Sierra Leone Telegraph: 23 June 2022:
Alhaji Amadu Bah alias LAJ appeared in Pademba Road Magistrate’s Court No. 1 yesterday, 22nd June 2022, presided by Principal Magistrate Sahr E. Kekura, to answer to four counts charge, including robbery with violence and assault occasioning actual bodily harm.
State witness – Ishmael Kamara (PW1) who identified himself as a Pump Attendant, said he is an employee of Leonco Fuel Station at Water Street, Congo cross in Freetown. He admitted knowing the complainant Francess Wilson as a colleague as well as the accused.
“I know the accused person. He is a popular Sierra Leone musician,” he said, recounting that, “I remember Sunday the 12th June 2022. I was on duty at Water Street Leonco fuel station. Something happened between myself and the accused person.”
On that very Sunday around 3 O Clock, “my colleagues Musa and Francess were at work at the fuel station and a black Ford vehicle without a number plate came into the fuel station.”
According to him, they parked in front of Francess’ machine (pump 2), and the driver alighted the vehicle and asked why Francess was sitting down.
The driver, Ishmael, came down and said he wanted Five Hundred Thousand Leones (Le. 500,000) petrol but he was asked by Christiana to park properly, and he did as instructed.
He said, “One man in the same vehicle by the name of Buju started arguing with the pump attendant (Francess). He said why should Francess sit down idling, but Francess immediately responded by saying there was no vehicle to sell to. He said she was lazy and should be up and working because no pump attendant should be seen sitting.”
Popularly known as Isho, the driver stated that “da timberland boot way you wear you go kill am ooo.” Ishmael then stated that the accused should come and speak a language Francess understands. During the process, the accused alighted the vehicle from the driver’s seat and came to where Francess was filling the vehicle with petrol and leaned on the vehicle.
He continued that he overheard one Buju saying to Francess that “you are a prostitute and after sleeping out all night you only come here to sit down.”
He told the Court that Ishmael said, “you should f*****ing remove the pump from the vehicle we will not f****ing pay you.”
“Francess removed the nozzle of the fuel from the vehicle after pumping 27 liters with some points,” PW 1 explained, stating that, “Musa came and told them what they were doing is not right. She is a woman you guys should stop insulting her.”
He said LAJ was quick to scold Musa for such cautioning statement. LAJ punched him in the face and Musa fell down.
During the scuffle Ishmael then grabbed the sales’ bag from Musa when Mr. Daniel Kallie, Manager of Leonco came to the scene. The Manger then held on to the bag.
He said when Christiana removed her phone to film what was going on, the accused rushed at her and scolded her.
“Christiana sent the phone to me and I placed it inside my sales’ bag,” he told the Court, reiterating that, “LAJ, Buju and Ishmael and one unknown person rushed at me and scolded me violently.”
He said he was unable to breathe as a result he let go of the sales’ bag because the accused constantly held on to his throat.
“LAJ took the phone from my bag and the money, Four Million Two Hundred Thousand Leones (Le 4,200,000). The accused and Ishmael also threatened to come burn down the station,” he said, adding that they entered the Ford vehicle and drove off. By then Musa has gone to Congo cross police station and brought a truck load of police officers.”
“They were traced by the police van and were caught at the Kissy Road cemetery. The police instructed that he alights the vehicle and join them in the police van. Thereafter they moved to the Congo cross police station. Statements were obtained at Congo Cross, and a medical report was issued to me,” he concluded.
Accused LAJ was represented by IP Mammy Esq. Madieu Sesay Esq, Alfred Kamanda Esq and others. State Counsel, Yusif Isaac Sesay prosecuted and opposed to the bail application made. The matter comes up on Tuesday, 28th June, 2022.
Source: Sierra Leone Judiciary Communications Unit
After reading this article regarding the statement made by the pump attendant Ishmael Kamara (PW1) in magistrate court presided by Principal Magistrate Sahr E. Kekura, I would like to bring up some points and questions to Sierra Leoneans at home and abroad that were talking and expressing their views on this matter. We all know there are two sides to a story. I have seen the video clip made by LAJ via WhatsApp at the scene of his arrest by the Police. In the clip, he spoke about where he and his friends in the vehicle were heading to ie Giunea, and that the Police officers were, in a nut shell, disturbing their peace and falsely wanting to arrest them. But he did not mention about the incident at the petrol station. My first question is, was he trying to get more support and sympathizers via the social media about him being a law abiding citizen and that the police are out there to get him falsely into trouble?
This article is the first official statement made in court by the pump attendant Ishmael Kamara after the arrest of LAJ by the Police. I am not putting the cart before the horse to say anything now about the manhandling of LAJ by the police that led to the cutting of his dread locks. I will comment in due course whenever an official statement is made to the public or court.
