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Property dispute lands Former Ag. Chief Justice in Court ….Mr. Valesius Thomas testifies in threatening remarks case

By Salifu Conteh
From the Acting Chief Justice’s office at the top of the gigantic building overlooking the Siaka Stevens Street to the basement at the Magistrate Court to testify in a matter that the Complainant claimed were threatening remarks. After 9th adjournments, he made up his mind on the 10th to surface in court and testify, and not with a pleasant smile as was expected of him by other litigants and not accompanied by security guards as was usually done, but descended on the court as an ordinary citizen who have gone to the courts to seek redress. The former Acting Chief Justice of Sierra Leone, Mr. Valesius Thomas materialized at the court room not to conduct his usual inspection of what he left behind, but to testify as a Complainant before Magistrate Dr. Abu Bakarr Bineh Kamara of Court No 1 in Freetown in a matter that was charged to court on his behalf when he was the Acting Chief Justice of the Republic of Sierra Leone. The charges are threatening remarks allegedly against him by Ibrahim Issa Kamara with whom he had a land dispute. It would be recalled that when he was Acting Chief Justice, the accused person Ibrahim Issa Kamara on his initial appearance before Magistrate Fidawa was refused bail and spent one week behind bars at the Pademba Road Prison. The reason for the refusal of bail was never explained, but it became apparent that Magistrate Fidawa was probably under instruction or wanted to satisfy his superior. Led by Police Prosecutor, Sergeant Dumbuya who was associated by Lawyer Sahid M. Sesay, the former Acting Chief Justice surfaced as a result of a subpoena that was issued against him by the presiding Magistrate on the last adjourned date. The accused represented by Lawyer Charles Francis Margai was to respond to eight- count- indictments including the use of Insulting Language contrary to section 3(1) of the Public Order Act 1965, use of Threatening Language, Sending Insulting Writings, two counts of Sending Threatening Writings, and two counts of Sending Offensive Writings and two counts of calling a Person by Another Name. In the witness box, the former Acting Chief Justice, Valesius Thomas said he recognized the accused person, stating that several years ago he had visited the accused at his shop at Adelaide Street. Subsequent to that visit he had made several attempts to reconcile a land issue between himself and the accused. The land is located on the Peninsular Road at Adonkia.
He said there were several email communications between him and the accused while the accused was in the USA and also spoke to the accused’s Solicitor, Lawyer Manley Spaine in an attempt to resolve the land dispute amicably. “When those efforts failed I instructed, Solicitors Yada Williams and Associates to issue a Writ of Summons, which resulted to a High Court Judgment issued on 29th May 2015 in my favour” He explained, but did not state that during those periods he was the Acting Chief Justice of the Judiciary. He went further to explain that few days after the judgment was delivered, he received a phone call from the accused in the USA which was very unpleasant and maintained that “the accused challenged and abused him profusely and when he could not bear it any longer he discontinued the call amidst several calls that came in but he refused to respond to those calls. On 3rd June 2015, having received an email from the accused he wrote a letter of Complaint to the accused’s then solicitor Lawyer Manley Spaine together with two attachments.
The letter and attachments were tendered in Court marked Exhibit D1-4 to form part of the Court’s records. The witness further recalled 2nd and 4th October 2015, whilst the acting as Chief Justice of Sierra Leone. On the 2nd October about midday, the Administrative Assistant to the Chief Justice Ms. Emilda Stronge entered his office and informed him that one Ibrahim Issa Kamara had come to see him, and that he had some land dispute with him. “I told her to tell him that I don’t want to see him, the land issue had been addressed by the High Court and he had previously abused me,” he replied.
In less than 10 minutes, former Acting Chief Justice said that he received text messages from an Airtel number 076640590; noting that those messages were very abusive and threatening to him and from its contents he concluded that it was from the accused.
“I wrote down the messages on a piece of paper, and called AIG Moire Lengor, a Senior Police Officer, and informed him about the matter, to which he promised to send Senior Officers in respect of the matter,” he stated. The note was also tendered in Court and Marked as Exhibit E The witness further informed the court that three CID officers entered his office, and he narrated what had happened and after listened to him, they left.
On 4th October 2015, he also received an email message from the accused which was the same sender of the previous messages received, which was also insulting and threatening, “I printed the message,” he disclosed. This was also presented in Court and Marked as Exhibit F.At this juncture, the matter was adjourned to 17th February, 2016 for further evidence to be led. Meanwhile the bail of the accused continues.
Former Ag. Chief Justice Runs Away From Court
8 times, no appearances
“He is running away from the trial. Since he dragged me to Court for my nine- plot- of- land on allegation of threatening remarks he has failed to appear in Court and give testimony against me” Frustrated Accused person Ibrahim Issa Kamara remarked.
Mr. Ibrahim Issa Kamara was dragged to Court by the former Acting Chief Justice, Mr. Valesius Thomas and was slammed with seven-Count- Indictment of threatening remarks. He was refused bail on his initial appearance in Court by Magistrate Fidawa and spends a week in Custody at the Pademba Road Prison.
Since the resumption of the trial at the Magistrate Court Number One, the Complainant, Mr. Valesius Thomas has not made a single appearance. For eight times now no sign of the Former Acting Chief Justice was seen in Court to give evidence as PW1 or even as a witness. Today will be the 9th time that the matter will be called for hearing, and there is every possibility that he would not darken the walls of the Magistrate Court as a Complainant in a matter that is in the domain of the Court. “If it had been a private Sierra Leonean with no links to the Judiciary, his/her persistent absence in court with no valid reason would have caused the Presiding Magistrate to either throw the matter out of Court or adjourned it indefinitely, but since it involves the Former Acting Chief Justice such decision is far-fetched and not evident” Echoed a Police Prosecutor.
It would be recalled that prior to the arrest and one week detention of the Accused person, Ibrahim Issa Kamara, there has been a very serious land tussle between the two of them. The Accused had claimed that the former Acting Chief Justice had encroached on his nine-plot- of- land located at Adonkia, and had secured a judgment in his favour, using the Court system to which he was the Former Acting Chief Justice. The Accused has claimed further that the Adonkia land belongs to him, which he bought in the 1990s prior to his trip to the United States of America at the time he was an employee of SIERRATEL, formerly known as SLET. He had reserved the nine—-plot- of land for his retirement to build a Communication Centre that will cater for young and promising Sierra Leonean boys and girls, since he currently works in one of the Communication Companies in the United States of America, he intends to transport such skills and knowledge to his Country of birth when he retires. “I have reserved that piece of land for years now until the sudden capture of it by the former Acting Chief Justice” Kamara claimed.
Whilst laying legitimate claim of ownership on the piece of land, the former Acting Chief Justice reportedly has documentary evidence showing that the land belongs to him.
Meanwhile, the newly transferred Magistrate Bineh Kamara from the Ross Road Court to the Law Court Building will preside over the matter. It is not known whether the Complainant, Mr. Valesius Thomas will appear in Court or not. He is represented by Lawyer Sahid Kamara, whilst the Accused Person Ibrahim Issa Kamara is represented by Lawyer Charles Margai.

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