Counting the cost of justice in Sierra Leone as lands minister loses credibility in a politically polarised matrimonial case

Sierra Leone Telegraph: 6 August 2016

Alie kabba

Put aside for one moment the legal and sometimes common sense argument as to who is telling the truth and whether a crime had been committed or not, the cost of pursuing justice in Sierra Leone is not cheap – especially for the tax payer who has to pick up the bill in matters judged to be criminal in nature. (Photo: Opposition politician Alie Kabba – prosecuted by the ruling APC on matrimonial charge).

As the long-drawn matrimonial case involving the government’s minister of lands – Diana Konomanyi, who is acting as witness for the government against opposition politician – Mr Alie Kabba, continues without an end in sight and at astronomical cost to the state, the question that must be asked is – what price justice?

Why should the state get involved in a matrimonial matter involving two consenting adults, arguing about whether vital pre-matrimony information was disclosed before consent to get married was given or not?

There are thousands of young and very poor children caught up in the country’s criminal justice system, and many languishing in smelly, dirty cells – unfit even for animals, simply because the president says he cannot afford to pay for their cases to be heard in court.

So why should the state continue to spend millions of dollars on a matrimonial case involving two powerful politicians, that has been adjourned as many times as anyone may care to remember.

When the accused – Alie Kabba was first arrested last December, even before he was charged with bigamy, a bad odour of political interference was detected.

Alie-Kabba-Diana-KonmanyiAnd seven months on, what should have been a simple hearing lasting no more than three days at a matrimonial and family court, is being stretched from the ridiculous to the sublime.

Yet in Sierra Leone we call this justice.

But whose justice is it anyway? Of what interest is this case to the more than four million poor people of Sierra Leone that are struggling to put food in their empty stomachs before going to bed at night, and to the millions of young people who cannot find work?

Each time this case is adjourned by the court, as it was two days ago, one has to ask the question again – why is the government spending millions of dollars on a matrimonial case involving two educated, consenting and powerful politicians, simply to prove which party to the failed marriage had lied to the other.

joseph kamara acc2What most people would have expected the magistrate at the first hearing last December to have said to both Diana and Alie is this: “Its over – get over yourselves and get over it; and to the prosecutors – stop wasting tax payers money in a senseless and politically motivated dispute.” (Photo: Attorney General Joseph Kamara must stop looking the other way).  

But of course not – it is Sierra Leone we are talking about here, not some properly run state where common sense is common; where justice, accountability and good governance are the order of the day.

So as we continue to wait for both Diana and Alie to make another appearance at the High Court on the 12th of August, it will be foolish not to assume and expect yet another adjournment.

Why has the case against Kabba not yet collapsed, based on clear evidence, showing that minister Diana had lied about her marital status to both Kabba and the Marriage Registry Office.

And why should tax payers care about this case anyway, faced with the burning issues of poor healthcare, lack of clean drinking water and electricity that are crippling the country.

Diana Konomanyi and Ernest KoromaSceptics believe that the intention of the ruling APC party – who are the key actors in this political drama, is to do everything possible for this   matrimonial case to drag on, until polling day in February 2018, by which time Alie Kabba would perhaps have been disqualified from contesting the country’s presidential election on a flimsy court ruling. (Photo: Minister Diana and president Koroma).

According to journalist covering the case two days ago at the High Court in Freetown, the court room was once again packed – standing room only, as Justice Miatta Samba listened to the cross-examination of the government minister Diana Konomanyi, by lawyer acting for Alie Kabba – Francis Ben Kaifala.

In a cross-examination which lasted over an hour before the case was adjourned, a very confused and sweaty Diana, confirmed that she had been herself married before to a Stephen Bockarie Jusu in London, but did not disclose that fact to the Marriage Registry Office or Alie Kabba before they both got married – the same issue for which Alie Kabba is being prosecuted by the government.

But in Sierra Leone, what is good for the goose is not always good for the gander. A minister can lie their way to heaven and get away with it – with impunity.

Finda-Diana-Konomanyi-Marraige-Certificate-500x375Diana confirmed that she did not tell the truth to the Marriage Registry Office.

