The long awaited hearing in the high court of Sierra Leone has come to an end. A Freetown high court has sentenced this today 10th April 2014 five bankers and taxmen (including a husband and wife) to a mandatory jail term of between three and six years for corruption.
According to the sentence delivered by Justice MA Paul, a Nigerian Judge, they are also to each pay between US$ 10,000 and US$ 500,000 as fine and restitution to the government of Sierra Leone.
This is the longest ever sentence for corruption related activities in Sierra Leone and the second time a mandatory custodial sentence has ever been handed down in over five years in the country.
HIGH COURT HANDS DOWN CUSTODIAL SENTENCES ON NRA/ECO BANK OFFICIALS FOR CORRUPTION OFFENCES
The High Court of Sierra Leone, presided over by the HONORABLE MR. JUSTICE M.A. PAUL, on 10th April 2014, pronounced sentence in the matter of the STATE VS SOLOMON HINDOLO KATTA and OTHERS; having found them guilty in a judgment delivered on 3rd April 2014.
In a landmark decision, THE HONORABLE JUSTICE PAUL imposed custodial sentences on all the convicts, in addition to monetary fines, totaling Two Billion, Five Hundred and Fifty Million Leones (2, 550, 000, 000).
All five were convicted for offences including Conspiracy to Commit a Corruption Offence, Misappropriation of Public Revenue, Possession of Unexplained Wealth and Failure to Fully Declare Assets to the Commission, all contrary to the Anti-Corruption Act 2008.
The first accused Solomon Hindolo Katta was sentenced to six years imprisonment and to pay Two Billion, Two Hundred Million Leones (2. 200,000, 000); Idrissa Fornah (alias Orkala) was sentenced to six years imprisonment and Two Hundred Million Leones (200,000, 000); Momoh Turay was sentenced to three years imprisonment and to pay Forty Million Leones (40,000, 000); Emmanuel Sesay was sentenced to three years imprisonment and to pay Forty Million Leones (40,000, 000); and Mrs. Catherine Katta was sentenced to three years imprisonment and to pay Seventy Million Leones (70,000, 000).
It is worth noting that since the enactment of the Anti-Corruption Act of 2008, this is the first time the Commission has secured convictions for the offences of Failure to Fully Declare Assets to ACC and Possession of Unexplained Wealth.
The matter was prosecuted by Mr. Ady Macauley, Esq. of the Commission.
Meanwhile, the other trial involving NRA/Ecobank workers, Abraham Lavally and Others is still ongoing in the High Court.
KOLONEH SANKOH (Ms)
DEPUTY DIRECTOR, PUBLIC EDCUCATION AND OUTREACH