earlier 14 witnesses but this 15th Witness, the Deputy Director of Banking at the Central Bank, Mr. A. Jalloh, did not have his identity kept secret as he commenced his evidence which basically laid the foundation about the existence of a Ministry of Fisheries & Marine Resources Bank Account at the Central Bank into which monies were regularly paid and withdrawn by cheque. He will continue his Evidence-in-Chief at the next adjourned date of 17th May 2010.

Lead Defence Counsel, Blyden Jenkins-Johnston applied to Hon. Justice Ademusu for the Court to order that members of the public be allowed into the Court during hearings unless during times when anonymous witnesses would be testifying. Jenkins-Johnston stated that the continued blockade of the public from witnessing the trial as happened yesterday when armed police officers drove people from the Courts, was a "very serious breach of the constitutional rights of Haja Afsatu Kabba to a free, fair and open trial". His application was turned down by Hon. Justice Ademusu who advised him to discuss the issue with the Security Forces and the Master of the High Court Elwyn Bailor.

© Copyright 2005, Freetown, Sierra Leone.