When filling her marriage application form, she deliberately failed to tick the box that says she is a ‘divorcee’.

It was discovered that her wedding certificate and other records, falsely state that she had not been married prior to getting wed to Kabba.

The Lead defence counsel also asked her if she had requested proof of divorce from Mr. Kabba before marrying him. She replied that she believed he was divorced.

She also said that she did not know a divorce could have taken place in the USA, even though the case for the divorce itself proceeded in court; and that she did not know that that was the case with Alie Kabba’s divorce to his previous wife before marrying her.

Diana was also questioned about her alleged marriage ceremony in Ivory Coast which she denied.

She was asked if she knew that it should be the previous wife who should have accused Alie Kabba of bigamy, not her. She panicked and talked about unrelated issues, to which the judge admonished her to answer the questions posed by counsel.

Kabba’s Counsel Kaifala left no stone unturned, even though the Lands Minister Konomanyi tried to seek sympathy from the court.

In all, the foundation is said to have been laid by lawyer Ben Kaifala, for Alie’s innocence to be proved, through no less a person than Diana Konomanyi herself, as is becoming clear that this case was a witch-hunt that should never have got this far.

The matter was adjourned to the 12th August for Diana to continue her ordeal at the hands of lead defence counsel for Alie Kabba.

Alie Kabba’s supporters may be taking comfort that this case is now drawing to a close, as the evidence given by the government’s main witness – Lands minister Diana Konomanyi and her credibility crumble.

2 Comments

  1. This case as rightly indicated has all the hallmarks of a politically motivated witch hunt, with the sole purpose of discrediting a fierce critic of the APC government. This Diana has brought down the likes of Sam Sumana for reasons I will not go into.

    “He who comes into equity must come with clean hands.” No level headed Judge without political interference will rule in the government’s favour, when the main witness has been dishonest and therefore unreliable.

    If both of them lied to each other, it will be a case of a judge sitting to take an account between two robbers. We wait to hear the final judgment in this case.

  2. Like I have been saying before, both Mr. Alie Kabba and Ms Diana Finda Konomanyi are sexual thieves now accusing each other of committing bigamy. They are both divorcees washing their dirty linen publicly. What a shame!

    Marriage has got nothing to do with partisan politics, but LOVE and RESPECT for each other’s matrimonial vows; that is halal or legal. Under any circumstance or situation, it is NOT right for a woman to divorce her husband but ONLY the man.

    “To the married I give this command (not I, but the Lord): A wife must NOT separate from her husband. But if she does, she must remain unmarried or else be reconciled to her husband. And a husband must NOT divorce his wife.”

    See 1 Corinthians 7:10,11 (NIV) to verify these scriptures.

    TO Ms DIANA KONOMANYI

    I hereby ask you my Salone sister to put your trust in God and be always patient in every situation. Of course, adultery is sinful and punishable by God to eternal destruction, but forgivable before Him if only you truly “repent or ask God for mercy” and live a life of holiness. Please put your house in order and sin no more. This is possible with the help of the Holy Spirit! Amen.

    See the following Holy Bible verses:

    “At dawn he appeared again in the temple courts, where all the people gathered around him, and he sat down to teach them. The teachers of the law and the Pharisees brought in a woman caught in adultery. They made her stand before the group and said to Jesus, ‘Teacher, this woman was caught in the act of adultery. In the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women. Now what do you say?’ They were using this question as a trap, in order to have a basis for accusing him.

    But Jesus bent down and started to write on the ground with his finger. When they kept on questioning him, he straightened up and said to them, ‘Let any one of you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.’ Again he stooped down and wrote on the ground.

    At this, those who heard began to go away one at a time, the older ones first, until only Jesus was left, with the woman still standing there. Jesus straightened up and asked her, ‘Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?’

    ‘No one, sir,’ she said.

    ‘Then neither do I condemn you,’ Jesus declared. Go now and leave your life of sin.”

    1. Jesus Talks With a Samaritan Woman “John 4:7-42.” (New International Version.)

    2. Woman Caught Committing Adultery “John 8:2-11.” (NIV.)

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