By Sahr Eric George
Freetown, SIERRA LEONE – Three employees of Emzor Pharmaceuticals Industry, facing charges of larceny, have been granted bail at a Magistrate Court in Freetown. Each of the accused individuals received a bail amount of one hundred thousand New Leones (NLe).
The accused employees made their second appearance in court to respond to two counts of charges, involving conspiracy and larceny of drugs valued at NLe 403,362, which were the property of Emzor Pharmaceuticals Industries in Freetown.
In his testimony led by Chief Superintendent of Police (CSP) Juan Bull, Olanreweju Erinle introduced himself as the Country Manager of Emzor Pharmaceuticals Industries. He recounted that on October 10 of the current year, he received information from the Inventory officer about missing drugs from the warehouse.
Upon receiving this information, Erinle stated that they conducted a visit to the warehouse located on Walpole Street and discovered no signs of forced entry or damage to the warehouse. However, they found several products missing, including Lok Mal, Folic Acid, and Zolat tablets, among others.
Upon discovering the missing drugs, Erinle indicated that they convened a meeting with the accused employees to inquire about the missing items. However, all the accused denied any knowledge of the missing drugs.
Erinle further informed the court that he alerted the Criminal Identification Department (CID) Headquarters in Freetown. The police subsequently visited the office and questioned the accused individuals, who continued to deny any involvement. The police confiscated the phones of the accused, and a search was conducted at their homes.
Erinle revealed, “I was informed by one of the staff that I needed 3 cartons of Folic Acid, but he revealed to me that it was the third accused person who sold it to him.” Consequently, the third accused was arrested based on this information.
Additionally, Erinle received information from a neighbor regarding the first and second accused individuals, leading to their arrest by the police. Erinle himself provided a statement to the police at the CID Headquarters in Freetown.
During cross-examination, conducted by defense lawyer S. Conteh, Erinle clarified that his statements in court were based on information from the Inventory officer and his own investigation. He affirmed that the warehouse was not compromised but that the drugs were indeed missing. He also confirmed that he had called the police.
In response to questions about the warehouse keys, Erinle explained that they were always kept in the office. He also confirmed the presence of other importers of Folic Acid in the country.
Sorie Bangura, the third prosecution witness, testified that he is a security guard employed by the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA). He recounted that on October 10 of the current year, he received information from Aminata about the missing drugs. Subsequently, he informed her that he had seen the first and third accused individuals with a tricycle (Kekeh) and observed them collecting some cartons.
Bangura was later called to the Country Manager’s office, where he provided the same information. He subsequently provided a statement to the police at the CID Headquarters.
During cross-examination by lawyer Conteh, Bangura confirmed that he had been working as a security guard at the NDLEA for twelve years. He clarified that he had observed the accused persons taking cartons but could not identify their contents.
When asked if the first and third accused had any direct involvement with the cartons’ contents, Bangura indicated that he was unable to determine this, as he was not an employee of Emzor Pharmaceuticals.
Lawyer Conteh renewed his bail application on behalf of all the accused persons. Magistrate Ngegba granted each accused person bail in the amount of two hundred thousand New Leones, with one surety each. The sureties must be gainfully employed, possess title deeds not less than 100 thousand New Leones, and hold a National Civil Registration Authority (NCRA) identity card.
The matter was adjourned to November 16, 2023. SEG/3/11/2023