• March 7, 2022

Exhibits Distortion Threatens Fair Trial: Samura Kamara Case May Be Thrown Out

Exhibits Distortion Threatens Fair Trial: Samura Kamara Case May Be Thrown Out
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Discrepancies, irregularities, disorderliness in the presentation of Exhibits has raised serious concerns about the ill conduct of the Prosecution in the continuing matter between the fourth accused, Dr Samura Mathew Wilson Kamara and four others; and the state. The Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC)’s First Prosecution Witness (PW1), Joseph Bockarie Noah, in last Friday’s (4 March 2022) hearing, tendered several Exhibits with a substantial number of pages missing.

The Defence, members of the public gallery and even the presiding judge, the Honourable Justice Adrian Fisher, were noticeably peeved by what appeared to be the Prosecution’s ill – preparedness and deliberate distortions of Exhibits..

During his testimony at High Court No 1, the ACC PW1, Joseph Bockarie Noah was interjected several times by the Defence team as Exhibits after the other, were lacerated with inaccuracies and inconsistencies, detached and missing pages with vital details to the matter and the prosecution in particular.

Legal analysts believe that the Prosecution’s recurrent sloppiness could be a ploy to undermine fair trial and this fact was not lost on the presiding judge.

“I want this trial to be fair and everyone to feel satisfied in the end but I do not believe that this behaviour would help the case, the Justice Fisher said in a stern warning to Prosecution.

While this ‘trial by ambush’ has been a consistent trademark of the ACC Prosecution team to the extent that the it had to issue a clarification press release in respect of its previous testimonies; Noah’s misdemeanor last Friday [of tendering Exhibits to the court with missing pages] appears to be a new low in this ‘political’ trial?

Even more baffling is the fact that all Exhibits presented by the Prosecution last Friday relate to wire transfers and other transactions which took place between April 2018 and June 2021, a period that clearly falls outside Samura Kamara’s tenure at the ministry of foreign affairs.

The instances abound. Exhibit exhibit N 1/18 presented to the court by the ACC PW1, informed of a  payment made on 19 June 2019, with a cheque number 284120 to the Sierra Leone Permanent Mission in New York as the payee, in the sum of Three billion Eight Hundred and Six Thousand Five Hundred and Seventy-Six United States Dollars.

PW1 Noah also explained that on 25 June 2018 a temporary payment of One Hundred and Twenty-Three Thousand Five Hundred United States Dollars was made for requisition the Sierra Leone Permanent Mission at the United Nations in New York. The ACC PW1 added that another sum of One Hundred and Thirteen Thousand Two Hundred Thousand United States Dollars was also paid. But again, on this exhibit the ACC PW1 was presenting to the court, the Samura Kamara’s Defence detected that there was a missing page in the particular exhibit.

Several other Exhibits presented by PW1 relate to a Three Hundred and Seventy-Nine Thousand United States Dollars made on 26 June 2019 by first accused, Saidu Nallo; to a payment voucher dated 13 August 2018 in respect of USD 187,000 for another requisition at the Sierra Leone Permanent Mission to the United Nations in New York.

The ACC PW1 further exhibited a Credit Advice dated 2 June 2021 with reference number FT/18167106980 which was reportedly for an accredited amount of One billion, Six Hundred and Seventy-Two Thousand United States Dollars.

An Exhibit of an additional Two Hundred Thousand, Six Hundred and Eighty-Two United States Dollars USD, authorized by Saidu Nallo and prepared by Kandeh Foday Kamara on 3 August 2021, was also tendered in court.

Without a doubt, all of the Exhibits tendered, including letters addressed to the ACC Commissioner, Francis Ben Kaifala, on 8 June 2021 and 3 September 2021 by AWB Samba Director, Banking at Bank of Sierra Leone, relate to a time frame Samura Kamara was no longer at the ministry of foreign affairs and international cooperation.

Dr. Samura Mathew Wilson Kamara, and five others are standing trial at the Freetown High Court No 1 for the alleged misappropriation of over Four Million Five Hundred Thousand United States Dollars ($US 4.5) million meant for the refurbishment of the Sierra Leone Permanente Mission Chancery Building at the United Nations in New York, and also for deceiving a Principal which is the Government of Sierra Leone.

One may therefore wonder why Samura Kamara should be in the dock on charges of ‘Deceiving a Principal’ and for ‘Misappropriation of Public Funds’ expended at a time he was no longer part of the ministry in question.

Dr. Samura Mathew Wilson Kamara being the fourth accused is being represented by former attorneys – general, Frankly Bai Kargbo and Joseph Fitzgerald Kamara; the latter also being a former Commissioner of the ACC. Other members of the Defence team include Ady Macauley, another former Commissioner of the ACC;  Sulaiman Borbor Kabbah, , Melron Nicol Wilson, Ibrahim Sorie, Brima Koroma, Karo Kamara, among host of others.

The matter comes up again on Monday 7 March 2022 as bail continues for all accused.

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