SIERRA LEONE, Freetown – As he testified, the second prosecution witness, led in evidence by state prosecutor, Y. I. Sesay Esq, the regional commander North East Region, AIG Gabriel G. Tommy told the court that his duties are to oversee the general officers duties within the region and ensuring law and order, safety, and security for the people in the region. He added that his overseeing encompasses districts including Falaba, Koinadugu, Karene, Bombali and Tonkolili respectively together with seven police divisions, in Makeni.
According to him, he moved from Makeni in the morning hours to Magburaka based on a discussion he had with the second accused, adding that the Vice President Juldeh Jalloh was on a working visit since the 9th June, 2022 in Sambaia Bendugu, Bumbuna and Feregbeya axis respectively.
“On the 10th June 2022, I was informed that the APC party were having a rally and as that, I told the second accused to schedule the rally on the 11th June 2022. Whilst I was aware that the Vice President was there, I went and instructed my men to mount a checkpoint at Mathora. At the check point, the second accused arrived in her vehicle but prior to that, I told my officers to search any vehicle that reaches the checkpoint. Her vehicle was searched by my bodyguards, James Sesay who told me that the said vehicle was carrying the second accused who immediately alighted from the vehicle followed by two men and two ladies. I then instructed my bodyguard to open the checkpoint for them to pass, adding that, that day was their turn to rally and nothing would stop that. The second accused said she would bulldoze and the war SLPP need would begin there,” he explained.
Tommy furthered that he tried to talk to the second accused but she was adamant and angry and those following her started using invectives and threatened to uplift the check point. “The number at the checkpoint started increasing and I called Makeni for reinforcement because the security situation at the checkpoint became very tense as the number of APC supporters increased. One of those I saw among the crowd was the first accused, Mohamed Bangura. He was standing in the middle of the road at the checkpoint and they were demonstrating and chanting that there would be war and they would clear anyone that goes their way. I tried to prevent them from crossing the checkpoint but the first accused insisted by all means to pass the checkpoint,” he stated.
Tommy said the first accused went close to him and put his hand on his neck and at that time, stakeholders of the APC party arrived including Samura Kamara, Yansaneh, and others.
According to the witness, Samura spoke to him to step aside and also interrogated him why he was refusing to let the people pass. “I responded that it is because of security reasons being that the Vice President was at that axis,” the witness mentioned.
Tommy added that the crowd immediately uplifted the checkpoint and passed through and whilst he was standing in the middle of the road, the vehicle AMF 852 arrived in front of him and all sort of insults and threat were referred to him by the crowd. He said both accused were in the vehicle AST 632, and they used insulting words against him and a certain lady that was with them in the back seat said “Mr. Jalloh ride over him, don’t you hear Mohamed Bangura instructing you to go,” adding that the driver therefore drove the vehicle and hit him on his knee and he tried to stop him.
He said his bodyguard James Sesay and Inspector Kabba were at his side when the driver moved against him and hit him over but his bodyguard pulled him off from the road and the crowd burst into their APC song. “Being concerned about the security at Feregbeya where the Vice President was, I called the Inspector to be alert and prevented the APC supporters to go beyond that point,” he further mentioned. PW2 said after a phone call with the LUC in Bumbuna, he went there and ensured that the place was safe and he however escorted the Vice President out of his region, adding that he went and made a report to the Mena Police Division in Makeni where he was issued a police medical request form and same was endorsed.
Under cross examination by the defense counsel, Lansana Dumbuya Esq. for the first accused, PW2 confirmed that the Vice President, Juldeh Jalloh, was at Bumbuna on that day. He disagreed with Lawyer Dumbuya that the APC did not tell him that they were going to Sambaia Bendugu, adding that he cannot tell if Ferengbeya is located in constituency 056. He furthered that he spoke to ECSL and PPRC for the security of the Vice President, adding that he disagreed with them on the peaceful nature of the rally by the APC party. He stated that he did not call the first accused when he arrived at the checkpoint but approached him politely. “The vehicles that arrived at the checkpoint were unimaginable, the incident occurred in the morning hours, the first accused was on the road and after they hit him everything went out of control,” Tommy told the court,
In continuation of the cross examination by Brima Koroma Esq., for the second accused, PW2 confirmed that he prevented the APC supporters from going about their rally and that it was for the remarks of the second accused on the 10th June, 2022 that made him to mount a checkpoint. He confirmed that the second accused told him that they were going on a rally at Constituency 056. According to him, Bumbuna was peaceful but there was tension there and affirmed that the PPRC regulates the activities of political parties inclusive of rallies and electioneering campaigns. The witness stressed that in terms of security threats, the police is being involved in political activities. He further confirmed that the second accused used insulting words against him, adding that she prevented him from doing his lawful duties.
