The Court of Appeal on the 12th December, 2023 ordered the immediate arrest of former Presidential Candidate of the All Peoples Congress (APC), Dr. Samura M.W. Kamara and ordered the Undersheriff to hand him over to the Anti-Corruption Commission for investigation over his involvement in a “shady and secret deal” involving the sale of shares owned by the Government of Sierra Leone in Sierra Rutile Limited (SRL).
Honourable Justice Ivan Sesay (JA), presiding, Honourable Justice Alhaji Mohamed Momoh-Jah Stevens (JA) and Honourable Justice Fisher (J) unanimously ordered the Appellant (Dr. Samura Kamara) to refund to the Government of Sierra Leone the sum of USD 727,364.00 within fourteen (14) days or provide evidence of the loan agreement entered into by the Government of Sierra Leone with SRL in 1992.
It could be recalled that the Commissions of Inquiry were set up by the President of Sierra Leone, His Excellency Dr. Julius Maada Bio, in line with Constitutional Instrument No. 64 of 2018, pursuant to Section 147 of the Constitution of Sierra Leone, Act No. 6 of 1991.
Justice Sir Biobele Georgewill was appointed Chairman and Sole Commissioner charged with the responsibility to investigate allegations of widespread corruption and abuse of office, as well as to examine the assets and other related matters of persons who served in the previous administration from November 2007 to April 2018.
Represented by Ady Macauley Esq., Dr. Samura Kamara appealed against the decision of the Commission of Inquiry on the following grounds: “that the Sole Commissioner erred in law and acted in violation of Section 150 of the Constitution of Sierra Leone when he proceeded to conduct the Commission of Inquiry without the rules prescribed by the Rules of Court Committee to regulate the practice and procedure of all Commissions of Inquiry, to be prescribed by the Rules of Court Committee as provided for under Section 150 of the said Constitution.”
In his seven grounds of appeal, Lawyer for the Appellant argued that
the adverse findings and recommendations against his client that are contained in Chapter Two of Volume 1 of the Report relating to the sale of shares in Sierra Rutile Company (SL) Ltd are against the weight of the evidence presented at the inquiry, adding that facts and evidence adduced and available to the Hon. Justice Biobele Georgewill during the proceedings did not support his specific findings of fact.
On behalf of the State, Robert Baoma Kowa Esq. told the Court that the Sole Commissioner did not violate Section 150 of the Constitution, adding that, “Section 45(2) of the now repealed Government Budgeting and Accountability Act 2005 states that every vote controller shall comply with any financial instructions or direction given by the Minister.”
According to Lawyer Kowa, the sales agreement was not properly communicated to the necessary authorities and there was non-compliance with legislation at the time of the sale of the Government shares, which include the Government Budgeting and Accountability Act 2005 and the 1991 Constitution.
In their 25-page judgment, the Court of Appeal Judges dismissed Dr. Samura Kamara’s appeal, reiterating that even the former Permanent Secretary was not aware of the sale of 30% shares belonging to the Government of Sierra Leone.
“There is no documentation on the sale but there is a document between the Bank of Sierra Leone and Sierra Rutile company,” the Court of Appeal Judges unanimously ruled, noting that, “the sale of the shares was conducted in 2012 during the tenure of the Appellant as the former Minister of Finance and the amount paid into the consolidated revenue fund amounted to $12,000,000.00.”