Afsatu Trial: Court Frees 2 Editors
In the ongoing trial of former Marine Resources Minister and APC hard core woman, Haja Afsatu Kabba, two journalists were yesterday arraigned before the Freetown High Court to answer to charges of contempt of court for purportedly revealing the identity of one of the protected witnesses that works at the Ministry in last week publication of the Independent Observer.
The Managing Editor of the Independent Observer, Jonathan Leigh and Editor Bai Bai Sesay were yesterday set free by Justice Samuel Ademusu of the high court of Sierra Leone after dropping previous charges of contempt of court in the ongoing trial of the former minister.
A bench warrant was issued for their arrest last Friday and both of them made their appearance in court yesterday on their own and Lawyer Yada Williams who appeared for both of them apologized on their behalf and the case was dropped.
In a report that brought about the charge of contempt, it was reported that a member of staff of the Fisheries and Marine Resources Ministry took to the witness stand as one of the protected witnesses who testified that although cheques were issued out, but the accused minister never actually singed anyone of the cheques that are now exhibits in the trial.
The protected prosecution witness told the court that he had served in the civil service for seven years. Led in evidence by the prosecution, the witness said the exhibits labeled D1 to D6 and others marked E1, F1 and G1 with some payment vouchers were a justification for the total amount of Le300 million.
He said the instruction to withdraw the money was made at a meeting between himself, two of the previous protected witnesses and the Deputy Minister of Fisheries.
The witness named PW 5 said they were told by the accused who was Minister then, that the funds were needed at State House but confirmed that she did not do so in writing.
He said they carried out the verbal instruction of Mrs. Kabba by writing various cheques summing up to Le300 million.
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