Samura Kamara vs ACC: Prosecution Accused of ‘Trial by Ambush’

The 1st Accused Saidu Nallo’s Defence Counsel, Pa Momoh Fofanah, has Monday 7 March 2022, commenced Cross Examination in the case between the Anti – Corruption Commission (ACC), Dr Samura Kamara and three others.Saidu Nallo was, between December 2017 and late 2021, the Head of Chancery in the Sierra Leone Embassy in New York (NY), the United State of America (USA). On November 23 2021, Nallo and four others, were indicted on 46 Count Charges ranging from ‘Failure to Follow Procurement Process’, ‘Misappropriation of Public Funds’ and ‘Misleading a Principal’Sitting in the Sierra Leone High Court No 1, Honourable Justice Adrian Fisher presided over a grueling Cross Examination of the ACC’s First Prosecution Witness (PW1) Noah Bockarie.Trial By AmbushThe Defence Counsel started off by informing the court that documents submitted as Exhibits to the ACC by the 1st accused were not tendered in evidence. In his cross examination of PW1, the Defence underscored that the said documents relate to the Contract which, as he put it, is the fundamental basis upon which the Prosecution’s investigation rest. Defence Counsel also put it to PW1 that the First Accused provided those particular documents as evidence which he relied on for his defense and that the Prosecution’s non – disclosure of such important Exhibits amounted to Trial by Ambush’. Pa Momoh Fofanah therefore requested the Prosecution to produce the said Exhibits, urging them to adhere to the good practice of ‘Full and Frank Disclosure’.In a methodic and systematic manner, Defence Counsel strived to unbundled the Prosecution’s case. He did sl by tendering evidence that showed compliance with procurement processes, proper disbursement of funds and full disclosure to and authorization by Cabinet.Cabinet Approved the ProjectOn whether the Accused had authorization to proceed with the project, the Defence Counsel first sought to establish that the rehabilitation was a matter of urgency. With Exhibits,  the Defence put it to PW1 that the Authorities in New York had written to the Sierra Leone Permanent Mission in New York warning them to ensure that the frontage of the Building in question should be enhanced and that steps be taken to prevent further deterioration of the utilities. The latter, according to the exhibits, was to avoid any negative impact on the community.In further cross examination, the Defence PW1 admitted to the evidence in Exhibits H1-25 and specifically Exhibits H/13&14, which are the Minutes of the said Cabinet Conclusion. PW1 also to admitted that the Contract commenced based on a Cabinet  Memorandum contained in Minutes of a Cabinet Paper of the Government of Sierra Leone (GoSL) dated 22 June 2016.PW1 Further agreed that in the said Minutes, the Contractor, Fairfield Construction Company, was presented to Cabinet in June 22 2016 and that Cabinet did approve the project for the rehabilitation and refurbishment of the Chancery building of the GoSL Permanent Mission to the UN in New York. This, according to the said Minutes, included the option to add two more floors. By the court admission of PW1, the Contract was signed on 1st December 2016, clearly establishing the authority of and approval by Cabinet for MFAIC to proceed with the project

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