Cecil Stevens Ansumana stood upright for over an hour as his 85 count charges of misappropriation of public funds was read out to him in the open High Court presided over by Justice Sey.
Dressed in a brown half gown batiq gara Cecil Ansumana could only swing his balance from one foot to the other and raise his head to stare at the ceiling before lowering it to look at the Judge and quietly repeat “Guilty, Guilty, Guilty …” in answer to all 85 count charges.
The former bursar of the St. Josephs Secondary Senior School had been accused of collecting payment as salaries for several individuals to the tune of twenty five million, five hundred and sixty eight thousand, five hundred and thirty seven Leones, while knowing fully well that they were not employees of the School.
Cecil Ansumana who did not have any legal representation told the judge before sentence was passed on him that this was his first job and he was working under authority. He begged for mercy.
Sentencing Mr Ansumana the Judge said she took into consideration the fact that he did not waste the time of the court, and pronounced that he was sentenced to 2 years on each count, which will run concurrently. The alternative she said was three million leones for each count. This amounted to two hundred and fifty five million leones or over sixty years.
Also sentenced was Alex Sesay who had been charged with two counts of impersonating an Anti Corruption Commission official. Again the Judge took into account that he also did not waste the courts time and pleaded guilty. He was sentenced to six months on each charge which should run concurrently or an alternative of ten million leones.
The case of former Establishment Secretary Aiah Chrispin Ngaujah and former permanent Secretary Ministry of Youths and Sports Samuel Kainde Huggins both charged for misappropriation of public funds to the tune of One hundred and two million, seven hundred and seventy thousand, nine hundred and ninety four leones was then called up.
The prosecuting counsel Calvin Mantsebo applied for the trial to be by Judge alone making reference to a certificate issued by the Attorney General and Minister of Justice.
This application was objected to by Defence Counsel for Aiah Ngaujah lawyer J.B. Jenkins Johnston on the grounds that it goes against the constitution of Sierra Leone. He quoted sections of the constitution pointing out that the amended ACC law removed the Attorney general from having anything to do with the prosecution of cases by the ACC. Therefore he said it was improper for the ACC to now involve the AG in such an application.
The prosecuting counsel asked for an adjournment to Friday 27th February 2009 which was granted. Bail was granted to the two men in the sum of fifteen million leones and two sureties.
Then it was the turn of Magistrate Adrian Joseclyn Fisher for whom eleven lawyers made known their representation to defend him. These included J. B Jenkins Johnston the lead counsel, along with Aki Barber, C.F Edwards, Melron Nicol Wilson, Easmon Ngaqui, M.M. Kamara, S.K. Koroma, H.M Gevao, Elvis Kargbo, Julius Nye Cuffie and Leon Jenkins Johnston.
The prosecuting counsel Calvin Mantsebo applied for some amendments of the indictment and was granted. In the 20 count charges which dealt with Misappropriation of public funds, the particulars of offence which dealt with different sums read as such:
“ADRIAN JOSCELYNE FISHER a presiding magistrate at court No. 1 Bo, on a date unknown between 4th June and 30th June 2008, at Bo in the Southern Province of Sierra Leone, misappropriated public funds, by willfully depriving the Government of Sierra Leone of the sum of Le. 150,000.00 out of the sum of Le 250,000.OO fine imposed against AUGUSTINE COLE in a matter intituled C/S 263/08 THE INSPECTOR GENERAL OF POLICE v AUGUSTINE COLE, SULAIMAN BARRIE, MOHAMED SINNEH KARGBO, and BRIMA SORIE SILLAH.”
Again an application was made for trial by judge alone and it was again objected to by lead defense counsel J.B. Jenkins Johnston who adopted his first arguments. The prosecuting counsel also asked for an adjournment which was granted. Bail was given for ten million leones and two sureties.
Equally so on the second charge of accepting an advantage in which it was alleged magistrate Fischer had accepted the sum total of $1600 as inducement for the release of a passport belonging to one Josephine Thompson Power.
The same arguments were adopted on both sides and the case was again adjourned for Friday 27th February. But on the request of the lead defense counsel the judge ordered that the conveyancing documents held by the ACC where Fischer had been on a fifty million bail were to be made available to the court for use in securing the new bail of ten million leones and two sureties.