Police alleged that the accused persons collected the sum of two hundred thousand Leones, including quantity of drinks from residents of 8 Bolling Street at Kingtom, after they had tampered with their meter boxes, on the pretext of undertaking routine auditing/monitoring of Electricity Distribution and Supply Authority meter locations in Freetown.
The charges preferred against the accused persons, negate Section (3) Cap (34) of the amended Act by Section (4) of Act (13) of 1995, but were admitted to bail in the sum of twenty million Leones each, in addition to two sureties who should be citizens resident in Freetown. Bail is to be approved by the Deputy Assistant Master and Registrar.
Testifying in court, the first prosecution witness, Christian Pessima said he is a staff of Electricity Distribution and Supply Authority, attached to the Technical and Audit Unit of EDSA.
He informed the court that he recognized the accused persons in the dock and vividly recalled between Thursday 10 May 2018 and Friday 11 May 2018.
According Christian Pessima, on the aforementioned dates, he was at home when he received a telephone call from Mr. Cole informing him to report at his office.
He added that on his arrival, his boss told him that he had received intelligence from residents of 8 Bolling Street at Kingtom, that a group of young men who identified themselves as staff of Electricity Distribution and Supply Authority had gone to their premises to audit and monitor their meter boxes and that they collected the sum of two hundred thousand Leones and a quantity of soft drinks.
“Based upon the intelligence, I led a team of personnel to No.8 Bolling Street where the residents explained what had transpired between them and the accused persons,” the witness stated.
He further informed the court that on Friday 11th May 2018, his boss Mr. Cole instructed him together with colleague staff to storm one of the accused person’s premises at Congo Town just after the Congo Town Bridge, as he had received another telephone call from residents, that the accused persons had gone to their premises and identified themselves as staff of Electricity, Distribution and Supply Authority, before tampering with their meter boxes.
The witness added that on their arrival at Congo Town, the team located the said premises, where they met the second accused Augustine Brewah, third accused Mohamed Barrie and fourth accused Mohamed Kargbo at the said premises, and that the accused persons were identified to them by the residents.
As a result of this, he went on to say that the investigating team marched the accused persons into their vehicle and brought them down to the Authority’s headquarters at Siaka Stevens Street in Freetown.
He went on to state that the second accused, Augustine Brewah was carrying a bag and when they conducted a search, the team discovered one meter box and four meter cards; which the second accused confessed that the said meter box was given to him for safe keeping by the first accused, Lamin Suma.
Christian Pessima also testified that the accused persons were detained at the Criminal Investigation Department headquarter in Freetown, after statements were obtained from them, before they were eventually charged to court.
Magistrate Santigie adjourned the matter to 8 June 2018.