Dr. Richard Konteh and others granted bail
On Thursday, 10th July 2014, Mr. Alie Sumah, Dr. Richard Konteh, and Peter Crosby were granted bail by the presiding Magistrate of Court no.2, Magistrate Komba Kamanda in the ongoing Timbergate trial against them.
Before the bail, the prosecution had led their second witness, Mr. Sana Josen Marah, Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Trade and Industry. Mr. Mara tendered various documents copied to him as Permanent Secretary as well as letters written by his Chief Director in the Ministry of Trade relating to the matter.
Mr. Mara confirmed in cross-examination that the documents referred, inter alia, to 30 containers of “value added processed timber”, the exportation of which was never banned by the 2013 Public Notice earlier tendered as exhibit A by the prosecution.
He also confirmed, when further cross-examined by Roland Wright, one of Dr. Richard Konteh’s lawyers, that the said timber was the property of Timbers Harvesters and Processors Company and not owned by an individual; and that the entire process of trying to clear the goods for export was handled by the company itself, of which Alie Sumah is Managing Director.
In tendering exhibit J, the alleged fake letter was challenged by Dr. Konteh’s lawyers as bearing his scanned and fake signature. Mr. Mara said he did not act on the said letter because Timber Harvesters Company never made any request or demand on it.
Mr. Mara further admitted that to his knowledge, all taxes and levies due for payment on 30 containers were complied with, which was in line with Dr. Konteh’s previous directives contained in his letter of 11th February, 2014 (Exhibit B). He admitted in evidence that officials of the Trade Ministry are normally sent to Freetown Ports to monitor the stuffing of the value added timber into containers.
With this kind of evidence, people present in court were at a loss as to where the forgery allegation against Dr. Konteh and conspiracy to defraud the state of its taxes and resources come from! The lawyers said, this looks like a wild goose chase indeed!
The day ended on a joyous mood with Dr. Konteh and the other two accused persons being granted bail on a surety condition of Le1 billion and two sureties each, which the accused later fulfilled and went home.
The matter was adjourned to the 31st July, 2014.
By: Raymond Bai Kamara (Gbanka- Potto Jr.)
Stay with Sierra Express Media, for your trusted place in news!
© 2014, https:. All rights reserved.