Now to my points and questions referencing to the attendance statement;
i – Using or driving a vehicle with no number plate to travel way down to Guinea, hummmm… to me shows either sign of lawlessness, vehicle theft or plan to commit crime without detection. Am I thinking out of the box?
ii – Questioning the female pump attendant ie Francess, why she is sitting down by the driver, is a way to kick start the the confrontation with Francess. They were stirring and wanting a reaction from Francess but she answered them professionally by saying there is no vehicle to sell to. Who are they to question her work ethics?, which in this case was not cause for concern.
iii – The statement by the driver according to the attendant “da timberland boot way you wear you go kill am ooo.” meant a lot. Using the word “killing” shows their intentions to kill her.. The attendant also mentioned about he was unable to breathe as a result he let go of the sales’ bag because the accused constantly held on to his throat. Was there an intention for them to kill?
iv – Come and speak a language to Francess to understand as stated by the driver to the accused. We all know the consequences and severity this statement meant, “Cam show am peppeh” as I put it in simple Krio. This language as we all know speaks volume ie to torture, assault, cause bodily harm or even death. Does this show they were prepared to cause havoc?
v – Calling a woman they do not know a prostitute is totally disrespectful and insulting to most women out there. This woman Francess, is a working class woman who is making her rightful living, working by serving the public. Does such attitude from these guys towards Francess or any woman be tolerated in our society?
vi – “You should f*****ing remove the pump from the vehicle we will not f****ing pay you.” These words altered to Francess is in no way, shape or form be acceptable in our society. Our country is now a basin of filthy languages. And there are some that condole such languages and hail the bad and flithy mouthed people. How would you feel if you are spoken to like this?
vii – The attendant said LAJ was quick to scold Musa for such cautioning statement. LAJ punched him in the face and Musa fell down. This was their mission in action. Fight, fight fight. By giving out cautioning statement in order to de-escalate the situation has to result in a punch in ones face has any moral status in any decent society?
vii – Getting hold of the sales bag with its contents of Le4,200,000 and phone and also not paying for the fuel was mission accomplished. The end game. Zoooooom they gone. Why the sales bag was part of their target in this whole mission?
viii – Threat to burn down the petrol station can not be taken lightly. If that was to have happened, who knows how many lives would have perished and millions or even billions of Leones in damages of properties would have been lost. Can such threaten statement should have been left to go scotch free without the involvement of the authorities especially the police?
May I leave my questions to you to answer some or all of them with an open mind and please do not fall into political sentiments while answering them. Lets make Sierra Leone a better place for all Sierra Leoneans and friends to live happily and freely with one another regardless of our political affiliations or tribal origins. Sierra Leoneans we are peaceful and loving people and let no bad and hatred feels disunite us. May God bless mama Sierra Leone.
They say, ‘if you use your hand to a point finger at someone, just remember, four out of your five fingers are inadvertently pointed towards you’. Not trying to be the devil’s advocate here, however, when you have a society that is led by hoodlums, thieves, fraudsters, etc, who will do anything under the sun to continue their rogue lifestyles, you won’t be surprise if youngsters, and ‘wanna get rich quick’ citizens, chooses to imitate the actions of their leaders.
As we speak, the ruling SLPP is maintaining on payroll a gang of young men, whose menace behavior are far worse than what rapper LAJ has been alleged to have committed. As the arm gang of the POAPA cult, these criminals operates right in the open—robbing, beating up, and assaulting anyone they choose to, with absolutely no ramifications. Known to the leadership of the police, many of these thugs goes around calling themselves names like five-star general, arata, and host of other ridiculous pseudo names.
Now, unlike rapper LAJ, who is a known critic of the PAOPA regime, these gang of criminals will always be protected, so long as their counterpart criminals bosses are occupying political offices. So don’t tell me about lawlessness, when the very regime in charge epitomize lawlessness.
Tragically, Mrs Mohamed Fatu Kargbo the issues with women and their place within our societies is one of the most unspoken taboo subjects in our country.The rape , physical violence and sometimes the horrendous muder cases that goes on both publically and privately in our homes is one of the least under reported headline topics that are discussed.Here we are expressing a righteous indignation for the arrest of a rapper , Mr Alhaji Amadu Bah ,who is charged with serious offences , least we forget a man is innocent until proven guilty,and given his status in our society and seen as a role model should have known better , but I am not here to pass judgement about his guilt or innocence as the case wind it’s way in our courts system , but to remind us all Sierra Leoneans public about more serious cases in recent years, , in some cases murder cases and the victims are mostly young women , but we hardly hear about the collective indignation from the general public,or the court of public opinion that we are all too willing to jump the bandwagon, myself included in condemning the actions of some of our bent cops .That lack of care to the victims and their families should put our country to the pedestal of the wall of shame .
Having said all of the above , there is still some sliver lining that Sierra leoean society are suddenly waking up to the facts about the injuctices that exist in our societies .Which means now we can all take sides on issues that is closer to our hearts that we dim rather unsavoury on the part of the actions of the state or the lack of actions from the state when the situation demands . And this awakening period of the general population that keeps Bio and his ilk awakes at night , long may social media continue to inform us and hold the feet on those in power by fire until they change their ways .Justice for all .Today the public are protesting against the arrest of a well known rapper, tomorrow could be a popular politicians .No more should we allow corrupt politicians tell us what is right or wrong .
