Tribunal Set to Begin Work

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Members of the recently constituted tribunal to investigate the Auditor General, Mrs. Lara Taylor-Pearce and her deputy, Tamba Momoh, have taken an oath before His Excellency President Dr Julius Maada Bio as required by law.

Chairperson of the tribunal is Honourable Justice Nyawo Finda Matturi-Jones, JSC, a retired Supreme Court Judge, described by her peers as a fine woman with unblemished character, who worked across Sierra Leone right from being a magistrate to serving for many years as High Court Judge in Kenema and eventually became a Supreme Court Judge in 2016.  The other members are Honourable Justice Ansumana Ivan Sesay and Mr. Lahai M. Farma.

Justice Matturi-Jones thanked the President for appointing them to take part in what she said was a rare occasion to look into the activities of the Auditor General and her deputy, following their suspension recently.

She confirmed that it would deepen democracy and improve on the credentials of the country because it would allow and give the two public servants the opportunity to clear their names and in a transparent and credible manner.

She further noted that she and her colleagues on the tribunal were ready, willing, and able to perform the task for which they had been appointed, adding that they were also familiar with the laws and assured that they would use their long years of experience to work diligently in the interest of Sierra Leone.

“We are prepared and willing to listen to whatever evidence that is available. We are ready to analyse the situation and apply the laws justly,” she assured.

His Excellency President Dr. Julius Maada Bio thanked the newly sworn-in members of the tribunal for accepting the challenge, adding that the Tribunal should do their best to investigate the matter that was referred to them.

“We are in compliance with the Constitution of Sierra Leone. It is now left with you to investigate the matter and get back to us. I wish you all the best and look forward to the outcome. Thank you,” he concluded.

NDMA Concludes Retreat in Bo City

The National Disaster Management Agency (NDMA) has concluded a two-day maiden retreat, where key documents that would strengthen the work of the Agency including Strategic Plan, Financial manual, HR manual, Partnership Framework and Communications Plan were discussed.

NDMA’s Director-General, Lt. Gen (Rtd) Brima Sesay said, following the enactment and launch of the Agency, the institution has made significant strides towards mitigating and managing disasters in the country, adding that adopting the operational documents will strengthen the work and efficiency of the NDMA.

Presidential Adviser and Representative of the Chief Minister at the retreat, Dr. Kawa said the Strategic Plan was a very long process. “We came here as an institution so we can have the framework, the instrument and most of all the content for the Strategic Plan”.

The Deputy Director-General, John V Rogers in his presentation, outlined the aim of the retreat, which he said was to explain to participants the core elements that constitute the Strategic Plan; building the contents and framework of a Strategic Plan for the National Disaster Management Agency.

The DDG said the retreat presents a platform to provide the justification, mission, vision and goal of the plan. He said the motive was to make clear the guiding principles of the Agency.

The retreat provided the scope to look at the implementation of a new strategy, building partnership trust, communication strategy, relief and response, monitoring and the evaluation strategy.

Consultations will continue in support of the development of the final draft and validation of the Strategic Plan, and the development of the other operational documents of the Agency.

Murder at UNIMAK…

Scene of Crime Officer Testifies in Court

By Feima Sesay

The sixth prosecution witness, Detective Inspector Mathew Samura attached to the Scientific Support Department at the Mena Police Station as Scene of Crime Officer has testified in the on-going murder matter of one Elizabeth Mande Judith Kanu, who was allegedly killed by her colleague, Sonia Mary Thomas at the University of Makeni.

The witness said some of his duties including visiting scene of crime, to examine the scene and search for evidence and he also said he took photography of the scene and to preserve exhibit.

He continued that he knew the deceased and also knew the accused person.

He narrated that he recalled on the 6th September 2021, when he was on duty at the said date 1700 hours, his colleague Detective Police Constable 4569 Conteh S.S told him that a case of an alleged murder was reported to the station by one Rev Father John Turay, adding that upon receipt of the information they later visited the scene of Crime.

The witness testified that on the 7th September 2021, himself and DPC 4569 Conteh S.S together with Rev Father Turay they went to Holy Spirit hospital Makama, Makeni to collect the remains of the deceased, he said upon arrival, the corpus of the deceased was handed over to them and they later conveyed it to Government hospital for post-mortem.

