By Mohamed Kai
Eleven-staff of the Bank of Sierra Leone have been remanded at the maximum state detention centre in Freetown by Magistrate Albert Moody of court N0.1 in Freetown for allegedly committing grave criminal offences.
All accused persons were charged with the offence of conspiracy to defraud, contrary to law and the particulars of the offences indicated that the alleged criminals conspired with other persons unknown, between 1 April 2017 and 12 July 2017 with intent to defraud the government of Sierra Leone from it needed revenue.
They were also alleged to have facilitated the unofficial movement of huge million of leones, United State dollars , British pound sterling out of the bank of Sierra Leone to the hands of private individuals, by making false representation at the bank, when the bank was occupied with it auction exercise.
Twenty two lawyers represented the accused, but that the head of the defense team, H M Gavoe began by questioning whether the Anti Corruption Commission lawyer, M Sowe who associated with prosecution was providing private legal services in respect of the matter before the court.
He was overruled by magistrate Albert Moody on the grounds that lawyers working for the commission are allowed to associate with the prosecution, with the exception of lawyers employed by the office of the Attorney General and Minister of Justice.
Lawyer Gaveo then proceeded with his argument by informing the jam-packed packed court that he was disappointed at the prosecution for failing to bringing forward witness to testify , considering the fact that the matter was very sensitive and the accused had spent eighteen days at the Criminal Investigation Department headquarter on Pademba road in Freetown.
He stated that it was a big blow for legal profession, wherein the prosecution could not present a single witness to the court to testify in such a very sensitive and much talked about state matter.
Lawyer H M Gavoe applied to the Bench for bail on behalf of his Clients, stating that they were not flight risk, and besides that the charges preferred against his Clients were not in the country’s law books and the magistrate should discharged the matter.
‘The charges are so bad that it cannot be amended and the accused persons are presumed innocent until proven guilty by a competent court of law,’ he concluded.
In his response, the police prosecutor, ASP Samuel Kamara countered that the bench should ignore defense counsel’s application for bail on behalf of all accused persons in the dock, and most importantly it was untimely and would be unfair to the state , if accused were admitted on bail.
He further argued that lawyer Gavoe’s application for bail on behalf of his clients was legally baseless and that if accused persons were granted bail, they would interfere with the prosecution witnesses and the matter was also of public interest.
In the light of both submissions, Magistrate Albert Moody ordered that all accused persons should be relocated to the male and female correctional centers on Pademba road and Jomo Kenyatta road in the west end of Freetown capital.
The eleven alleged fraudsters included, Cecelia Fofanah, Anne Ben Coker, Abdul Ibrahim Samai, Komba Gbolie ,Rebecca Kossonilked, Yayah Hamid Gilbril, Damkawalie Mansaray, Solomon Caulker, Patrick Massaquoi, Albert Jabati, Francis Almamay Sesay and Charles Eric William.
The matter was adjourned to 29 August 2017.