Sierra Leone Telegraph: 20 January 2016
The grim message coming out of Freetown, Sierra Leone tonight is a simple, though chilling statement by supporters of opposition politician Alie Kabba: “Where there is no justice, there can be no hope”.
Alie Kabba has once again been denied bail and sent to the country’s notorious maximum security prison, after court received ‘orders from above’. He will next appear at the High Court, where he can present his evidence and plead his innocence.
Supporters of Kabba say that he is a political prisoner of conscience, whose freedom has been denied once more by a politically controlled court in Freetown, on a flimsy and orchestrated technicality regarding the terms of his bail.
Only in Sierra Leone are you likely to find the rather bizarre contradiction of having a member of parliament – IB Kargbo, who has committed serial crimes, by first failing to declare to the country’s electoral commission that he was still working as a public servant whilst contesting a by-election; and worse, using ministerial letter headed paper to write a letter soliciting an unlawful agreement with the Lebanese government, to import waste into Sierra Leone for cash.
Despite these serious crimes, IB Kargbo walks a free man, a parliamentarian and a presidential adviser. No one in the judiciary and the government is batting an eyelid, whilst Alie kabba is sent to maximum security prison today, for alleged bigamy involving a government minister – a charge the government is struggling to prove.
Why? IB Kargbo is a senior member of the ruling APC and a close confidante of the president; Alie Kabba is a candidate for the presidency in 2018, and he is seen as the most powerful critic of the government’s failed policies.
Pademba Road Prison is reserved for political opponents and thousands of youths labelled as outcasts in society. What hope justice in Sierra Leone?
“In Sierra Leone there is no justice, only impunity. And tonight Alie Kabba is once again on the receiving end of the government’s hatred for those that criticise its failed policies, as well as oppose the legitimacy of those abusing public office. I hope they are not trying to kill Alie Kabba in prison,” a civil servant in Freetown told the Sierra Leone Telegraph this evening.
So what happened in court today?
This is a report received by the Sierra Leone Telegraph from Freetown:
The court appearance was swift. The magistrate wanted two sureties, both over 50 years old and in possession of a house worth more than 100 million Leones. Three people readily came forward to oblige.
The action quickly shifted to the Registrar General’s office. After hours of orchestrated delay, towards the end of “processing” of the documents to effect bail, the Registrar General got a call to see the newly appointed Chief Justice Cham upstairs.
After attending to the call in Cham’s office, the Registrar General came back down to his office, armed with a new condition: He won’t accept any house documents that are inherited, bought, or handed over to someone, even where such documents are authenticated to be in their names by a “power of attorney”, as the documents on offer.
He now wants house documents “originally and directly in the name of the volunteering sureties “.
At such a late hour, 5pm, the rush that was artificially generated meant that Alie Kabba’s supporters were not able to meet the newly imposed bail conditions.
So Alie Kabba was taken down to Pademba Road Prison, amidst a lot of sadness and disbelief at the colour of manipulative “Justice” being so crudely meted out to someone, who has always been at the very forefront of the fight for justice and fair play in Sierra Leone.
Sierra Leoneans, are we again about to see the dawn of another very dark era that will touch so many more innocent people, far beyond Alie Kabba?
Are we so irretrievably damned as a nation that we always meekly allow our best to be crushed by our worst, while nurturing the seeds of further injustice?
Are we going to be guilty accomplices by being silent at this blatant show of injustice and misuse of our democracy by a select few?
Are we so powerless as a people, that we must succumb to anything and everything, however heinous?
TODAY, it is Alie Kabba. Tomorrow, watch your back. For the slippery slope of a corrupted system has no end. (End of report).
Tonight Mr. Ansumana Vandi, organiser of the Free Alie Kabba (Photo) online petition, told the Sierra Leone Telegraph that “a gross travesty of justice is occurring in Sierra Leone”.
“Today Dr. Alie Kabba, a political prisoner held by President Ernest Bai Koroma and the APC government, was returned to the notorious Pademba Road Prison in Freetown, after President Koroma and his newly-appointed Chief Justice instructed the court to revoke bail that was previously posted .
“It is now evident that President Koroma and his government have no interest in the transparent dispensation of justice in Sierra Leone. The onslaught on individual rights, political dissent and free speech by President Koroma and his government, should be a wake-up call for all civilized people in the country.
“We are calling on the international community and people of goodwill everywhere, to call on President Koroma and his government to release Dr. Kabba, especially now that there is irrefutable evidence that this is a primitive political witch hunt.
“The people of Sierra Leone are still reeling from the ravages of a vicious civil war that destroyed much of the country’s infrastructure and impoverished them even further.
“The people are tired of politically-manufactured crisis that scares investors and have the propensity to bring another round of suffering to the people of Sierra Leone,” Ansumana Vandi told the Sierra Leone Telegraph.
You can sign the Free Alie Kabba Petition here: