Francis Gabbidon the first Ombudsman of Sierra Leone who was charged by the Anti-Corruption Commission(ACC) and slammed with a 168 counts charge of misappropriation of public funds contrary to law, was yesterday convicted at the High Court by Justice Mary Sey and fined Le 49,200,000 or 5years imprisonment.
Out of the 168 count charges he was found guilty on 164 counts and every one count is Le300, 000 and that totals the fine.
She also stated in her judgment that it also entails a restitution of Le 68,893,310 to the ACC in fourteen (14) days time.
Justice Mary Sey also stated: “what I find overwhelming in this case is the fact that the Office of the Ombudsman had given the accused a chance to serve the society, but he squandered it by allowing himself to be swayed by greed,” while stressing that “if the protector becomes perpetrator, then who will save the system?”
In his plea of mitigation, Francis Gabbidon stated that he is a one parent child and that he does not even know his father. Gabbidon pleaded for mercy and added that his mother is now 89 yrs expecting 90 in October. He said how my mother will feel at her age if her son is to be jailed adding that he is the bread winner of his family. He also expressed appreciation to the prosecuting lawyer, Glena Thompson for her job.
His lawyer Jenkins Johnson thanked the judge for her time and idea she had used in the matter. He pleaded that the judge should temper justice with mercy because his client is no longer a young man at the age of 65yrs. Lawyer Jenkins also pleaded that his client should not be given a custodian sentence.
Justice Mary Sey said she is satisfied with most of the witnesses who testified in the matter and she had trust in them. Justice Sey further stated that said she will not give the accused a custodian sentence considering that it is his first offence.