Sierra Leone Telegraph: 13 February 2016
There was frenzy across Sierra Leone’s social media last night, after an unconfirmed report about the imminent arrest of opposition politician – Dr. Alie Kabba (Photo) by the government of Sierra Leone, in advance of his appearance at the High Court in Freetown next week.
“My lawyer, Ben Kaifala, informed me early today that the government is planning to arrest me again. I don’t have any details, but their action may be connected to a radio interview I did last Saturday with David Tam Baryoh. I assume that their goal is to silence me.”
That was the statement alleged to have been made by Alie Kabba yesterday. The Sierra Leone Telegraph contacted a senior spokesman of the Alie Kabba Campaign Team, who was unable to confirm the authenticity of the source of that statement.
Is Alie Kabba about to be arrested once again by the government?
Another unconfirmed report mentioned on social media says that: “High Court Judge in Freetown – Justice Miatta M Samba has on Friday, February 12, 2016, rejected an application filed before her by the State Prosecutor – Ahmed G. M Bockarie Esq. to issue a warrant of arrest for opposition Politician Alie Kabba, who is involved in the alleged Bigamy case.”
“The State Counsel filed section 136 application requesting for a speedy trial of the alleged Bigamy case against Alie Kabba. Lawyer Bockarie also authorized the judge to effect the arrest and detention of Alie Kabba until his trial commence on Wednesday 17th February 2016.
“Lawyer Francis Ben Keifala Esq. objected, but part of the application for a speedily trial was granted. Meanwhile, Alie Kabba is expected to face a fresh indictment in the High Court as all the proceedings that took place in the Magistrate Court are reported to have been void,” the social media report concluded.
Today, the Sierra Leone Telegraph contacted the country’s Attorney General and Minister of Justice – Joseph Kamara (Photo), and put this question to him: “There is a story on social media saying that the government has ordered the arrest of Alie Kabba, in advance of his court appearance on the 17th of February, 2016. Can you please comment?”
The Attorney General was unequivocal in his response. He told the Sierra Leone Telegraph that: “No warrant of arrest was ordered. A speedy trial was granted to expedite justice. An application that is routine.”
Dr. Alie Kabba – now regarded as the most vocal opposition presidential aspirant, has not only proven to be more than a handful to the ruling APC party in Sierra Leone, but has in the last couple of months won the hearts and minds of a large number of Sierra Leoneans that are hungry and desperate for political change in the country.
Since arriving in Sierra Leone from the USA about two months ago, Alie Kabba has become the de-facto spokesman for the opposition, constantly and persistently holding the hands of the Koroma government to the fire, demanding accountability, transparency, probity, justice and civil liberty.
Alie Kabba has been arrested by the government and put behind bars on no less than three occasions, since arriving in the country last December – a price for his fight for justice, he told the Sierra Leone Telegraph he accepts, as “no greater than the death sentence, many Sierra Leoneans are being subjected to by the government’s failure to tackle abject poverty”.
Alie Kabba, who is regarded as a political prisoner of conscience by his supporters, has been charged with bigamy, after his divorced wife – the current local government minister Diana Konomanyi (Photo), alleged that Alie was still married to his ex-wife in America, when he married Diana in Freetown in 2013.
But family law experts are astonished that Diana’s request for divorce last year, was not based on the allegation of bigamy, an issue that only surfaced after Alie Kabba publicly announced his intention to contest presidential election in 2018 for the opposition SLPP.
This, Alie’s supporters say, raises strong suspicion of political victimisation. They are accusing the Koroma government of conjuring a trumped up charge of bigamy against the presidential hopeful.
At the conclusion of last month’s preliminary examination of the prosecution’s evidence and the ‘no case to answer’ submission put forward by Alie Kabba’s lawyers, magistrate Seray Wurie concluded that he was satisfied that the matter be committed to the High Court for adjudication.
Next Wednesday, 17th February, 2016, the High Court will look at all the evidence surrounding the two counts charge of bigamy, contrary to Section 57 of the offences against the person Act of 1861 and Section 2(1) of the perjury Act of 1911.
Alie Kabba is currently observing his bail conditions set at Le100 million, with two sureties that have surrendered their passports and title deeds to their respective properties located in the Western Area.
He had also surrendered his passport and is refraining from travelling out of the country, until the conclusion of the case.
Speaking for the Alie Kabba Campaign Team a few weeks ago, a spokesman said: “We have all seen with our naked eyes the way Alie Kabba is being treated for a so called ‘bigamy’ allegation. Even without being tried and found guilty, we are clearly seeing the huge arm twisting and iron fist meted out against Alie Kabba.
“Alie Kabba will never be given justice in any court of law in Sierra Leone. He is a prisoner of conscience and a political prisoner. The only means by which Alie Kabba will be free from the iron grip of APC is through mass mobilisation and action.”
Alie Kabba was first arrested by the police in Freetown on Christmas Eve and released on Boxing Day. He was rearrested again and taken to the Pademba Road prison before appearing at the magistrate court for preliminary proceedings.
After two appearances at the magistrate court, Alie Kabba was incarcerated behind bars once again, supporters say on orders from above. But according to magistrate Wurie, Alie Kabba had violated his bail conditions. His lawyers and supporters disagreed.
Alie Kabba will appear at the High Court in Freetown next Wednesday, 17th February, 2016, where his supporters expect his evidence to be fully examined by a Judge. Will he get a fair trial at the High Court?
No one is certain. But what the country’s Attorney General confirmed to the Sierra Leone Telegraph today, is that: “No warrant of arrest was ordered. A speedy trial was granted to expedite justice. An application that is routine.”