That nanny state mentality is slowly but firmly been put in check, by an over conscious society that wants to see the wheels of justice not only grind slowly but it should be led by a criminal justice system that is beholden to nobody. Since social media invaded our shores and set up shop , and made information available to all and sundry , with a click of a button, that right of passage have all but liberated the sub -conscious mind that are always been made aware of their place in the pecking order in our societies .Now everyone have realised the Pope is naked in the middle of the lake and is not wearing any chlotes .The imprisonment of our minds have now firmly been liberated and the way we see authority have now been confined to the dustbin of history .Nq more propaganda soundbites that we’ve grown used to .It is good for see that scales on Sierra Leonean eyes have incrementally starting to fall.My only wish now our people should take up to social media and campaign against the injustices we know exist in our societies .
This is a sad and disgraceful news for the entertainment industry in our country, based on the fact that we currently have the BEST RAPPER in the whole of the continent of AFRICA. Can you imagine if this award was granted to a Nigerian or Ghanaian? I believe most of the entertainers in these countries should have rallied behind Ambassador Kao Denero to promote the music industry. Back in those days, our talented musicians from Afro National ,Super Combo Kings and Sabanoh 75 to name but few were well respected at home and abroad. They even came with flying colors when they represented our nation at the FESTAC festival hosted in Nigeria in 1977.
Imagine Jamaica with a population of only 2 million people, but are known and respected around the world for their talent in music. Unfortunately, the negative energy of this one rapper is literally destroying the positive energy expected from our artists.
Finally, the first red flag is, driving an unlicensed Vehicle without a Tag. I hope and pray that Justice will be served for these victims of violence.
I think this will rumble on .We don’t have to blame citizens of our country, myself included for jumping on the bandwagon of joining the public outcry any time our Sierra Leone police comes Into contact with a private citizens .If anyone regardless of their status in our societies commits a crime, we should allow the police to investigate the matter .where they found a crime has been committed , they should then refer the matter to the courts to decide the innocence and guilt of the individual concerned .Now this can only happ an atmosphere where all the citizens of the state believes the criminal justice system is independent and bais free of political interference.But because the Sierra Leonean police force have proven themselves not to be so independent in dealing with cases , for instance, when shop owners in the Belgium markets literally have to beg the Sierra Leone police officers to stop the SLPP hoodlums from breaking in their shops in Freetown in 2021 , that image of police enforced impotence or so it seemed at the time stays in the minds of the general public .So in Mr Alhaji Amadu Bah’s case , even if the arrresting officers involved were acting in good faith,the level of distrust, aided by social media,and least we forget the killings in Makeni ,and Pademba road doesn’t inspire much confidence that the police in carrying out their duties are immune from being accused of utter hypocrisy. The one rule for one and one rule for the rest of us is now firmly buried in the psyche of Sierra leonean people . Maybe their frustration with the system is not so much about this case, but other cases that have come before the police ,but they failed to act because they are scared for their jobs .
One has to be cynical to think like that , but the overriding picture emerging from this story tells you there is a degree of unease about the police and how they carry out their work.Dont get me wrong their are good police men and women waking up every morning putting on their uniforms and working for the interest of their communities in Sierra Leone and maintaining law and order , what they lack is good leadership.Same mindset the African American community carries historically between them and Some racist American police departments .The suppression of civil rights marchers in the sixties, the Freedom rides ,the use of water cannons ,police dogs trained to attack black people, how low can you go , when animals are trained to distinguished between white people and black people , the 1992 , the LA Police Department officers beating of Rodney King ,caught on tape , and the riots that followed , the 1965 Watts riots in California, the collapsed of the case against OJ Simpson in the 90s because a racist LA cop planted the evidence against him, because he was eager for conviction on that infamous hand glove , as Mr Cochran the famous lawyer defending Mr Simpson told the jurors in his closing arguments in that court room, “If it doesn’t fit you must acquit” .
And we all know what happened with recent police killings in America,George Floyed and many others .Now many people were left wondering, if George Floyed was a blonde white man will that rogue police officer could have continued to kneel on him for 9min ?Or why anytime is a mass shooting in America involving young white men if they don’t kill themselves they are always taken alive to face justice.?But the African American caught for minor traffic offence always end up dying at the hands of the police . Ironically more African Anericans are killed by their fellow African Americans than the police. But we only react where a white police officer is involved in killing our own kind.That is the level of distrust we have reached in Sierra Leone .And until the Sierra leone police starts to act independently without fear or favours , we are going to see more of the same .The real criminals are getting away with murder in our country.And the police don’t take a blind notice of it .
Lawlessness must be stopped in Sierra Leone and respect for women should be paramount.
What is all this noise about the human rights violations of LAJ? Should Sierra Leoneans be more concerned with the human rights of perpetrators of crime or their victims?