Thompson v Kamara ([node:field-casenumber])  SLHC 1 (12 November 2001);
IN THE HIGH COURT OF THE REPUBLIC OF SIERRA
IN THE MATTER BETWEEN MAITLAND EMERIC TOLLA THOMPSON
PAUL KAMARA JUDGMENT
BEFORE HONOURABLE JUSTICE U.H. TEJAN - JALLOH
On the 23rd day of April, 2002 an Exparte Notice of Motion was taken out on behalf of Maitland Emeric Tolla Thompson, I gave my consent in writing for the preferment of 18 counts Indictment for the offence of knowingly publishing a false Defamatory Libel Contrary to Section 26 of the Public Order Act 1965 against Paul Kamara pursuant to Section 136 (1) of the Criminal Procedure Act 1965 as amended. I also ordered that a warrant of arrest be issued and directed to the Sheriff of the High Court for the apprehension of the said Paul Kamara in respect of the said offences and that the warrant of arrest be made returnable on Wednesday 24th April, 2002.
Clifford George-Stone Corporal 2589, attached to prosecutions Head Quarters, Freetown testified and identified that the person in the dock was the same person mentioned in the indictment and as I was satisfied with his
testimony, I ordered that Paul Kamara the person named in the indictment be served with a copy of the indictment and copies of the proofs of evidence on the witness whom it was proposed to call at the trial. I also ordered that the said Paul Kamara be served with the said documents (7) seven days before the trial and then adjourned the trial to Wednesday 8th day of May, 2002.
On this date, the Complainant was represented by Messrs N.D. Tejan-Cole, N.C. Browne-Marke, Alieu Sesay and C.C.V. Taylor and accused by Yada Hasim Williams Esq. N.C. Browne-Marke informed the court that he had searched thoroughly the file, and he found that the indictment and the book of evidence issue served on the Defendant by the Bailiff on Monday the 6th day of May, 2002, which was less then seven (7) days ordered by the court. He further explained that they sent the document in time for service and the delay was not the fault of the prosecution. Mr. Browne-Marke then applied that two Criminal Subpoenas be served on the under mention officer against the next adjourned date:-
(1) The Registrar General or her Representative to give audience and produce-
(a) The Registrar of News Papers and Managers Proprietors pursuant to Section (26) of the Independent Media Commission Act 2000 and in particular, the entry in the said Registrar relating to For D'\ People News Paper and
(b) The Business Registrar File and any returns filed in respect of "For Di People News Paper".
(2) The subpoena to be directed to the Executive Secretary or his representative of the Independent Media Commission to bring (a) The Certificate of Registration of "For Di People News Paper" and a certified true copy thereof:-(i) Original copy of "For Di People News Paper" dated Friday the 5th day of April, 2002.
(ii) An extra document from the Register of Licenses and registration of "For Di People News Paper". I accordingly granted the application and adjourned the case to Monday the 27th day of May, 2002 At the resumed hearing, the prosecution was represented by N.D. Tejan-Cole Esq. and N.C. Browne-Marke Esq., counsel for the defence was absent. Lead counsel Tejan-Cole Esq. applied under Section (148) of the Criminal Procedure Act as (32) of 1965 for the following amendments:-
(1) First amendment is the insertion of the words in the particulars of offence in count 2. The words "thereby Maitland Emeric Tolla Thompson" was guilty of after the word "meaning in count 3 of the particulars before the devoid "Dishonesty".
(2) Amendment of count 3 of the statement of offence in respect of the incision of the word. "Libel" and its insertion after the word "Defamatory" in the statement of offence.
(3) Count 6: the deletion of the third particulars of offence and the substitution of the words in particulars 3 of the particulars of offence in count 5.
(4) Count 13: Correction of the word "Whittled" in the substitution of the year 2002 in the first line of the particulars of offence.
(5) Count 18: The deletion of the year 2000 and the substitution of the year 2002 in the first line of the particulars of offence.
