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HomeFeaturedCWL Case: At Last, One Sober Witness … Oh, But Alas, Not Quite

CWL Case: At Last, One Sober Witness … Oh, But Alas, Not Quite

CWL Case: At Last, One Sober Witness … Oh, But Alas, Not Quite

Court observers heaved a sigh of relief when at last; a witness who appeared relatively sober appeared on Wednesday in the case brought by the State against OO and AB Adeyemi.  His name was Daniel Pewah of 27 Main Kainkordu Road, Freetown.

Testifying before Justice Browne-Marke in the High Court, Mr Pewah was led in evidence by Principal prosecutor GJ Soyei and cross examined by Lawyer Shangarai.  After being sworn in on the Bible, the witness confirmed that he was still an employee of Communications Warehouse and worked as the branch manager for Kono Branch up until this present moment.  He said he had been employed for about one and a half years and his duties included training bikers and salesmen and being the sole custodian of company stock (airtime and phones) and cash received from proceeds of sales.

Mr Pewah said he recalled receiving specific instructions on how he should manage cash from the 1st defendant, and that this was how he came to know him as Sales Director.  He disclosed that the 1st defendant took himself and his colleague on a trip on the 13th of March, where they stopped over for the first night in Makeni.  He said the 1st defendant called them to his hotel room and threatened them with dismissal if they ever disobeyed him.  He confirmed that the 1st defendant instructed them to pay sales proceeds into company’s bank account in UTB or GTBank.

He confirmed that he received cash on behalf of the company several times, amounts ranging from Le5m to Le150m between March and October 2009.  He however said he further received additional instructions from the 1st defendant that he should hold on to cash, after which the 1st defendant came to his branch and took him on several trips where they used company money to purchase palm kernels for the 1st defendants use.  When questioned about the period of the alleged crime which was between the 1st and 30th of September, 2009, he started to recall  some hearsay, which the learned judge rejected on the grounds that he could not offer that testimony as he had not been present.

He claimed he was told by the 1st defendant not to disclose his movements even to the 2nd defendant and that if his partners, Mr. Popoola asked about the branch; he should paint a very gloomy and unsafe picture to dissuade his partner from visiting the branch.

Observers were taken aback when the prosecution wrapped up their questioning at that point.  The learned judge had to ask ‘Do you know the charge?’  Both the witness and the prosecutor answered in the affirmative.

Under cross examination, Mr. Pewah claimed that the 1st accused came to visit him in his branch several times, to collect monies, but he does not know how much was collected each time.  Court room observers laughed when Mr Pewah said he could not recall how many times he accompanied the first defendant to buy palm kernel, and he did not know the name of the village where they bought the palm kernel from, even though he had gone with the 1st defendant each time.

He denied his earlier statement made at the preliminary investigation that he had given the 1st defendant up to Le350m on the different occasions.  This time he said he had not mentioned any specific figure.  When asked how much money he had remitted in the period he cited, Mr Pewah said he did not know, as he just paid in money on a daily basis.  When challenged by the lawyer that he could not be the custodian to a company account and not have records, he claimed that the internal auditor took away his records.

When asked what sales turnover was for his branch, Mr Pewah said he did not know.  Neither did he know the approximate number of times that the 1st defendant visited him for these purposes.  He just knows it is many times.  When asked how the money was handed over to the 1st defendant, Mr Pewah said it was given in cash, but he has no receipts or acknowledgement of the monies he gave to the 1st defendant.

The defense lawyer asked for an adjournment to conclude the cross examination, but was refused by the learned judge.  The defense lawyer therefore concluded his cross examination.

The prosecutor requested for an adjournment because, according to him, though his next witness was available, he had not been debriefed and he did not want to look unprepared.  The case was adjourned to Wednesday 9 March 2011.

Disappointed observers said they thought this was going to be one credible witness, but had been taken aback by the gaps in his testimony.  Mr Pewah is known to be staff of Comium SL Ltd, working in the department of a Joe Amara Bangali.  It is unclear if he is also working for Communications Warehouse at the same time.  Sources say he is wanted for the unauthorized obtaining of stock from GTBank to the tune of about Le300m.

We continue to follow the threat of the evidence led.

Thompson Jallow, Freetown

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