Lead Defence Lawyer for Haja Afsatu Kabba, Blyden Jenkins-Johnston Esq., last Friday May 28th 2010 used superior legal skills to carefully unravel, with painstaking precision, to the Honourable Court of Hon. Justice Samuel Ademusu that the Anti-Corruption Commission(ACC)’s first protected witness (PW-2) was a liar who had not only lied under oath in front of Justice Ademusu but who had also lied several times during his interrogation by the ACC back in March this year. Jenkins-Johnston’s technique also unravelled to the Court that PW-2 during his entire interrogation by the ACC back in March had never mentioned, even once back then, the words ‘State House’.
Earlier, Blyden Jenkins-Johnston had lectured the prosecutors from the Anti Corruption Commission on contents of Sierra Leone Criminal Law Procedures. This was after Lead Prosecutor, the Zimbabwean Calvin Mantsebo objected to the tendering of PW-2’s Statement made in March this year during the investigation by the Glenna Thompson led Investigations & Prosecutions Department of ACC.
Jenkins-Johnston had requested for the Witness’ Statement after the witness categorically denied in Open Court as to whether he was ever questioned at the ACC about a Bank of Sierra Leone cheque, BSL466284, for the sum of Le26,532,648. The witness had told the Judge that he did not even have any knowledge of such a check or even such a amount.
It was at this point that Blyden Jenkins-Johnston requested for PW-2’s Statement at the ACC which request was vehemently objected to by Zimbabwean lawyer Mantsebo only for Jenkins-Johnston to turn the attention of the honourable learned Judge to Section 190(2) of the Sierra Leone’s Criminal Procedure Act under which the application was made that the Zimbabwean was objecting to.
|Ms. Glenna Thompson headed Investigation and Prosecution by ACC of Haja Afsatu Kabba.|
The learned Hon. Justice Samuel Ademusu, in his wisdom, granted the application and PW-2’s Statement was first tendered and then the Judge ordered PW-2 to read out his entire Statement to the entire Courtroom.
The full text of the Statement as read out by the Witness showed that the witness was a liar who had not only lied under oath in front of the honourable Judge but who had lied several times during the taking of his Statement at the ACC. The reading out of the Statement revealed that PW-2 back in March during his interrogation, had made absolutely no mention of State House nor had PW-2 told the ACC that he ever set eyes on Haja Afsatu at Parliament.
The celebrated legal luminary also carefully unravelled to the Court that during the entire time of PW-2’s interrogation back in March, he had never stated that he drove behind Haja Afsatu Kabba from Parliament to State House.
The Statement also showed that PW-2 was himself initially a criminal suspect in this investigation as he revealed that he was questioned under caution and later placed under arrest and locked up at the Adelaide Street Police Station cells by the ACC for a period of four days spanning March 19th, March 20th, March 21st and March 22nd for alleged misappropriation of State funds.
He was asked by Defence Lawyer Jenkins-Johnston to go over the section of his Statement where it was written that he was placed under arrest by the ACC for the misappropriation of State funds and also Lawyer Jenkins-Johnston asked him to clearly confirm that from the sequence of the Statement read out, it was only after he was detained in a police cell for four days that he changed his story to the ACC and brought in the name of Haja Afsatu Kabba.
As he read out his Statement, it was revealed that PW-2 changed his story to the ACC several times. According to the Statement read out, it was revealed that when PW-2 was first questioned by ACC on 19th March 2010 about who encashed a Le26,532,648 check numbered BSL466284 on October 7th 2009, he had denied encashing such a check but when later during that same day’s interrogation, he was shown the back of the BSL466284 check with his signature on it, he changed his previous story and accepted to the ACC interrogators that he had not said the truth before and that indeed he was the one who cashed the Le26,532,648 BSL466284 check.
PW-2 read out that he was initially asked: "Take a look at FWOC/4 being a copy of BSL466284 dated 7/10/09 with amount Le26,532,648. What do you have to say about this check?" To which PW-2 told the Court that he had responded as follows: "I recall preparing the said check upon the instructions of my immediate boss. I did not encash the check."
PW-2 read out that later he was confronted by the ACC’s interrogator who had asked of PW-2: "FWOC/4 is now shown to you for the second time to comment on the person who encashed the said cheque" to which PW-2 said he confessed as follows: "I now recognize same as one that I encashed the money of Le26,532,648 and later handed it over to my immediate boss at our office."
Continuing his reading of his words to the ACC back in March, he proceeded to reveal in Open Court that even as he had then confessed to encashing the Le26,532,648 for which purpose he had told the ACC he could not tell the use, he told the ACC that the other particular five checks for which corruption charges were eventually brought against only Haja Afsatu Kabba were for legitimate activities.
According to what was read out in Open Court, it was at this point of his insistence that the five checks were for legitimate transactions that he was placed under arrest for misappropriation and locked up in a police cell.
As he read out his Statement, the Court was made to learn that after four days of being locked up at police cell, on Monday 22nd March 2010, when he was released from the police cells, he once again changed his statement to the ACC about the five checks he had encashed and this time, he brought in the name of Haja Afsatu Kabba as being the one who had benefited from all the proceeds of the five checks he encashed totalling Le310,000,000.
Another fact that Afsatu Kabba’s Defence pointed out after PW-2 finished reading out his Statement was that from PW-2’s Statement as read out, it showed that during the entire time when he was questioned by the ACC, he never stated that he set eyes on Haja Afsatu Kabba at Parliament neither did he ever state at the ACC that he drove behind her with money from Parliament to State House.
This is what the PW-2 read out in Open Court as being what he told the ACC back in March as his response to Question No. 34: "Haja Afsatu Kabba did not come outside the Parliament building herself to receive the money but sent her official driver and OSD police. Both approached us outside the parliament in the official vehicle used then by Haja Afsatu Kabba where the money was transferred into the boot. We later returned to the office".
It will be recalled that on May 27th 2010 when this witness first testified, he had told the Honourable Justice Samuel Ademusu that he did see Haja Afsatu Kabba come out of the Parliament Building when the money was handed over into her vehicle and that following the handing over of the money, he had driven behind her with the money in her vehicle all the way from Parliament to State House where he said he left her with the money.
Meanwhile, as the witness had read out his entire Statement in Open Court, it was clear to all spectators in the Court that at no point in time, during the entire interrogation at ACC as recorded in his Statement back in March, did he ever mention the name "State House" even once.