As the accused had no objection, I granted the amendment and a note of the order for the amendments endorsed on the indictment; the case was then adjourned to
Friday the 31s1 day of May, 2002. On this date the following amended (18) eighteen counts were read as follows to the accused:-
Count 1 - read out
Count 2 - read out
Count 3 - read out
Count 4 - read out
Count 5 - read out
Count 6 - read out
Count 7 - read out
Count 8 - read out
Count 9 - read out
Count 10-read out
Count 11 - read out
Count 12 - read out
Count 13-read out
Count 14-read out
Count 15 - read out
Count 16 - read out
Count 17 - read out
Count 18-read out
And the accused pleaded not guilty to each and every of them, thereupon N.C. Browne-Marke Esq. informed me that on the 8th day of May, 2002, that the Director of Public Prosecution B.B.S. Kebbie Esq. filed, an application that the accused Paul Kamara be tried by Judge alone instead of by Judge and Jury in respect of the indictment, which has just been read to the accused and to which he has pleaded not guilty. And that the application was made under Subsection 2 of Section 149 of the Criminal Procedure Act 1965 as amended. The accused expressed an objection and I granted the application and the matter was adjourned to Friday the 7th day of June, 2002. N.D. Tejan-Cole Esq. and N.C. Browne-Marke Esq. appeared for the prosecution and Yaada H Williams on behalf of the accused applied for an adjournment to enable the accused to attend Hospital and also assured the court that his client had given an undertaking not to publish in his News Paper anything in respect of the case. I then indicated that the accused should refrain from writing comments and opinions about the case but he could publish contemporaneous reports of the court proceedings. I granted the adjournment to Friday the 14th day of June, 2002.
The actual trial commenced on the 14thday of June, 2002 and counsel for the defence did not turn up nor did he communicate with the court regarding his absence. In fact he never showed up until the completion of the case. The prosecution called seven (7) witnesses.
The first witness was John Kabba Sesay, Clerk at the Registrar General's Office. Whose duties include custody of documents including News Papers, companies' registers and other legal instruments. He was in court as a result of a subpoena dated the 29th day of May, 2002 requesting the department to bring the file in respect of the News Paper "For Di People". He produced the relevant file which was tendered and marked exhibit "A", he said that according to the exhibit, the News Paper was first registered on the 23rd day of May, 1990 and last time did file any return in accordance with the News Paper Act was the 30th day of July, 1991; a certified true copy was tendered as exhibit "B". The last certificate of renewal was issued on the 6th day of August, 1991; a certified copy of which was tendered and marked as exhibit "C". Mr. Sesay told the court that according to exhibit "B" the name of the proprietor is one Paul Kamara and the Newspaper is "For Di People" and the address is given as No. 1 Short Street, Freetown and the occupant of Paul Kamara as journalist the accused when asked whether he had any questions for the witness answered "none".
Ahmed Hassan Kamara was the 2nd prosecution witness. He is the Executive Secretary of the Independent Media Commission, whose function is to register both the print and electronic media; and anybody who wishes to publish a Newspaper or Magazine or set up a radio or television station should have his or her business registered within the Commission and as Executive Secretary, he issues a certificate of registration. Mr. Kamara told the court that the Editor of any Newspaper should be aware that the Commission receives a certified true copy of any Newspaper published as provided under Section 33 of the Independent Media Commission Act 2000 and is before the court as result of a
Subpoena issued by the court. He tendered the application submitted by the accused for the Newspaper "For Di People Newspaper" which was marked exhibit "D" he also tendered exhibit "E" which was the certificate of registration. He issued in consequence of exhibit "D". Mr. Kamara told the court that he has a copy of the issue of the Newspaper called "For Di People Newspaper" dated the 5th day of April, 2002, which was produced and marked exhibit "F". He sees the endorsement at the bottom of the back page which reads "Publish by For Di People Newspaper", Editor Paul Kamara, No.l Short Street, Freetown. It is the same person who submitted exhibit "D" and to whom he issued exhibit "E". the witness complained that exhibit "F' not sent on the 5th day of April, 2002 as required by Section 33 of the Independent Media Commission Act, but he bought it. There was no cross examination. I think I ought at this stage to review the evidence of PW 6 before those pf PW 3, 4 and 5 respectively. He was Foday Mambu Brima Sawe a retired Senior Civil Servants now Farmer. He is retired Senior Permanent Secretary and was in the Civil Service for 25 years. He has known Justice Tolla Thompson P.W 7 for over 20 yeas and that he read exhibit "F" which is dated 5th April 2002 Page two therein contains a headline which reads that Tolla is a Liar and crook and the back page with heading "Tify Tify Tolla". He also recognizes the picture of Tolla at the back page and both the headings and picture referred to Tolla, the complainant. He did not believe that such allegation could be written of Justice Tolla Thompson. He contacted complainant when he read the article and expressed his disgust and annoyance over the article.
