ACC Suffers Serious Setback in Trail of Samura Kamara & Others
The high profile case between the State, represented by the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC), and four others continued in Freetown, Monday 7 March 2022 at High Court No.1 (of the Republic of Sierra Leone).
The accused, including Dr Samura Kamara, the leading contender for the presidential ticket of the main opposition All Peoples Congress party, are standing trial on 46 Counts Charges for alleged ‘Misappropriation of Public Funds’, Failure to Comply with Procurement Processes’, Deceiving a Principal among others.
Presided over by Justice Adrian Fisher, First Accused, Saidu Nallo’s Lead Defence Counsel Pa Momoh Fofanah, commenced a punishing cross examination of the ACC’s First Prosecution Witness (PW1), Joseph Bockarie Noah.
Throughout his cross examination of PW1, the Defence sought to demonstrate the inadmissibility of the Prosecution’s evidence as contained in the Assessment Report done and presented by the ACC itself. The Report highlights the progress made in the rehabilitation and refurbishment of the chancery building of Permanent Mission of Sierra Leone to United Nations in New York.
On the ACC Assessment and Investigation Mission to New York, PW1, led in evidence by Counsel, told the court that on July 2021, the ACC constituted and dispatched a team of investigators and assessors to New York.
The team included the Head of Operations at the ACC, Emmanuel Quavia Amara; the Head of Works at the Ministry of Works and Public Assets, Engineer Paul Bockarie; as well as two Senior Investigators of the ACC in the persons of Dixon and Sitta.
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Further, Defence Counsel tendered as Exhibit a Cabinet Decision on the joint monitoring and supervision of the project and asked PW1 whether the ACC interviewed all the institutions listed in the Cabinet Conclusion for participation in that exercise.
The said ministries and agency were the Ministry of Foreign Affairs & International Cooperation, Ministry of Finance & Economic Development, Attorney General’s Office and the National Public Procurement Authority. PW1 responded that only some of them were interviewed while others simply sent back comments to the ACC. This clear admission that not all the institutions listed in the Cabinet Conclusion were interviewed.
From Exhibit AK/P1-23 20/10 2019 tendered in court by the Defence, it was also clear that Engineer Bockarie had been to New York on an assessment of progress of implementation of the same project and had produced a report dated October 2019.
According to this report which was admitted in evidence, Engineer Bockarie stated that the project’s implementation was at 70 percent.
This rate clearly contradicts the ACC’s own report prepared by a team including Engineer Bockarie. That ACC August 2021 report presented a project implementation rate of 47 percent.
This contradiction in the two reports as contained in Exhibits W16&17, tend to suggest that the ACC trip to New York was more or less a jolly ride which ended in a bungled investigation outcome.
The blatant contradictions in Engineer Bockarie’s progress report of October 2019 and the ACC’s own of August 2021 of the same project could prove extremely useful and crucial to the case.
This is owing to the fact that the Chancery building project in New York is the basis for the trial of the five accused.