Fugitive Captain Kamara To Be Tried In Absentia - Salone Mirror News

Wednesday, 29 May 2019

Fugitive Captain Kamara To Be Tried In Absentia

At least seven military officers have been arrested following the escape of Captain Patrick E. Kamara from the military detention facility at Wilberforce in the early hours of Tuesday May 21, 2019, a senior military officer said Wednesday.

Public Relations and Information Officer, Ministry of Defence/ Republic of Sierra Leone Armed Forces (RSLAF), Major Yayah Brima told a news conference in Freetown on Wednesday May 29, 2019, that

“The seven military personnel are currently being investigated by the Criminal Investigations Department (CID) in connection with the circumstances leading to the escape of Captain Kamara, who is being tried in Court Martial along with two others for various offences relating to missing arms and ammunition,” he said.

“While all efforts are being made to re-arrest Captain Kamara, the two other accused persons in the court martial trial are still remanded at the custodial center. However, the court martial would continue with its proceedings, and captain Kamara will be tried in Absentia,” he said.

The names of the seven personnel were not disclosed because these are just soldiers being investigated, and it is possible that they do not have any connection to the escape of the first accused. But the personnel include senior ranks like major, captain, Lieutenant and other ranks.

Captain Kamara is standing trial at the court martial with two other military officers - Samuel Conteh, Warrant Officer Class 1, 2nd accused; and Abu Bakarr Jalloh, Warrant Officer Class 2, 3rd accused - on five count charges ranging from conspiracy to steal service property, larceny by servant, willfully damaging service property, willful neglect causing damage to service property and conduct that was prejudicial to the group order and military discipline, contrary to the RSLAF Act No. 34 of 1961 as amended. But they have pleaded not guilty to all the offences.

The quantities of ammunition for which they are being tried under the various offences include: 4, 245 rounds of 12.7mm anti-aircraft rounds; 3, 828 rounds of 14.5mm anti-aircraft rounds; 11 bombs of Rocket Propel Grenade; six rounds of 7.62×3×9mm ball lint; 14, 100 rounds of 7. 62× 39mm tracer; and 6, 740 rounds of 7. 62×51mm ball lint; and 515 rounds of 9×18mm ball.

According to the Ministry of Defence, the value of the aforementioned ammunition is USD$ 80, 402.30 (Le 683, 419, 550).

Major Brima said earlier that, the circumstances surrounding the escape of Captain Kamara are yet unclear, but some arrests have been made including personnel on guard at Wilberforce detention facility.

Court Martial should have received the closing addresses by both the defence councils and the prosecution on Tuesday May 21, 2019, but it was postponed to May 28, 2019. But the trial did not hold again. However, the trial is expected to continue next Tuesday.

According to Major Brima, the postponement of the hearing is not connected to the escape of the Captain Kamara. He explained that the defence councils requested on Monday May 20, 2019, for the postponement.

But unfortunately and coincidentally, that morning, Captain Kamara escaped.

The court martial is constituted in Freetown to hear a case of the three soldiers of the former Joint Presidential Guard Forces (JPGF): Captain Patrick E. Kamara, 1st accused; Samuel Conteh, Warrant Officer Class 1, 2nd accused; and Abu Bakarr Jalloh, Warrant Officer Class 2, 3rd accused.

The ongoing trial is presided by the Judge Advocate, Alhaji Momoh-Jah Stevens and the court martial board: Lieutenant Colonel Kerifa Kamara, president of court martial board; Lieut. Col. A. B. Keita; Major Victor Momoh; Major Brima Ngavuwa Sama; and Major Sallieu Kallon.

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