Dr. Sylvia Blyden to cross examine six State witnesses

Sierra Leone Telegraph: 28 September 2019:

The Bankole-Thompson Commission of Inquiry (COI) which is looking into claims by the State that four children were beaten up by thugs on the orders of former social welfare minister – Dr. Sylvia Olayinka Blyden, whilst she was in office, will continue sitting next Monday, 30 September 2019, when Dr. Blyden will cross examine six more State Witnesses.

Last Wednesday, 25th September 2019, the Commission heard State Witness – Edmond Alim B. Fornah, being cross-examined by Dr. Sylvia Blyden who is personally representing herself at the Commission, as he floundered and changed his testimony during intense cross examination.

The Commission heard of a press conference called a little over eight years ago, wherein Edmond Fornah had publicly claimed that at the then-tender age of 14 years, he was cruelly, viciously, and mercilessly beaten up by Presidential Guards attached to Former First Lady Sia Koroma who had allegedly dragged him out of the waiting area of the former First Lady and beat him until he lost consciousness.

He also said that after beating him unconscious at tender age of 14 years, the guards of the former First Lady then threw his lifeless body in to thick bushes, growing outside the presidential lodge compound.

Cross examined by Dr. Blyden, Edmond Alim B. Fornah was asked to explain how the said incident of alleged merciless beating of a 14 years old child at the Presidential Lodge had been handled by the Government back then. To this question, Fornah alleged that he had been “denied justice” after such merciless beating.

He also told the Commission that in the same way the four alleged victims have allegedly been denied justice after allegedly being beaten up at Ministry of Social Welfare, is exactly the same way he was denied justice after he was allegedly brutalised to unconsciousness by the former presidential guards right inside the Presidential Lodge.

It was after Edmond Fornah had made his allegations of being brutalised in the Presidential Lodge that Dr. Blyden reminded him of how he, as a so-called “victim of merciless child beating by guards of the Presidential Lodge”, had in fact given several Meritorious Awards to the Former President and First Lady during which Edmond Fornah had described President Koroma and Sia Koroma loftily as protectors and promoters of the rights of Children for several consecutive years, after the alleged incident of 2011.

Dr. Blyden then asked the State Witness if he wanted anyone to take him seriously as a credible person, if after receiving such an alleged brutal beating and then denied justice, he still went on to give meritorious awards for child rights to the former First Lady Sia Koroma and former President Ernest Koroma.

In reply, Edmond Fornah told Justice Bankole Thompson that he does want the Commission to believe that he was indeed a credible witness.

Dr. Blyden told the State Witness that the similarity between his claims of what took place in 2011 and claims of child beating in 2016, which is now being investigated, points to the strong possibility that it was indeed the State Witness himself – Edmond Fornah who had spoon-fed utter lies that four children have made, claiming that they were also mercilessly beaten up and then denied justice.

In another interesting twist at the Commission last Wednesday, Edmond Fornah’s cross-examination revealed to the Bankole Thompson Commission of Inquiry that Fornah had personally on behalf of his organisation, awarded Dr. Sylvia Blyden – the MOTHER OF THE YEAR 2016 award, a short while before he went on the rampage claiming that Dr Blyden beat up the four children.

State Witness Fornah was unable to explain how someone awarded as ‘Mother of Year 2016’ can suddenly go on to instigate the beating of four children in that same year – 2016. The State Witness had actually awarded three meritorious awards to Blyden towards the end of the year 2016. Two of them, including the award as MOTHER OF THE YEAR 2016, were tendered to the Bankole Thompson Commission of Inquiry.

At this point, Dr. Blyden referenced a series of tendered documents ranging from UNICEF letter forwarded against her to State House by the former Foreign Minister and APC 2018 Presidential Candidate Dr. Samura Kamara, letters from the former Secretary to President Osho Coker and her own letter reacting to Samura Kamara’s forwarded letter for the attention of President Koroma in which Blyden re-asserted her insistence on dishonesty, deceit and corruption taking place at UNICEF in collaboration with certain local Sierra Leonean government officials.

Blyden asked the State Witness whether he saw any link between the date of the UNICEF Complaint (December 20th 2016) forwarded by Samura Kamara against her, the incident of 15th December 2016 that UNICEF complained, and the “sudden change” in how the Witness and certain others started attacking Blyden with all sorts of claims starting from December 21st 2016 attack on FM98.1 Radio and continuing into December 28th 2016 claims of children being mercilessly beaten up.

The State Witness however said he saw no link in the dates, prompting many in the audience murmuring in disbelief. But some observers said that it cannot be a coincidence for Dr Sylvia Blyden to suddenly start facing such deep opprobrium at that particular point that Foreign Minister Samura Kamara allegedly connived with UNICEF leadership against his fellow Cabinet Minister colleague – Dr Sylvia Olayinka Blyden.