Abu Bakarr Kabba is the 3rd Prosecution witness and says he is the Administrative Assistant in the employment of the Sierra Leone Football Association. He knows Maitlan Emeric Tolla Thompson, who is the President of the Association. He also knows one Alimu Bah P.W.4 who is the General Secretary of the Association and one Sheka Bangura who is the Treasurer. As Administrative Assistant his duties include Finances in the secretariat, supervision of the Junior Staff and any other responsibilities as may be delegated. He is in charge of the imprest of the secretariat writes and prepares payment vouchers and cheques when directed by the General Secretary of the Treasurer. He participated in the preparation of budget and compiles the account of the Association. The confederation of Africa Football (C.A.F) and the Federal International Football Association (FIFA) have rules and regulations and the name of our National Tarn is Leone Star.
Paul Kamara the accused was at one time Team Manger when the Sierra Leone Football Association is organizing a Football Match by the Federal International Football Association (FIFA), the secretarial comprising the Secretary Treasurer and the Administrative Assistant prepared a projection for want of a better word, a projected budget. It provides for allocation feeding and transport of visiting team comprising of 25 Players. Accommodation, feeding and internal transport for the match officials which include one match commissioner and four referees. The internal transport takes the visiting team of 25 Payers, a car for the match commissioner and another car for the four referees. Provision is also made in the budget for and ambulance for first-aid, the service of the National Fire Force, Nurses and Security by the Sierra Leone Police
accommodation (Camping) feeding and transportation of the National Team. An initial of 40 Players are selected which at the end reduced to 22 Players. On the day of the Match, 18 Players are selected of which 11 are actual Players and the other 7 are substitutes. Provision is also made in the budget for payment of the Technical Staff, unselected and auxiliary Staff.
The witness told the Court that after the preparation of the budget, it is sent to an organizing committee of the Association for approval after which it is sent to an executive committee of the Association and finally to the Sports Council for finding. On some occasion the Sports Council provides the necessary find and when this is not for the coming the executive committed of the association orders the use of the Sierra Leone Football Associations friend. The Secretariat then contract institutions e.g. hotels, transport owners etc. to ascertain quotations and Performa invoices.
Mr. Kabba recalled the Football Match between the Leone Stars and Nigeria Teams scheduled for 21st April 2001. He prepared budget and submitted it to the organizing committee and after approval to the executive committee which also approved it. He then rent it and the National Sport Council. He produced a copy which was admitter and marked exhibit "G". The witness was shown exhibit" and asked to look at page 2. He said be recognized a column on that page under the caption "Sierra Leone vs. Nigeria 21st April 2001 and is the same as exhibit "G". He added that it commence from item 10-39. As regards exhibit "G", he sees a provision under item 1.0 Match Officials, and under item 1.1 accommodations for Officials who are 5 in number and under item 1.2
feeding for them, car rentals (2) cars) are provided for under item 1.5. Item 2.0 is in respect of Nigeria Delegation and provision for 16 rooms including one for the head of the delegation under item 2.1 and item 2.2. is for feeding of the 25 Players, car rental (one car) under item 2.6 which is the delegation, Bus hire for the other members of the delegation under column 2.7 and Police Sweeper (car one car) under item 2.8.
