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High Court frees former Deputy Chief Immigration Officer over passport allegations

 

By Unissa Bangura

It has taken twelve adjournments since the five civil servants commenced their trial at the High Court before Justice Abdulai Sheik Fofanah on a single charge of Conspiracy. The adjournment dates which are all under the instance of the Prosecution can be best described as flouting the Law Officers Department’s rules.

 

The five civil servants, namely Former Deputy Chief Immigration Officer Anthony B. Aruna, Patrick Cullen also of the Immigration Department, Johnson W.S. Kargbo, Richard B. Konie, Sahr Tengbeh both employees of the Births and Deaths Division of the Ministry of Health and Sanitation, are charged for conspiring together to allegedly issuing a passport to a Lebanese national by the name of Zain last year contrary to the laws of this country.

According to court records, this serious offence to which the accused persons have earlier pleaded not guilty cannot be substantiated or proved by Officers of the Law Officers Department who are prosecuting the matter in failing to present credible witnesses to give evidence before the court.

Reports reaching Standard Times this week indicated that several warnings made by the presiding judge Justice Abdulai Fofanah for the Prosecution to bring forward their witnesses failed, and the only alternative opened to the bench was to admonish State Counsel Mr. Sesay that he will discharge the matter for lack of evidence.

This came about after the defense lawyers led by Lawyer C.F. Edwards and Manley Spaine made an application for the discharge of all the accused persons after a previous No Case Submission.

After some legal consideration by the Law Officers Department, coupled with the non availability of substantial evidence to incriminate the accused persons, the State Prosecutor Lawyer Sesay informed the Court that the Prosecution will drop the matter for lack of evidence.

Taking the queue, Justice Abdulai Fofanah accordingly discharged the accused persons.

The National Immigration office and the National Births and death center is widely known for corrupt practices in the past. These two institutions have always been accused of issuing certificates and passport to non Sierra Leonean nationals over the years.

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