Samura Kamara & Others Defence Team Put Up a Strong Fight

Sierra Leone Chancery building in New York.jpg

By Foday Moriba Conteh

The 11th March 2022 marked the ninth appearance of the prospective 2023 Presidential Aspirant of the All People’s Congress Party on two counts charges.

Prior to that sitting, the Lead defence counsel, Pa Momoh Fofanah representing the first accused, Saidu Nallo, on the 10th March 2022 secured a critical ruling against the Anti-Corruption Commission.

During cross examination Lawyer Pa Momoh Fofanah expressed dismay that some vital exhibits submitted to the ACC by accused persons were not tendered in court.

Defence counsel, Pa Momoh Fofanah therefore filed an application for the witness to tender the documents.

The ACC lead Prosecution lawyer, Calvin T. Mansebo objected by arguing that the documents will affect the prosecution, to which the presiding Judge, Honourable Justice Adrian Fisher overruled in favour of  Defence Lawyer Pa Momoh Fofanah.

Lawyer Fofanah then outlined the series of documents one of which was a letter dated 14th December 2017 from the sixth accused Jules Sander Davis, in his capacity as President of the Fair Field Construction Associates. The said letter relates to the contract for the reconstruction and refurbishment of the Sierra Leone Chancery building in New York.

According to the Defence Counsel, the second document was a reply to the said letter which was dated 17 May 2018 signed by the first accused Saidu Nallo as Head of Chancery in New York. By that letter, addressed to the Fair Field Construction Associates, Nallo conveyed the Government of Sierra Leone’s agreement to be a party to the said contract.

The third was a letter dated 21st April 2021 from Fair Field Construction Associates signed by Jules Sander Davis and addressed to Alie Kabba who, in April 2018 was the country’s Minister of Foreign Affairs. By 2019 on late 2020, Kabba was the Government of Sierra Leone’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations in New York.

Worthy of note is that the third letter is a summary of payment received by Fairfield Construction Company from the Government of Sierra Leone through its Chancery in New York.

The fourth document requested by the Defence is a letter dated 30th July 2019 from the Senior Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Works and Public Assets, signed by Engineer Paul Bockarie, addressed to the Director – General and Ambassador at Large, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation. This fourth letter relates to “site monitoring for additional work of two floors of the chancery building in New York.

The other document is a letter dated 1st August 2019 from the Director – General in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, addressed to the Head of Chancery in New York. It was signed by Agnes Bayoh for and on behalf of the Director – General of the Foreign Ministry.

This other letter, according to lawyer Fofanah, conveyed the approval of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs for the said project. Counsel for the First Accused continued that ALL the said documents are “materially germane” to the case and central to absolving his client of any wrongdoing. Pa Momoh Fofanah emphasized that his client had submitted those document to the ACC because he relied on those documents to prove, among other things, that he received instructions from his bosses in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to enter into transaction agreement for the reconstruction of the Chancery building in New York.

The First Accused Defence Counsel further argued that the documents will also show that contrary to the allegation of misappropriation proffered against the first accused, the funds have been acknowledged by the Fairfield Construction Company as shown by receipts of various payments. The said receipts were conveyed to the ACC through a letter signed by Jules Sander Davis, President of Fairfield Construction Associates.

Lawyer Fofanah made the point that the sixth accused ,Jules Davis, was not doing things on his own rather he was acting for and on behalf of his company. The Defence therefore submitted that it is better for the said documents to be tendered maintaining how they would be helpful in making his case and even that of the Prosecution easier. The Defence made this submission pursuant to Section 190 of the Criminal Procedure Act of 1965.

Objecting, the ACC Prosecutor, Calvin T. Mansebo argued that if the Defence is allowed to use the said documents it will amount to interfering with the Prosecution’s case.

When asked by Hon Justice Fisher if the documents tendered will hinder the Prosecution, Mansebo replied that it will not hinder their case but it is something unusual as the Defence cannot tender documents through their witness rather; the author of the documents should tender them before the court.

But Lawyer Fofanah drew attention to the fact that though the Prosecution had spoken lengthily about the law he did not quote or refer to any section in supporting his defense.

In his ruling, Hon Justice Fisher said the documents in question were presented by the first accused to the ACC who used them as part of their investigation and to build the case. And so the Judge said that the Prosecution should have tendered them before the court during their Examination in Chief.

Patiently to guide the Prosecution on the need for the documents to be tendered, the learned Judge asserted that if the documents are not tendered it will put a burden on the Prosecution’s effort to prove the guilt of the accused. Justice Fisher further pointed out that the witness is the custodian of the documents and so he has the right to tender them. Hon Justice Fisher therefore ruled that the said documents be tendered by the Defence through the Prosecution.

The documents were tendered before the court and Defence Lawyer, Pa Momoh Fofanah, continued cross examination of the ACC PW1, Joseph Bockarie Noah.

During  the March 10)hearing, Pa Momoh Fofanah, Defense Lawyer representing the first Accused, Saidu Nallo made a submission that letters indicating payments to  the contractor and approval for additional two floors be admitted in evidence. This, he said will among other things contradict allegations of misappropriation by the  1st accused.
The ACC prosecutor, Calvin Matebo objected to that on the grounds of procedures and the potential for the documents to hinder or interfere in their case.
Justice Fisher overruled the objection on the grounds the documents, which had originated from the Prosecution and was used in the investigation must equally serve as evidence in the matter.


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