3 July 2012

Sierra Leone: ACC/Aljazeera Case Stalled

The presiding judge of the Freetown High Court No. 2, Justice Abdulai Cham, yesterday stalled the Aljazeera 'timbergate' trial between the Anti-Corruption Commission ACC and Momoh Konte and Alex Mansaray.

While cross examining the ACC prosecutor, who is prosecution witness number one PW 1, Felix Lansana Kabba, the lead defence lawyer Ajibola Manley-Spaine questioned whether the witness asked the defendant whether the $2,000 he collected was a bribe for which he answered in the negative.

The witness also said that before obtaining statement from the accused, they received a documentary film evidence from Aljazeera and all the questions posed to the accused were taken from the documentary. He stated that they never questioned Sorious Samura, the lead ACC witness who had left Sierra Leone last week without completing his cross examinations, on how he made the documentary.

The witness further answered that it was only the contact number of the accused that was given to Bilal, one of the journalists that filmed the investigative documentary for Aljazeera, to hold a meeting with the accused persons Konte and Mansaray. Kabba said the ACC has not obtained any statement from Bilal.

When asked if he knows whether the film concerns an illegal export of timber, Kabba said the documentary showed illegal malpractice, adding that the company involved never mentioned timber for export and that he was not aware that his commission had spoken or obtained statement from Abdul Saran whose name was on the company's list.

Before the adjournment, Manley-Spaine applied for deferring of the questioning of PW1 until they finish with PW2, Sorious Samura.

The matter was adjourned to September 26.

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