Philanthropist Implicates Custom Officers

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The witness said she recognized the two accused persons as Custom Officers, and recalled the incident on dates unknown between December 2018 and February 2019.

She further testified that between those periods she was the Manager of an Orphanage in the northern district headquarter town of Makeni called West African Cotton Company Limited.

According to the witness, Ester Kanu told the court that whiles in Makeni, she received a telephone call from Allan Jenks in United Kingdom, who informed her to travel to Freetown, as she had shipped a container loaded with used items for her orphanage with some personal effects.

She narrated that the following morning she travelled to Freetown to meet with her boss, Juan Ryes for the clearing of the said container at the Queen Elizabeth Quay 11, but they could not clear the container at the Quay at that particular time, until in February 2019.

The witness also intimated the court her boss, Juan Ryes later instructed her through her mobile phone to travel to Freetown and collect the contents in the container, after her boss had paid the official fee in the sum of seven thousand, five hundred United State dollars to officials at Bollore.

“The container was scanned, unsealed and officials at Bollore even assisted in opening it, before items like sea boat, one blue motor bike, books, toys and used clothing were found in it,” Ester Kanu told the court.

She went on to say that both accused persons, Ahmed Karim and Mary Bayna later told them to move out with the sea boat and silver trailer outside the Quay.

After we have taken away the sea boat and silver trailer outside the Quay, the witness continued both accused persons approached her boss, Juan Ryes and demanded for the sum of four million Leones, as extra fee for the clearing of the said container.

 She further narrated that she negotiated and pleaded with the two former Custom Officers, Ahmed Karim and Mary Banya and that, they ended up giving them the sum of two million, five hundred thousand Leones.

Concluding, Ester Kanu stated that she saw the first accused, Ahmed Karim receiving the sum of two million, five hundred thousand Leones from her boss, Juan Ryes in the baggage room, but never recognized the third accused, Momoudu Sowe throughout their transaction with the first and second accused persons.

The three accused persons are facing four count charges ranging from soliciting an Advantage to Accepting an Advantage, contrary to Section (28) sub Section (2) of the Anti Corruption Commission Act N0.12 of 2008.

The state was represented by Barrister J.T. Deen Tarawalie and Hon. Justice Simeon Allieu adjourned the matter to Tuesday 29th October 2019.