The release adds that “inasmuch as we commend the current police leadership, may we state that the Internal Discipline Mechanism used for trial was not exhaustive to arrive at the conclusion that out of 300 police recruits, only 13 contravened the Police Disciplinary Code of Ethics and therefore charged with: Disrespectful in Act, contrary to Paragraph 9 Rule 3 of the Discipline Code under the Second Schedule of the Police Discipline Regulations of 2001; Communicating to any unauthorized persons matters of the force without leave from the superior officer; and Conduct to the prejudice of good order and discipline.”
According to the release, “Like in a Military Court Martial, the accused persons were allowed to be represented and where necessary, witnesses were allowed.”
It adds: “We are not calling for same but we are demanding that the dismissed recruits be granted bail. Refusing to grant them bail is a gross violation of their fundamental human rights and an abuse of Act No. 6 of the 1991 Constitution.”
The press release states that pursuant to law, they (police recruits) were entitled to bail which was accordingly applied for by their lawyer – Abdul Karim Koroma through a correspondence dated 8th February, 2018 addressed to the Inspector General of Police and other top police officers. “Detaining without bail is gross violation of my clients’ fundamental human rights and inconsistent with the provisions of our constitution,” said Lawyer Abdul Karim Koroma in his correspondence.
The press release went on to state that “at this crucial time, the action to keep them in custody for more than two weeks without bail is not only bad policing, but undermines Section 79 of the 1965 Criminal Procedure Act.”
On Friday 9th February, 2018, Human Rights Lawyers, Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) and Journalists and family members were at the Court No. 1 before Magistrate Santigie Bangura for more than four hours and the dismissed recruits were never presented as promised by the Criminal Investigation Department (CID), the press release added.
US Citizen in Court over Land Dispute
At the Magistrates Court of Bombali – the land matter which started July 24th 2017 is ongoing between Aisha Yeama Conteh – a US citizen, and Gibrilla Kanu, who represents the Kanu family of Karene village, Teko, Makeni. The matter is presided over by Magistrate John Fornah.
So far, the two sides have made a total of eighteen appearances in the proceedings. Aisha is the appellant while Gibrilla Kanu is defending in representation of the ‘Kanus’ – a prominent family of Karene village.
From January 19th this year, the matter has come up three times before Magistrate John Fornah, who without slammed a two hundred and fifty thousand Leones fine on Gibrilla Kanu, on January 26th for absenteeism. The fine is yet to be paid into the court treasury, according to the Court Clerk.
The court has heard the side of the appellant – Aisha Yeama Conteh, since last year, when she testified and tendered a document dated 31st August 1969. She described the tendered document as the ‘sale agreement’ between her late father – Dr. Hadj Momoh Conteh and late Pa Kapr Loya Kanu.
Aisha contends that her late father had on the aforementioned date, made a part payment of two – hundred Leones (Le200.00) to late Pa Kapr Loya Kanu, remaining a balance payment of four – hundred Leones (Le400.00) for acres of land which allegedly stretches from Teko – off Vetenary Road, right across the Teko River, and through the nearby village Romyanka.
She told the court that she earlier tried to retrieve the property from the Kanu family, to no avail. She added that she then had cause to summons the Kanu family to the late Paramount Chief – Massayele Antham, of the then Makarie -Gbantie Chiefdom, Bombali District, northern Sierra Leone, whom she said advised that the matter be settled amicably, also, to no avail, she maintained.
Aisha testified that she reported the matter to the former State Counsel – Yusuf Koroma. “And the Kanu family was invited, but declined to honor the Counsel’s invitation,” she told the court.
The court discovered that several portions of the disputed land had been sold plus construction work being undertaken by the various purchasers. The court, through the then presiding Magistrate Sheka Papa Kamara, had put a ‘stop work’ order on the disputed land until further notice.
Following heated arguments between lawyers of the two sides, several moves to lift the ban were made by the defense lawyer of the Kanu family, but the lawyer’s submission was turned down by the two magistrates. The defense lawyer – Boniface, went ahead to file, through the High Court in Makeni; an injunction, against the Magistrate Court’s Order, to which the appellant and her lawyer are expected to respond; on Thursday, February 8th 2018, for hearing.
On February 2nd 2018, the court also heard the side of the defendant – Gibrilla Kanu, but for the first time. Kanu, who will be cross-examined by Aisha’s lawyer on the next adjourned date of Friday, February 9th 2018, explained to the court how he came to take over the property after the death of his father – Pa Kapr Loya Kanu and his uncle – Pa Alimamy Kanu, when he was between 24 -25 years old.
He told the court that he is now between 58-59 years old. The defendant Gibrilla Kanu said he could not tell the exact acreage (size) of the disputed land. He explained to the court that he had previously emerged victorious in the matter for three consecutive times; “from the late Paramount Chief’s judgment; the former State Counsel – Yusuf Koroma and the Local Court at Panlap on the outskirts of Makeni City”.
The matter comes up again.