Amb. Alie Kanu, Others In Court Today

 

By Aruna Rashed Toma Bangura

The Prosecution Witness 1 (PW1), Joseph Bockarie Noah, who is Senior Investigation Officer at the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC), recently tendered more documents at the Freetown High Court presided by Justice Miatta Maria Samba with regards an alleged passport syndicate involving erstwhile Sierra Leone Ambassador to the UN, Amb. Alie Ibrahim Kanu, who until his arrest around the US Embassy in Freetown last August, was Chairman of the Independent Media Commission (IMC).

Other accused include the Senior Human Resource Management Officer in the Office of the Administrator and Registrar-General, Alfred Kallon, and the Head of Consular Affairs in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Sulaiman Issa Turay.

Testifying before the court, the PW1 recalled that on 23rd August, 2018, he was on duty at the ACC Headquarters on Gloucester Street, Freetown, when the Director of Investigations, Mrs. Evelyn Kuyateh called a staff meeting during which he was tasked to head and carry out an investigation involving the 1st accused, Alfred Kallon.

He furthered that after critically analyzing from series of intelligent work carried out by them and further analysis during their investigations, they noticed that people who were not supposed to have Service Passports were receiving them from the 1st accused in connivance with other unknown persons who profited from the deal.

The PW1 further told the court that they prepared a search warrant in respect of the 1st accused, adding that during the search, a handbag was found that contained various relevant documents they considered pertinent was seized.

The ACC Senior Investigation Officer continued that they also found purported letters of appointment in favour of eight persons and the author of the purported documents is A.R. Baryoh, former Director General of Human Resource Management Office (HRMO). He added that they also found three sets of letters of request for Service Passports in favour of seven persons with the author as Richard Williams, the current Accountant General in the Ministry of Finance dated 29th June, 2018.

The ACC Senior Investigator also said on 9th July, 2018, the 1st accused requested for ECOWAS Passport in favour of four persons and was authorized by the former Administrator and Registrar General, Mariama S. Kallay, adding that all four persons were contacted to clarify their appointment letters and their signatures but said they all denied the allegations leveled by Alfred Kallon.

The PW1 further noted that based on documents during the search, they carried out another search on the Immigration Department but said they were told by the Chief Immigration Officer, Jaiah Kaikai that auditors from the Audit Service Sierra Leone (ASSL) were in possession of the documents to execute their search with regards applications for service passports which he promised to hand over to them immediately ASSL returned them.

He said the documents were later handed over to them, which he said carefully perused and analyzed, noting that from the lot, thirty-three passports were extracted from the docket and the recipients in favour of the service passport were issued by the 1st accused.

On the service passport, the PW1 said there was a column for recommendations where he said Richard Williams and Mariama S. Kallay recommended most of the passports, adding that both of them were contacted for clarification on the issue.  He said both denied recommending the applicants whom they said were neither staff of the various institutions, nor were they recommended by them for service passport.

The PW1 said as part of their intelligence network, they received a very credible information that the 2nd accused, Amb. Alie Kanu and seven others were to visit the United States Embassy on 12th September, 2018, where they had already applied for visa to attend the 73rd United Nations Session with Sierra Leone service passport, adding that they were eventually arrested on that day and when searched, he said documents relevant to their investigation were found and seized.

He furthered that a search was also conducted at the office of the 2nd accused where he said pertinent documents were found and taken to ACC.

The PW1 also recalled that on 12th September, 2018 when the 2nd accused was searched, they found in his possession a letter addressed to the Consular of the US Embassy which he was the author, adding that they also received documents from Ministry of Foreign Affairs relating to documents addressed to the Immigration Department for the issuance of service passports to certain persons.

He furthered that on 24th August, 2018, the 3rd accused, Sulaiman Issa Turay was contacted to give the investigation team an overview of the Consular Department and their interface with the Immigration Department and it became necessary to obtain statement from him.

The PW1 confirmed that the ACC received from the Chief Immigration Officer a copy of the list of persons entitled to service passport from the 1998 Cabinet list for service passport, adding that they also received correspondences identifying specimens of signature from former HRMO Director General, A.R. Baryoh.

The 1st accused is represented by Selwyn Agibade Nicole Esq., Leonard Taylor Esq. and J.M Jengo for the 2nd accused while Hindolo M. Gevao and J.M. Fornah Sesay for the 3rd accused.

The matter comes up today Wednesday 3rd April, 2019.