By Sahr Eric George
Freetown, SIERRA LEONE – Amadu Koita Makalu finds himself at the centre of a legal storm, charged with multiple offences related to the failed coup attempt on November 26 last year. Koita, along with 11 others, faced preliminary investigations at Pademba Road Magistrate Court No 2 before Magistrate Santigie Bangura. According to section 136 of the Sierra Leonean constitution, they were subsequently sent to the High Court yesterday through an order issued by Justice Komba Kamanda on January 10, 2024.
At their initial appearance and arraignment in the High Court, all twelve accused individuals, including Koita, were formally charged. The list of respondents in court comprised Amadu Koita Makalu, Mohamed Jalloh, Sergeant 10020 Mohamed Sallue Kamara, Ramatu Kamanda Conteh, Alimatu Hassan Bangura, Hassan Leigh, Mohamed Wurie, Assistant Superintendent of Police (ASP) Ibrahim Sesay, Tamba Yamba, Kabba Kamara, Abdul Sorie Hassan, and Kabba Kamara.
State counsel Ahmed J. Bockarie led the prosecution, presenting Detective Inspector Abu Bakarr Kargbo from the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) as a witness. Kargbo testified regarding the warrant of arrest against Koita and the other eleven accused.
According to Kargbo, he received a High Court order on January 10, 2024, instructing the arrest of Amadu Koita Makalu on charges of treason, murder, and shooting with intent to kill. Confirming Koita’s arrest at the Pademba Road Magistrate Court in Freetown, Kargbo detailed that Koita faced two counts of treason, six counts of murder, and one count of shooting with intent to kill.
During the court proceedings, Sigismund A. Konteh, the lead counsel defending Koita, raised concerns about Koita’s conditions at the Male Correctional Centre. Konteh informed the court that Koita was held in solitary confinement for 23 hours and thirty minutes daily, deprived of sunlight and basic privileges, which Konteh argued violated his client’s fundamental human rights.
In response, Konteh sought an order from Justice Komba Kamanda to ensure Koita receives fair treatment in line with other inmates. “Even plants need sunlight to grow well; let them at least give him access to sunlight,” Konteh requested.
Represented by Sigismund A. Konteh, A. A. Sesay, and A. R. Gbla in court, Koita faced prosecution led by Ahmed J. M. Bockarie, Aruna Jalloh, E. A. Williams, M. K. Johnson, and T. A. Zizer. In response to Konteh’s application, Bockarie acknowledged the Correctional Centre’s procedures but did not dismiss the concerns raised.
Ady Macaulay, representing the third respondent, highlighted challenges in having a proper conference with his client due to bureaucratic hurdles at the Correctional Centre.
After hearing both sides, Justice Kamanda ruled that the Director General of the Correctional Centre must be given the opportunity to be heard. He also instructed the defence counsels to file affidavits detailing their complaints for the next adjourned date, scheduled for January 16, 2024. SEG/12/1/2024