From Awareness Times Newspaper in
THE MEETING THAT IT WAS ALLEGED THE ACCUSED GAVE INSTRUCTIONS TO WITHDRAW THE SUM OF LE. 300,000,000.00 FROM THE MCS ACCOUNT
By LAWYER YADA HASHIM WILLIAMS
Jul 30, 2010, 17:14
Another Extract of the Closing Arguments of Defence Lawyers of
Haja Mrs. Afsatu Olayinka Ebishola Kabba (Nee Savage)
THE MEETING THAT IT WAS ALLEGED THE ACCUSED GAVE INSTRUCTIONS TO WITHDRAW THE SUM OF LE. 300,000,000.00 FROM THE MCS ACCOUNT.
SUBMITTED BY LAWYER YADA HASHIM WILLIAMS COUNSEL per pro for J. B. Jenkins-Johnston, Lead Counsel.
There are two issues of significance about the meeting in October 2009 which took place at the Minister’s office. Firstly, the persons present and secondly, what were the instructions given. This meeting in our opinion is very crucial to the case of the Prosecution. What was decided or instructed at that meeting is so significant that none of the participants should forget them so soon. The Prosecution themselves submitted at page 22 of their written address as follows:
“PW3, PW4 and PW 5 are the persons who received the instructions from the accused and they are the persons who carried those instructions out in the preparation of the said cheques, vouchers and minutes. All of them testified to the facts surrounding the raising of the cheques, vouchers and minutes and they corroborate each other in every material particular”.
We submit that contrary to the contention of the Prosecution, there are so many divergences in the evidence of these three witnesses on the issue that no tribunal of fact can convict on them.
PW3 in his statement to the Anti-Corruption Commission said:
“The true story is on a certain date in October 2009 whilst in my office, I was called by the Director of Fisheries and Marine Resources Dr. M. B. Sesay and the Permanent Secretary Mr. Paul Sandi in the office of the Director. I was told by both of them in a just concluded meeting with then Minister and Deputy Minsiters of Ministry of Fisheries and Marine Resources Haja Afsatu Kabba and Oya Sankoh respectively that the (Ministers) needed a grand sum of three hundred and ten million leones (Le. 310,000,000) for the All Peoples Congress (A. P. C.) party Convention in Makeni. I was then instructed by the Director and Permanent Secretary to prepare cheques amounting to the said sum from the Fines Account no. 1100684 held at the Bank of Sierra Leone of which the Director Mr. M. B. Sesay and myself are signatories to it”.
The witness was very specific about minute details of the meeting and the instructions given. According to him he was informed by the Permanent Secretary and the Director what had transpired in the office of the Minister. PW3 quite clearly stated that he was not present at the meeting at the Minister’s office.
Under cross-examination PW3 made a 360 degrees turn on the issue. He had this to say:
“Three of us were there when the accused forcefully told us that State House needed the money urgently”. Page 29 lines 17 – 19 of the Court records.
“I see my answer to Q37 that was what I said; the Minister (the accused) spoke to three of us.Â The instruction was given to me by two of my senior officers, the accused did not sign any of the minute”. Page 31 lines 21 to 26 of the Court records.
We submit that this is a witness who had a dangerous propensity to lie and his entire evidence should be taken with a dose of salt. Even when confronted with his witness statement he continued to lie and to play smart. Why was Rosaline Oya Sankoh not called as a witness to testify on this all important question is the million dollar question that the Prosecution failed to address all throughout the proceedings.
To compound an already complicated issue PW4 said in cross-examination:
“PW3 was not present in the meeting called in October 2009 where verbal instructions were given”. Page 41 lines 8 – 9 of the Court records.
This is after PW 4 had said conflictingly in earlier cross-examination that:
“Both of them summoned PW3 and PW4 in the office of the accused, that the amount was needed by State House. I said I could not recall the exact date”.Â Page 35 lines 31 to page 36 line 3 of the Court records.
What came out were very confusing and materially inconsistent testimonies from these witnesses. Both PW3 and PW4 at some stage said PW3 was not present at the said meeting and at some other stage said PW3 was present. Which bits of the evidence should this Court believe and act upon? These inconsistencies we submit put into question the issue of whether this meeting ever took place.
Another issue that should make your Lordship discountenance the entire evidence about the meeting is the purpose for which the money was purportedly demanded by the Accused. PW3 in his statement to the ACC said the money was needed for the A. P. C. convention in Makeni. We invite the Court to take notice that the convention of the ruling All Peoples Party in Makeni occurred in March 2009. How can the Accused in October 2009 be demanding money to hold a convention that had occurred almost six month prior to October 2009?? In another breath PW3, PW4 and PW5 said the money was meant for State House and in another for the personal gains of the Accused.
We submit that these material inconsistencies put into question the issue of whether the said meeting was ever held by the Minister. It buttresses our contention that it would be unsafe and risky for any tribunal of fact to convict on such tenuous and unreliable evidence. We implore the Court to disregard the said bits of evidence and to hold that the said meeting never occurred.
Dated 23rd July 2010 & Submitted for the Accused pursuant to the Order
of Hon. Justice S. A. Ademosu (Judge) dated the 22nd July 2010.
WE WILL CONTINUE TO SERIALISE THE TEXT OF THE CLOSING ARGUMENTS IN OUR SUBSEQUENT EDITIONS
Â© Copyright 2005, Freetown, Sierra Leone.