The witness in formed the Court that provisions for the National team the Leone Stars could be found under item 3.0; Air tickets (foreign based players) under item 3.1 Honorarium (selected players) 4 under item 3.7 Honorarium (unselected players) 3 under item 3.8 Honorarium (Technical Staff) 3 under 3.8, Honorarium (team nurse) 1 under item 3.7. Allowance (auxiliary officials) 4 under item 3.10 Honorarium (good keeper trainer) under item 3.11 and bus hire Leone Stars under item 3.12.
Evidence was led that the Nigerian delegation of 25 and the match officials of 5 stayed at Cape Sierra Hotel and the cost paid to Cape management and Entertainment Corporation Limited in support of thus the witness produced exhibits "H 1-2", "J 1-2" and "K 1-2". Exhibits "H 1-2" is a payment voucher of the Sierra Leone Football Association dated 18th April 2001 for the sum of Le5,000,000.00 and it is described as payment swards afresh for the Nigerians contingent and match commissioner for the Sierra Leone versus Nigeria match in Freetown. Exhibit "H2" is receipt No.21986 of 18/4/2001 from Cape Management and Entertainment Corporation Limited for the services. It is part payment of the total sum.
Exhibit "J1" is a payment voucher of the Sierra Leone Football Association dated the 26/4/2001 for the sum of Le20,000,000.00 described as payment towards accommodation and feeding for match officials and Nigeria delegation for Sierra Leone Vs. Nigeria match and exhibit "J2" is the receipt from Cape Management and Entertainment Corporation Limited No. 0.395 of 26th April 2001 for the amount. It ids also a further part payment and exhibit "K1" is payment voucher of the Association dated 1st May 2002 for the sum of Le5,182,700.00 described as payments towards final payment for accommodation for match officials and Nigeria delegation for Sierra Leone versus Nigeria Match and exhibit :K2: is receipt No. 3946 of 1st May 2001 from Cape Entertainment Corporation Limited. These three payment were paid by cheques No SSJ 126 119, SST 146 (CHECK PAGE 16) 146 303 and SST 146 321, the stubs were tendered as exhibit "W", exhibit "X" and exhibit "Z" and total is Le30,182,700. In other words the amount spent for the feeding of the match officials and the Nigeria Contingent for the Sierra Leone versus Nigeria Mach on the 21st April 2001 is Le30,182,700.00. The witness continued that the projected Budget exhibit "G" was Le9,450,000.00 for accommodation, the sum of Le3,500,000.00 for the feeding, the sum of Le33,390,000.00 for accommodation for Nigeria delegation and the sum of Lel7,500,000.00 for their feeding and the total under these four items is the sum Le13,840,000.00. Thereupon the witness was referred to exhibit "F", which he said reflects the projected amount in exhibit "G".
Mr. Kabba informed the court that the Association also hired motor transport for the match. He produced exhibit "L 1-2, M 1-2 and: N 1-2" prepared
by him. Exhibit "L" is the Association payment voucher dated 17th April 2001 for the sum of Le6,000,000.00 with the details as payment towards Bus hire for 3 (three) days for the Nigerian delegation for the Sierra Leone versus Nigeria World Cup qualifying series and the payee is the Sierra Leone Road Transport Corporation. Exhibit "L2" is the receipt dated 17th April for amount which was paid by cheque SST 110 297. Exhibit :M1 is the payment voucher dated 20th April 2001 for sum of Le600,000.00 payable to Roads Transport Corporation towards Bus for the Nigerian delegation for five days from Saturday 21st to Monday 23rd April 2001 for Sierra Leone versus Nigeria match payment was made by Commercial Bank cheque No. SST 126 137 and exhibit "M2" is receipt dated the 21st April 2001 for the amount from Road Transport Corporation to the Sierra Leone Football Association. As regards exhibit "N 1-2" it is payment for the sum of Le100,000.00 paid to one Osman Sesay on the 18 April 2001 to convey the Nigerian delegation from Lungi Air Port to Freetown. The delegation decided to travel by helicopter. Exhibit "N 1" is the payment voucher of the Association dated 19th April 2001 for the sum of Le100.000.00 towards a van provided for Nigerian delegation and exhibit "N 2" is receipt dated 18th April 2001 for the amount. The van was therefore necessary to cart the delegation from the heliport Cape Sierra Hotel, the hotel to National Stadium for practice and from National Stadium to the Hotel after practice. The witness was referred to exhibit "G" the projected budget and he said his projections for hiring the bus was Le200,000.00 for seven days that is Le1,400,00.00 against the amount, the association paid a total of Le1,300,000.00 under 3 exhibits -exhibit "L 1-2", "M 1-2"and "N 1-2" respectively.
