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CWL: Amusement as witness PW4 Christopher Lamptey ‘elopes’: KPMG replaces PW4

CWL: Amusement as witness PW4 Christopher Lamptey ‘elopes’: KPMG replaces PW4

9th March 2011 – In the case of State vs Adeyemi, court observers were treated to an amusing scene as principal prosecutor Gerald Soyei confirmed to the court that PW4, Christopher Lamptey would no longer be produced as a witness in the case.  The prosecutor said the witness was ‘ill’ and unable to travel and he (the prosecutor) had to be given some time to produce his medical certificate.  Paradoxically, however, court observers who recognised PW4 saw him walk across the court corridor twice, while the same proceedings were on.  He was alleged to have told some observers that the plaintiff, Mr Anthony Popoola had not paid him the agreed amount and therefore, he was not going into the court until he was ‘settled’ with a whopping amount of Le8m, having chopped the Le5m he was paid previously to tender a document at the lower court in the same case.

Prosecutor Soyei applied to call an additional previously unnamed witness, Vidal Tunde Oliver Decker, who identified himself as Managing Partner of KPMG, Sierra Leone.  Decker claimed he was contacted by the 2nd defendant, O Adeyemi, to conduct a review of the company’s banking operations,  receivables, payables and internal controls and ensure that company assets and liabilities were properly reflected.  Decker said his team commenced the exercise but it was not completed suggesting that KPMG may not have expressed an opinion one way or the other.

In a mild flurry of activity, the prosecutor stalled a few times during the proceeding and finally asked for the KPMG exhibits, which he wanted to exhibit.  After some searches, exhibits were extracted from the deposition and handed over to the prosecutor.  Two letters dated 29th January 2010 and 30 December 2009 were tendered.  After reading through the letters, the judge insisted that the KPMG Managing Partner should read it aloud to the trial chamber.  Of instructive use in the contents of the letters were the following:  The audits had been ongoing with much cooperation from the CWL team.  There was a lot of disruption and disturbances during the audit, causing the audit team to break up several times;  principals of the company were not allowed to use KPMG correspondences, reports or products of the audit review for any purposes other than internal management purposes;  the company was not allowed to copy the report or any correspondences or use it for any purposes other than for internal management; the company started collating final chunks of information for KPMG; KPMG was unable to issue a report; KPMG decided to terminate the contract because of the difficulties encountered.

The defence counsel AY Brewah declared that he had no questions for the witness and Decker was then released.

Prosecuting counsel, G Soyei then declared that he had other witnesses to call.  The judge objected, noting that there were no other witnesses named in the deposition.  Soyei replied that he had to call the police officers to tender the statement of the parties.  The judge was surprised and asked if the statement were in the deposition, to which the prosecutor replied in the negative.  The judge asked if the police officers testified in the lower court and Soyei replied that they did, to which AY Brewah countered, confirming that the police did not testify in the lower court.  Surprised, the learned judge looked askance – ‘And this is a police prosecution?’  No my lord, the prosecutor replied. ‘It was the DPP prosecuting the case’.  ‘yes’, the judge retorted. ‘I mean this was a public prosecution, and there were neither statements from the police nor appearances from the police in the preliminary investigation at the lower court?’

Soyei apologised on behalf of his boss, saying the DPP must have forgotten to put forward the police witnesses as a result of the ‘pressure of work’

The judge conceded and allowed the prosecutor to adjourn for the presentation of police witnesses.  He however instructed Soyei to photocopy the statements and give the defence counsel a copy well before the next adjourned date.

The case was adjourned to Wednesday 16 March 2011, leaving spectators and court observers to ponder over the matter.  Of particular interest were the sightings of the eloped witness, Christopher Lamptey, who had also not been made available for cross examination at the lower court.  At the time, the eloped witness, Christopher Lamptey, who is now mysteriously ill, had pleaded that he could not be cross examined on the document he tendered because he had forgotten his glasses at home, and could not read without them.  He however refused to turn up and after several adjournment, the case moved on without him.  That had been the last sighting of the man until he was called up on Wednesday and subsequently declared ‘too ill to travel’ by the principal prosecutor.

The issue of KPMG’s testimony was well discussed.  Many schools of thought felt the audit firm should have issued a report stating exactly what their position was, especially if they felt that they had inadequate information to express an opinion.  After all, the assignment was really a review of company procedures, not a statutory audit.  It begins to appear that there is an alternative motive behind KPMG’s decision not to issue a report, considering the volume and quantum of information they had already received, and the hours already put in by the Senior Manager, Perceival Addy.

On Wednesday 16 March, the case continues.

Thompson Jallow, Freetown

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