He further narrated that on the same day they visited the scene of Crime at Fatima hostel campus, UNIMAK and at the scene he was directed to the area were the alleged incident took place where he took photography of the alleged scene. He added that on the same date the corpus of the deceased was later conveyed to Connaught mortuary in Freetown for post-mortem.

“On the 8th September 2021, I, DPC 4569 Conteh S.S together with the relatives of the deceased witness the post-mortem examination that was conducted on the remains of the deceased by the government pathologist, Doctor Semion Owizz Koroma and during the process I took photography of the scene” he said.

when the witness want to tender the pictures he took during the post-mortem, Lawyer Jessie M. Jengo defending the accused person objected to the tendering of the pictures taken during the post-mortem because the witness did not bring the digital camera that he use to took the pictures.

In responding as to why he did not bring the digital camera, the witness said the digital camera he use to take the pictures has been used by another scene of crime officer as they only have one digital camera at the station.

However, Magistrate Kekura said it is procedural for the scene of crime officer to bring the digital camera he use, so he adjourned remanded the accused to the Female Correctional Centre and adjourned the matter to Monday 13th December 2021, for the digital camera to be tender in court.

This was the ninth time the accused, Elizabeth Mande Judith Kanu, had appeared before the   court  on one count of murder contrary to law.

According to the Police charge sheet, it was alleged that the accused on Monday 6th September, 2021, murdered Sonia Mary Thomas at Fatima Hostel, UNIMAK Campus in Makeni.

Le250M Bail for Alleged Human Traffickers

By Feima Sesay

Isatu Nyama Jawara a pharmacist and Katumu Kanneh a farmer made another appearance before Magistrate Sahr Kekura of Pademba Road Court No.1 in Freetown on fourteen count charges to wit one count of Conspiracy to commit human trafficking contrary to section 18 of the Anti- human trafficking Act No.7 of 2005 and thirteen count ranging from engaging in human trafficking contrary to section 2 (2) of the Anti- human trafficking Act 2005.

According to the particulars of offence on a diverse dates between the 1st to 20th September 2021 Kenema both accused persons conspired together and with other persons unknown to traffic Yatta Massaqoui, Mamie Dakuwa and Sao Amara from Kenema to Madamaya Kambia, en route to Guinea for the purpose of exploitation and engaged in trafficking in person by the transfer of Ibrahim Mansaray from Kenema to Madamaya, Kambia en route to Guinea by means of deception for the purpose of exploitation.

Prosecution witness number three Yatta Massaqoui a pupils narrated her ordeal in court that she was staying with her Mother at Geima Dama Kenema, the victim recognised both accused persons in the dock as her relatives she said on that day she went to her father at Gbogboma village whilst while at the said village the first accused person arrived there for traditional healing in respect of her feet, the first accused person told her  father that she want to Foster her and nurture her in Guinea and he father accepted that the first accused person should travel with her to Guinea the victim said herself and her mother travelled to Kenema where she met the first accused person.

The victim was struggling to testify in Krio language and the court thought it fit together with the prosecuting contrary and the defence counsel to called on interpreter to interpreter from Mende to Krio and from Krio to Mende and the interpreter took the Oath.

The victim said when they consulted her grandmother she refused that the first accused person should not travel with her to Guinea her father insisted that the first accused person should travel with her to Guinea and they later met the first accused person in Kenema city the first accused person gave the money to the owner of the vehicle they on board the vehicle and they are nine in numbers including himself and the son of the first accused person Sheik Keita there were five boys and four girls in the vehicle. The victim said she didn’t know the second accused person in the matter the victim said the first accused person was in the vehicle with them whilst they were on their way to Guinea the police intercepted the driver for his driving licence but he was without driving licence and the driver was arrested and his vehicle impounded. The police took their names down including their parents and the first accused person was also interrogated. The victim said she later made statement to the police station

The defence counsel U. Sesay  renewed the previous Bail applications for and on behalf of both accused persons having heard the evidence and taken into consideration that the first accused person has a physical challenge whilst the second accused has not been so far implicated in view of the above he granted bail to each accused persons in the sum of two hundred and fifty million Leones each or two sureties each in like sum sureties must be resident in the western area they should be responsible citizen they should produce their addresses in Freetown one of the sureties should be employed from a recognised institution the said surety should produce either employment letter or identity card of the said institution bail to be approved by the Deputy Acting Registrar

Assistant Superintendent of police C. Davies Cole prosecuting the matter adjourned to the 8th December 2021 for further hearing

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