Sierra Leone’s Supreme Court overturns Appeal Court decision in university corruption case

Sierra Leone Telegraph: 18 April 2022:

Supreme Court Judges – Justice Allan B. Halloway, Justice Alusine S. Sesay; Justice Mangay F. Deen- Tarawally; Justice M. Sengu Koroma; and Court of Appeal Judge, Justice Ivan A. Sesay last week overturned the decision of three Appeal Court Judges – E. Taylor-Kamara, Sulaiman A. Bah and Fatmata B. Alhadi which was delivered on 10th August 2020 against University of Sierra Leone senior lecturer – Emmanuel Ekundayo Constant Shears-Moses, accused by the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) of abuse of office and improper use of office, contrary to Section 42 (1) of the Anti-Corruption Act of 2008.

Count one of the ACC indictment alleged that Emmanuel Ekundayo Constant Shears-Moses as acting Head of Department of Law in the faculty of Social Sciences and Law at Fourah Bay College, University of Sierra Leone on a date between 1st of July 2015 and 31st of January, 2016 abused his office by improperly conferring an advantage on Alimatu Tity George, a student of Law after awarding her with a pass grade for her Dissertation.

On count two, the particulars of offence state that Shears-Moses also abused his office as acting Head of Department of Law by improperly conferring an advantage on another law student – Jamilatu Alicia Sesay, after inflating her exam grade for the Jurisprudence and Legal Theory course module.

The Presiding Judge, Justice Allan B. Halloway in agreement with the other Judges made this comment regarding count one, that there is no “clearly sufficient and reasonable information as to how allegedly, the Appellant improperly used his office, by improperly awarding her passing examination grades for the Dissertation module, when in fact and truth Alimatu Tity George did not submit any Dissertation for grading”.

The Judges concluded that for both Counts 1 and 2, the particulars of offence have failed to give reasonable information as to the advantage which the Appellant Shears-Moses conferred by the improper use of his office.

Shears-Moses was represented by Lawyer Charles Francis Margai who made an application for cost to be awarded by the ACC to his client for the sum of one billion Leones but majority of the Judges, apart from the Presiding Judge, refused his application. The ACC was represented by Oladipo V. Robin-Mason.

The Supreme Court Judges overturned the Appeal Court’s decision, declaring that “……the conviction is hereby set aside and replaced with the orders as follows…that Emmanuel Ekundayo Constant Shears-Moses, the Appellant herein is hereby acquitted and discharged of the two counts…that all fines paid by the said Appellant to satisfy the sentence of him on his conviction of the offence aforesaid, at the High Court shall be refunded to him forthwith.”

 

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