Failed ACC Commissioner takes case to Appeals Court … defending his Le71M salary
Following a recent High Court judgment between the State Vs Allieu Sesay and four others, the Anti Corruption Commission (ACC), in line with legal stipulations, has appealed the freeing of all five accused persons of 57 count charges. (Photo: ACC Commissioner Joseph Fitzgerald Kamara)
Allieu Sesay (suspended National Revenue Authority boss), his wife Fatmata Ojubara Sesay, Samuel Cole, Franklyn Pratt and Gloria Gabisi, in 2009, were arraigned before the High Court to answer to 57 counts of corruption charges.
The trial however came to a conclusion some few weeks ago. The judgment which was delivered by Justice Eku Robert brings to light the acquittal of Allieu Sesay and others.
According to the Judge’s submissions, it was stated bluntly that ACC prosecutors have made no attempt to prove the essential ingredients of offences slammed against the accused.
“I will here adopt my observations expressed in respect of counts 13 to 30 (abuse of office). There is undeniable evidence before me which I accept that it was PW2 (Victor Jitta Labor then acting procurement officer for NRA) who according to him awarded the contracts in question and not the 1st accused (Allieu Sesay) as alleged,” comments of the presiding Judge as mentioned in the 75 pages ruling.
By the above quote, it is clear though that the ACC disastrously failed doing proper investigation prior to its submission of 57 count charges against Allieu and others.
In the ruling it was pointed out that all the contracts to Fatma Allie Enterprises were below Le15 Million and so have no bearing to the 1st accused, but could be dealt with by the procurement unit without reference to the forenamed accused.
Consequently, it was proved that counts 13 to 30 which read as ‘abuse of office’ against the 1st accused Allieu Sesay, has no bearing but a mixture of baseless, nonsense and unjustified allegations.
Procurement conducts as in the NRA Act gives right to the procurement unit to handle contracts below Le 15 Million without having to make any reference to the Commissioner General.
To this, rest reasons resulting to the unfailing discharging and acquitting of Allieu Sesay by Justices Ademosu and Eku Robert whose services in the bench is above 40 years.
The awarding of contracts to Fatma Allie Enterprises was virtually not part of the functions of the 1st accused Allieu Sesay, but the procurement unit of NRA.
And that prosecutors of the ACC woefully failed to convince the court that charges levied especially against the 1st accused hold.
In testimonies of ACC’s second witness (PW2), Victor Jitta Labor, it was deduced that he is a seasoned liar who has no respect for the truth.
“Here was a witness who in one breath gave the impression that he was confidant of the 1st accused but in another breath that the 1st accused constantly threatened him that he might lose his job if he did not cooperate with him in the procurement process,” as stated in the ruling.
Upon the basis of evidences submitted by both parties (prosecution and defence) and upon the complete incompetence of ACC prosecutors to prove beyond doubt that the 1st accused was guilty as charged, counts 13 to 30 and 31 to 48 (abuse of office & position) were respectively killed – “without further ado, I acquit and discharged the 1st accused.”
It has reached this press that ACC’s appealing of Allieu and four others case at the appellate court came owing to fear that the Commissioner Joseph Fitzgerald Kamara, who receives Le 71 million as salary every month, is likely to be sacked on grounds of incompetence.
Reflection must be drawn to a recent High Court ruling in the case between the State Vs Philip Lukulay. Philip who was charged with 181 counts was only convicted of 13.
Public assessment survey reveals that the ACC should be investigated for wastefully spending public’s money on cases it knows it will not win.
The case of the Makeni School bursar who was charged with 65 counts but later freed was also referred to.
Inside ACC sources have told this press that the ACC has been spending hundreds of millions Leones in the investigation and prosecution of cases at every given moment.
Indications also have it that Commissioner Joseph Kamara came to the consideration of appealing the ruling of the High Court (in the case between the State Vs Allieu and others) because he wants Sierra Leoneans to accept as true that he is not an underperformer at all.
It has reached desks of this press that the ACC Commissioner single handedly filed the appeal against Allieu Sesay and four others without consideration for prosecutors assigned to the matter.
That the lead prosecutor in the Allieu Vs the State case lawyer Reginald Fynn is related to one Chrispina Fynn a lawyer working for the NRA.
Read page 6 of Allieu Vs ACC High Court’s ruling.
Ademuso Jugdment On Allieu Sesay and Four Others
The prosecution made no attempt to prove the essential ingredient of this offence.
I will here adopt my observations expressed in respect of counts 13 to 30.
There is undeniable evidence before me which I accept that it was PW2 who according to him awarded the contracts in question and not the 1st accused as alleged.
I wish also to observe that the evidence of the 1st accused is clear that contracts were not awarded by him.
He stated categorically that he could only be involved in the award of contracts if they are Le15 million and above.
He added that all the contracts to Fatma Allie Enterprises were below Le15 Million. It would recalled that PW3 (Mr. Charm) testified that he was not involved in the contracts to Fatma Allie Enterprises because the contract were below the threshold of the Public Procurement Act.
That the contract within Le15 million could be dealt with by the procurement Unit without reference to the 1st accused.
The piece of evidence demonstrated that it was not part of the functions or duties of the 1st accused to award the contracts to Fatmata Allie Enterprises for which the 1st accused is being alleged to have abused his position.
I share the view that the charge is misconceived. Without further ado, I acquit and discharge the 1st accused on Counts 31 to 48. 1st accused is accordingly acquitted and discharged on each count.
Turning back to the evidence of PW2. Watching the witness in the witness box he gave me the impression as somebody who had no regard for the truth and refrained from speaking the truth.
My assessment of his answers to questions put to him under cross-examination left me in no doubt that he had no regard even for the Oath he took to speak the truth.
Here was a witness who in one breath gave the impression that he was the confidant of the 1st accused but in another breath that the 1st accused constantly threatened him that he might lose his job if he did not cooperate with him in the procurement process.
He was to ensure that the contracts for ASYCUDA projects were awarded to the 2nd, 3rd and 4th accused person’s companies and/or Enterprise because according to him the 1st accused did not want anyone to mess around with the project.
The witness would also want the court to believe that he was a witness of truth and accept his story which I have no doubt he fabricated that the 1st accused gave him a list of companies to be invited to bid for the contracts but when asked he could not produce the yellow paper bearing the instructions or names allegedly written by the 1st accused.
It would be recalled that the same witness admitted when put to him that he received the 1st accused minutes admonishing the procurement Committee to follow strictly the procurement rules and guidelines.
I find myself unable to believe that it is the same accused who did that called him into a corner and instructed him to bend the procurement rules.
But for the evidence of PW3 this witness would have got away with all his abominable lies.
Here is a witness who admitted BEING long in employment of the NRA telling this court that he never saw let alone being served with a copy of NRA Terms and Conditions of service.
I believe as a fact that this witness finding himself in the procurement Unit turned it to a cesspool of corruption.
This is why it is not a surprise to me that the prepared fake minutes. The prosecution placed too much reliance on the testimony of this witness who was dismissed or his service terminated because of involvement in the procurement process.
I believe as a fact that the 1st accused is more intelligent than what the witness wanted this court to believe that he did. Suffice it to say that believe that PW2 is a double face person and that he had a lot of things to hide than he told the court.
It has to be remembered that the law is well settled that there is no burden on the accused. If there is any burden at all on the accused, it is not to prove anything but to raise any reasonable doubt.
If the accused can raise only such a reasonable doubt he must be acquitted vide Chan Kan alias Chan Kai V The Queen (1952) A.C. 206; john Brown Akosa V. The C.O.P. (1950) 13 WACA 43; George Kwaku Danso & Anor V The King (1950) 13 WACA 16 at p. 18, R.V Hepworth and Farnley (1955) 2 Q.B. 606.
Having gone through the voluminous evidence before me it is disheartening to come to the conclusion that the prosecution’s case is based substantially on speculations and mere guessing.
I have found that the charges against the 1st accused were offences that could not have been committed at his instance. Bearing in mind that the 1st accused is not accused of or charged with the offence of misappropriation of public or donor funds; nor is he charged with the offence of unexplained wealth, I would have thought there was no need for just charging him for offences which the accused persons were not accused of. Finally, I am satisfied enough to say that I have done justice in this case as far as humanly possible. The conclusion I have reached is that the prosecution had has unable to prove any of the charges as laid. The result is that all the accused persons are found not guilty. I acquit and discharge each of them.
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