The Deputy Master and Registrar of the Freetown Law Courts, Mohamed S. Samura, yesterday disclosed that the fire accident in the Undersheriff office, engulfed over Le 40m (forty million Leones), while the Chief Fire officer of the Sierra Leone Fire Force, Kamanda Bongey, expressed dissatisfaction over the actions of the police.
According to the Deputy Master and Registrar, Mohamed S. Samura, he was about to go home, when they informed him about smoke coming out from the office of the Undersheriff’s (Fatta Deen Gabisi), which he verified by visiting the scene, adding that he dialled 999, which he thought was still in use by the Fire Force but did not go through and also called the Chief Justice through her cell phone and informed her about the incident within the Court building.
The Deputy Master maintained that, he ordered the people who were around to break the door of the office, in order for them to put out the fire which they completed about 80 percent before the arrival of the Fire Force team, explaining that they were able to protect all the recent documents that were in the office, as only the old and not in use documents were burnt and that when the Undersheriff arrived at the scene, he opened the safe that was in his office as fire blazed out from it.
“According to the Undersheriff, I was informed that the sum of Le 51 million was inside the safe, but we’re only able to retrieve Le 10,485,000(ten million, four hundred and eighty-five thousand Leones) from the safe which had fire burning inside’” he says, disclosing that the money is in the custody of the police officers who are currently investigating the matter.
He said that the Police had already obtained statement from the Undersheriff, Fatta Deen Gabisi.
The Chief Fire Officer, Kamanda Bongey, in an interview inside the Court building, expressed dissatisfaction over the action of the police, stating that the police gave orders to the Court officials to clear the scene, a development which has affected their (Fire Force) proper investigation, as they are yet to ascertain the cause of the fire.
The Chief Fire Officer disclosed that they rely on two theories including ‘arson and electricity’ to complete their investigation, but now that most of the burnt items which they should have relied on, had been taken away from the scene and even the ashes, based of police order, explaining that the police had no business on issues relating to fire, as it is the responsibility of the Fire Force to carry on with the investigations and produce their findings to the police for further investigation.
Kamanda Bongey, said that he informed the Chief Justice about the condition of the burnt office and asked that it should remain as it was until the following day, when they should have continued with their investigation, but that he was surprised to meet the entire office clean, as all the evidence had been taken away by the police.
He described the fire incident as a very bad example that requires in-depth investigation as to how the inside of the safe caught fire and part of the money burnt.
What is interesting about the whole thing is that how the police can give orders for the scene to be cleared without the knowledge of the Chief Fire Force officer or any of his officers and how fire entered inside a safe that was properly locked?
Friday September 26, 2014