The COI hearing was adjourned to next Monday, 30 September 2019, when Dr. Blyden will cross examine six more State Witnesses.

6 Comments

  1. Let us not forget the then APC tactics of the former Koroma led government which after abusing, victimising, molesting, imprisoning their opponents, they then gave their victims olive branch of reconcillation/peace and unity to close their mouths from complaining. We saw it in the early days of the Koroma led government against Dr Silvia Blyden that metamorphosed into her being offered mantles of leadership in that administration.

    We saw it when Alhaji Sam Sumana was kicked out of office as vice president of Sierra Leone in 2015, and then saw the same Sumana reconciling with his abusers and foes not too long ago. We also saw the same with Dr David Tan-Bayoh who was repeatedly abused, molested and detained by APC government; and then towards the 2018 presidential/parliamentary elections Dr Tamba Bayoh gave his allagiance and suport to his accusers and abusers.

  2. Mr Saidu Conteh, one can understand your anger and frustration at the PASSIVITY of the leadership of the APC in the current human rights abuses of the people of Sierra Leone, by the ruling SLPP government of President Maada Bio. But what can the main opposition APC do in the present circumstances of of a jungle democracy? Today, the very important institutions – like the Police, Judiciary and probably the Armed Forces, that are supposed to defend the rights of the populace – are apparently deep inside the pockets of the President.

    Coupled to this are the disgruntled figures of the likes of Alpha Kanu and Victor Foh (disappointed APC presidential aspirants) who may be seen lurking as sabotaging forces to the efforts of the APC in trying to form a strong, unified and formidable opposition. Furthermore, what is the real role of the NGC party in this context? Is the NGC really an opposition party to the ruling SLPP government, or merely an opposition to to the (main) opposition?

    With all these predicaments on the head of the APC, there is the existence of a farcical commission of inquiry (COI) hanging on its neck with the sole purpose of asphixiating the party. In the midst of all these circumstances, one would envisage the best choice for the APC is to lie low and adopt a passive strategy – at least for the meantime.

  3. This is one of the examples. I don’t care what Bio does, the APCs is a dangerous party in this country. Let’s take a great example from the tiny Gambia that used to seek everything in our country especially education, today all around the world, look at the Gambians – well established and have love for their country, let alone their sitting President. APC supporters organized themselves last week in New York, chanting indecent and vulgar language against their sitting President. No SLPP supporter ever did such a thing when the former APC President visited the USA. First of all most of these protesters that were protesting on that day, are just idle people. How progress will come to our country?

    Please respect this man for God’s sake. Just imagine, if this president was your dad or uncle, will you be happy for someone to disrespect him?. He has all right to go to Yale University. He was invited, and he did it for a reason. I don’t care how much you hate him, but mind you today he’s your president. Thank you

  4. Thanks once again Mr Alimamy Turay for your candid,brilliant,penetrating insights. I knew this President wouldn’t be able to cope for a single minute in the midsts of freshman students at Yale.(lol) But the SLPP is determined to promote their inadequate Poster Boy in anyway,and as much as they possibly can – hence the saying; (Monkey Nor Worwor to e mama) A monkey looks always handsome in the eyes of his mother.(lmao)

    This President has no business in Yale – what can a poorly educated coup-‘plotter teach young,creative,brilliant minds? The APC must be resolute – stand their ground,and hold the line firmly against injustices,and Human rights abuses perpetrated by this SLPP government, against our people. How they were able to let him get away,without being vigorously challenged in New York baffles,and troubles me. Of this I am very certain – there’s a lot of hard work,and soul searching to be done – a multitude of hard questions to be answered by leaders of the APC.

    Why are letting this corrupt government violate the laws of the land without uttering a single word? Give them an inch,they would take a yard – those are words of caution the APC must never forget. Why can’t the APC provide legal,and financial support to those who have been unjustly arrested? Where are all the APC lawyers? And why are they not contributing their time,and expertise in helping the most vulnerable of our people who stand wrongfully accused in the presence of Justice. Forget the next election in 2023,the time to buckle up,measure up,and resist is now….Rising Sun Will Rise Again.

  5. Mr Reinhard Wiecha, I myself cannot figure out the essence of this article, or story. Perhaps, the aim is to counterbalance or neutralize the blatant thuggery that has been introduced by the ruling paopa SLPP government of President Maada Bio, to the happy go lucky people of Sierra Leone. For instance, the unprovoked and merciless beating of two lady journalists that were covering the match between Sierra Leone and Liberia, by so called presidential guards, at the Siaka Stevens stadium in Freetown.

    One would have appreciated an article citing the mass demonstration against the president, for HUMAN RIGHTS abuses, during the annual meeting of heads of state at the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) in New York. What about the disappointing and fruitless speech that the President gave at Yale University? Another misadventure of an intellectual accolade?

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