Thieves on Friday 20th December 2019 between 7.30 and 8.pm opened the vehicle owned by Francis Lahai, whilst it was packed along the Lumley roundabout in Freetown, and stole from his car staff salary of $900 USD, an external hard-drive with eight flash drives containing confidential information of about two hundred foster parents, mobile phones and other items valued at thirty-one million five hundred and seventy-five thousand Leones (Le 31,575,000). Testifying before Magistrate Marke Ngeba at the Pademba Road Magistrate Court in Freetown on Monday 6th January 2020, Lahai who works for the NGO Variety Children, said he packed his vehicle close to Bomba Ice Cream shop at Lumley, and made sure he pressed the central lock hoping that all the doors were locked and went across to purchase potatoes. About five minutes later, he returned and observed that the car door was open and his properties were missing. “That moment was scary”, he said. Suddenly a lady and her brother informed him that they can assist him catch the thieves. They accompanied him to a place called “Wash Car” that night but he could not find the thieves. He left his telephone number with the witnesses and went to make a report at the Lumley Police Station.
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The following day he was called by the lady and her brother, and with police officers, they went to the “Wash Car” and the lady identified four of the suspects. One of them escaped during the process while police arrested the three. However only one of the three was charged to court, and Lahai explained that the reason why only one person was charged was because, during the course of the investigation, over fifty people from “Wash Car” surrounded and threatened the lady. As a result, she backed out of the investigation, and It was only the brother who identified the one accused and made a statement to the police. The accused, Alusine Kamara is facing one count of Larceny and he was not legally represented. The Magistrate said he will not admit the accused to bail due to the testimony of Lahai.
The hearing will continue on 13th January 2020.
By Edna Browne-Dauphine
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