From Awareness Times Newspaper in Freetown

COMMENTS & OPINIONS
Will APC Ever Recover from Ademosu’s Judgment?
By Sylvia Olayinka Blyden
Oct 18, 2010, 12:32

Awareness Times newspaper has finally been able to lay hands on the 36-Paged Judgment as delivered and read out in Open Court by one of the country’s most senior and learned Judges, the well-respected Hon. Samuel Ademosu. We are however seeking Legal Advise as to whether we can publish the entire text of the Judgment because of something we noticed on Page 31 of the Judgment which seems to run contrary to the Order given by Justice Browne-Marke in this matter. Soonest our newspaper’s Legal Advisers give the all-clear, we will reproduce the verbatim text of the Judgment.

 

Meanwhile, from my reading of the Judgment, it is clear that the Honourable Learned Justice Samuel Ademosu has delivered an almost fatal blow on the credibility of the President Ernest Bai Koroma led All People’s Congress Government.


The main opposition SLPP Party is well-known to usually be totally bereft of political skills but in this case, the Party Leader John Benjamin has shown he is well ahead of the pack with his punchy press conference statements on the Judgment. Indeed, the cumulative effects of the contents of this Ademosu judgment against Haja Afsatu Kabba, if effectively used by the opposition SLPP party, will be very hard for President Koroma to recover from during campaigning for the 2012 Elections. In my opinion, the Learned Honourable Justice Ademosu has delivered an irreparable, devastating blow to the APC; a potent blow which I will analyse for my readers today.


Firstly, as reported in local tabloids last week, many of the APC’s strongest supporters, despite the judgment given in the court,
still believe that Haja Afsatu Kabba is innocent and has been set up in the same way Ibrahim Bash-Taqi, Sorie Forna and others were set up by an earlier APC regime. Many Abacha Street traders have openly identified themselves in interviews to local tabloids as predicting a possible defeat for the APC in 2012 as a fall-out of the manner in which they believe Haja Afsatu Kabba was set up.


One of t
he strongest pro-APC newspapers around, THE NATION NEWSPAPER edited by one John Koroma came out with a banner headline that had unprintable invectives against the APC.

 

The Pro-APC FOR DI PEOPLE newspaper edited by Paul Kamara also had its usual anti-Judiciary comments with respect to this matter but truth be told, the comments in the FOR DI PEOPLE were a reflection of what many ordinary APC members believe to be the case as exemplified by the words of the Abacha Street traders. They believe Haja Afsatu Kabba was set up.


However, the greatest threat to President Koroma’s 2012 Chances insofar as this Afsatu Kabba issue is concerned is not from what his supporters believe he did or did not do but what the words of the Judgment itself reveals.


Hon. Justice Ademosu is a respected jurist in Sierra Leone and he commands tremendous respect from many. With this respect we have for the Honourable Judge and reading through his 36-paged Judgment, it is very clear that rather than the Ademosu Judgment being a positive development for the anti-corruption credentials of the Ernest Bai Koroma regime, it had struck a devastating blow on both President Koroma and the All People’s Congress. Indeed, as opposition SLPP’s John Benjamin rightly opines, the evidence and the judgment as delivered, if we accept them as credible, have only served to prove that the APC of Ernest Bi Koroma was well enmeshed in corruption.

Here is a section of the written signed words of Justice Ademosu on Page 27:

“In my opinion, having seen the witnesses physically and watched them when they were testifying I would be prepared to attribute the discrepancies and variations in their previous statements and their evidence as a result of defect of memory but certainly not want of moral honesty... As for the evidence of PW6, I accept his evidence is true to the best of his recollection. I do not for one moment entertain any doubt. I have seen the manner in which he gave his evidence. He left me with the impression that he was a witness upon whom I may safely place reliance. I believe as a fact that his testimony is true and not a fabrication as the defence wants me to hold. I would say that his evidence is of appreciable assistance to the Court in quest of justice in this case.”


As seen above, Justice Ademosu had the luxury of watching the body language of the witnesses which luxury the rest of us members of the public did not have as we were shut out from view with the witnesses being behind drawn curtains and visible only to the Judge who was presiding over a Judge-Alone-Trial.


Meanwhile, as soon as we get Legal Advise on the contents of Page 31 of the Ademosu Judgment, we will be all set to reproduce the Judgment verbatim. Until then, here is an interesting excerpt from Page 22 of the Judgment:


#START OF EXTRACT#


In exhibit T2, the witness stated inter alia thus: “So far as my knowledge goes although I am not a signatory to that Account, withdrawals have been made which I am knowledgeable of. I know of withdrawal of a sum of one hundred and fifty million leones made by the then Acting Director Mr. Mohamed Sheriff and the Accountant Mr. Abdul Sanusi. This withdrawal was caused by both the Minister and her Deputy in the persons of Haja Afsatu Kabba and Rosaline Oya Sankoh. Both of them summoned the then Acting Director Mr. Mohamed Sheriff, the Accountant Mr. Abdul Sanusi and my humble self in the office of the Hon. Haja Afsatu Kabba. She told us that they need the above amount to take it to State House. On questioning her by the then Acting Director, Mr. Mohamed Sheriff, I observed that argument developed between the Minister and the Acting Director and he reluctantly yielded to her request and the cheque was raised. The value of the said cheque was handed over to the Minister, Hon. Haja Afsatu Kabba as I was later told by the Accountant Mr. Abdul Sanusi and the Acting Director, Mr. Mohamed Sheriff. I am also aware of other withdrawals made subsequently; the one which is of significance was to a tune of over two hundred million leones. The purpose purported was as stated by the Minister Hon. Haja Afsatu Kabba, in the presence of the Deputy Minister Hon. Rosaline Oya Sankoh, the current Acting Director, Dr. Mohamed Sesay, the Accountant, Mr. Abdul Sanusi and my very self. She stated that the amount is urgently needed at State House and the purpose was not explained. It took the current Director and the Accountant about two to three days under constant pressure from the Minister before they succumbed to her request. The Accountant told me that he delivered the said cash to the Minister Haja Afsatu Kabba at Parliament Building. This payment voucher and others listed above with the attached supporting documents were only prepared as a white wash to justify the demands of the Minister Haja Afsatu Kabba. I was aware that these withdrawals were not legitimate but I have no choice as she was the Political Head and fully in charge of the Ministry and I had not wanted to get any confrontation. That is all.” This statement was made on 26/3/2010.


This is one of the witnesses who said directly that they received VERBAL INSTRUCTIONS from the Accused to take out Le300 million for State House.


#END OF EXTRACT FROM ADEMOSU JUDGMENT#



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