Also, led in his evidence by Y.I. Sesay Esq, the third prosecution witness, Inspector Ibrahim Kabba attached to the Makeni police division said he knows PW2 as his boss and regional commander of North East. He recognized the accused persons and further recalled the 11th June 2022, adding that on that day, he was at home when he received a telephone call from superintendent Ngaya.
“Based on the information, I left for the station and upon my arrival, I met Superintendent Ngaya who informed me that they had special duty at Mathora and went further to say that VP was at Bumbumna and that we should form special duty. I and other police officers including Superintendent Ngaya left the station with Vehicle number SLP 170. Upon our arrival, we met both accused persons, AIG Tommy and other police officers at the checkpoint. AIG Tommy ordered us to mann the checkpoint and not to allow any vehicle to pass through because VP was there” the witness narrated.
“Whilst we were manning the checkpoint, I saw Dr. Samura Kamara who went to AIG to plead with him in order to allow them pass through but he AIG Tommy refused, saying that he will only do so after the VP has passed through. The witness said whilst Kamara was speaking to AIG, he saw the first accused who came with a phone saying that former IGP wants to speak to him,” the witness continued.
According to him, AIG asked the first accused to put the phone on loud speaker which he did and whilst they were talking, the former IGP instructed AIG Tommy not to allow any vehicle pass through. “Whilst the conversation was ongoing between Samura Kamara and the AIG, first and second accused told him not to beg the AIG and that they are going to use force to pass through the checkpoint. After they had made those utterances, AIG went in front of the checkpoint and whilst he was standing, the first accused ordered his driver to move the vehicle which he did in a very rash manner and hit AIG Tommy but by then, his national security who was standing by drew him from the scene for the vehicle not to hit him. As they were going, they started using insulting languages on AIG Tommy and drove off,” he said. The witness said he and other police officers boarded a vehicle and went to Makeni.
During Cross examination the witness said he would not be surprised to know that AIG Tommy did not say that first accused abused his mother. “I was at the edge of the checkpoint, I had firm instructions not to leave the edge of the checkpoint as the only order I received was to mann the checkpoint,” he stated,
When he was asked as to who lifted the checkpoint, the witness said it was the speed of the first accused person’s vehicle they saw coming that prompted them to lift the checkpoint, adding that he left together with the AIG to Makeni where the AIG alone went to the hospital.
At the conclusion of the witness’s testimony, the prosecutor applied for a date to bring his next witness. Followed by that, Lawyer J F Kamara applied for bail on behalf of the accused persons noting that the constitution accords preference to the first accused person. J. F. Kamara Esq continued that “Detention in prison will deprive his people from being represented. The offenses for which he was charged are miscellaneous which so many people have been granted bail. The second accused person is the chairperson of Tonkolili district and her presence is highly needed,” Kamara Esq further noted.
The prosecutor in reply said the prosecution relied on the virtue of the affidavit in opposition to bail. Sesay Esq added that the law is not a respecter of anybody, adding that law is not a Member of Parliament nor a chairperson of a district. “The nature of the offenses are very serious,” he said.
Magistrate Ngegba having listened to both sides refused bail and adjourned the matter to Thursday, 15th of September, 2022.
It could be recalled that Mohamed Bangura, a politician and Yabom Sesay, APC Chair Lady of Tonkolili District are before Magistrate Mark Ngegba of Pademba road court No.1 in Freetown for five counts to wit assault on police, insulting behavior, intimidation, riotous conduct and obstruction of police duty. PSN/14/9/2022