By Sahr Eric George
Freetown, SIERRA LEONE – Justice Komba Kamanda has permitted the state prosecution to amend the indictments for Amadu Koita Makalu and eleven others, currently facing treason charges over a failed coup attempt on November 26, 2023.
During the opening of the treason trial, State prosecutors led by Ahmed Bockarie applied for Justice Komba Kamanda’s approval to make amendments to the indictments against the twelve accused individuals, which were initially issued on January 10, 2024.
Interrupting the court clerk from proceeding with the arraignment and reading of charges, Bockarie informed the court about the prosecution’s intention to make amendments concerning the overt acts and the repositioning of the accused persons’ names.
Africanus Sesay, representing the eighth accused person Bai Mahmoud Bangura, expressed surprise at the decision to amend the indictments without prior notice to the defence. He requested an adjournment to confer properly with his client.
Similarly, Pios Sesay, representing the tenth accused person, objected to the prosecution’s decision, finding it insulting. He asked for an adjourned date to discuss the amended indictments with his client.
In response, Bockarie stated that the prosecution acted lawfully, as the legal procedure allows them to serve the defence after the judge adopts the amendments.
After hearing both sides, Justice Kamanda ruled in favour of the prosecution’s application for amendments to the indictments. He directed the prosecution to serve the amended indictments on all accused persons by 1 pm on Friday, February 2, 2023.
Africanus Sesay also raised concerns about Bai Mahmoud’s health condition, which has not improved since his admission to the Male Correctional Centre. However, Justice Kamanda ruled that Sesay must formally submit his application, along with an affidavit, at the next adjourned date.
All accused persons were returned to custody at the Male and Female Correctional Centres in Freetown. The matter was adjourned to Wednesday, February 7, 2024. SEG/2/2/2024