10 January 2019

Liberia: State Lawyers Ends Submission of Evidence in Trafficking Case

Monrovia — The ongoing trafficking case before the Criminal Court "A" at the Temple of Justice involving Hawa Bangura, a Sierra Leonean woman, has taken a twist as the Defendant is expected to take the witness stand on her own behalf on Friday, January 11, 2019.

She is expected to argue against the human trafficking charge levied against her by the state. If found guilty, Bangura will serve a prison term for the period of 10 years.

She may also appeal to the Supreme Court against any guilty ruling.

Her appearance on the witness stand comes after state lawyers announced Wednesday, January 9, 2019 that they were resting with the production of both oral and documentary evidence after putting on the witness stand nine witnesses.

All nine witnesses, who have so far testified on behalf of the prosecution, have linked the Defendant to the alleged plan to sell two other Sierra Leonean nationals she brought into Liberia.

Famata Kanu, 37, and her daughter Kadiatu Kromah were alledgelly brought to Liberia by the defendant.

"At this stage state lawyers begged to inform this court that they have rest with the production of oral and material evidence in this case with the right to produce a rebuttal witness if the need arises," said Cllr. Wesseh Anthony Wesseh, Chief Prosecutor and Assistant Justice Minister for Litigation.

At the same time, the Chief Prosecutor told the court that the prosecution has also contended to amend the indictment drawn against Defendant Bangura by the Grand Jury of Montserrado County sitting in its February 2018 Term.

Prosecution is specifically calling for the amendment of count 12 of the indictment.

Count 12 states that the Defendant "purposely and/ or knowingly engaged in the sale and human trafficking of Famata Kanu and Kadiatu Kromah in violation of Title 26, Chapter 14, Section 14.55 of the Penal Law of the Republic of Liberia".

The amended indictment, according Cllr. Wesseh, was now stated as "the Defendant purposely, knowingly engaged in the sale and human trafficking of female Famata Kanu, Kadiatu Kromah in violation of Section 100 and Section 7 of the human trafficking law of the Republic of Liberia against the peace and security of the Republic of Liberia."

"Wherefore, and in view of the foregoing prosecution application to amend the indictment is in good faith and not intended to jeopardize the defendant in the dock," Cllr. Wesseh stated.

Defendant Bangura was arrested on November 30, 2017 in the Banjor Community by police through the Community Chairman Molley Passewe after it was alleged from a tip-off by a motorcyclist that she had planned to two persons. Court record in the possession of FrontPage Africa states that the two alleged victims were brought into the country by Defendant Bangura.

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