Mr. Kabba also produced exhibit "0 1-2, "P 1-2" and "Q 1-3" and these are documents for payment of hiring the cars for the match Commissioner, the Ivorian Referees and for the head of the Nigerian delegation. They are for the sum of Le480,000.00 and Le400,000.00 respectively. Exhibit "O" is payment voucher of the association dated 26th April 2001 payable to one Mphamed Mansaray for the sum of Le480,000.00 described as payment for the car used by the match Commissioner for Sierra Leone versus Nigeria match for 6 (six days) , the payment was made by cheque SST 126 149 and receipt dated 30th April 2001 contains a signature of Mohamed Mansaray and exhibit "O2" payment voucher is dated 26th April 2001 for the sum of Le480,000.00 payable to one Ahmed Yakuba towards car hire for Ivorian Referees for the Sierra Leone versus Nigeria match for 6 (six days) and the receipt dated 26th April 2001 is marked exhibit "P2" and finally exhibit "O 1" is the payment voucher dated 26h April 2001 for the sum of Le 100,000.00 towards car hire for Nigeria delegation for Sierra Leone versus Nigeria match on the 21st April 2001 for 5 (five days) and exhibit "Q2" receipt dated 26th April 2001. The cheque stubs in respect of these payment are SST 126 149, SST 146 301 and SST 126 15 and were tendered and are contained exhibit and "W and "X2" and the total is Lel300.060.00 as against the total sum of Le2,100,000.00 under items 1,5 to 2.6 in exhibit "G" the projected budget and exhibit "F", issue of the Newspaper dated 5th April 2002.
The witness recognizes Sierra Leone Football Association payment under voucher dated 19th April 2001 and it is in receipt of Sierra Leone Police Band for the Sierra Leone versus Nigeria match schedule for 21st April 2001 it is exhibit "Q1" and exhibit :R2-3" are the letter PB 28/19 volume dated 10th April 2001
signed by the prince P. Abafemi Johnson Assistant Superintendent of Police and Principal Director of Music and receipt dated 19th April 2001 for the said sum of Le200,000.00. In addition the Police provided security for the match and payment voucher dated 26th April, 2001 for the sum of Lel,000,000.00 (One Million Leones) in exhibit "SI" and exhibit "S2" is the receipt dated 30th April, 2001 signed by S.E Logan, Superintendent.
The witness was referred to exhibit "R & G' and he said that budget in exhibit "G" the sum of Le200,000.00 for the hiring of the Sierra Leone Police band. It is indicated in items 5.5. the association also budgeted the sum of Le2,500,000.00 for police security under item 5.5 in exhibit "G", but as shown in exhibit "S1-2" the actual expenditure incurred for the this purpose is the sum of Le1,000,000.00. However the budget column at page two (2) of exhibit "G" does not contain police security. Payment of honorarium was made to 18 players of the Leone Stars in respect of the Sierra Leone versus Nigeria match and this is evidenced by exhibit "T" each recipient signed his name against the amount. Payment of honorarium was made to the Leone Stars technical team, auxiliary staff and unselected players respectively. The witness tendered exhibit "T", "U" and "V" for the sum of Lei8,000,000.00, Le5,422,000.00 and Lel00,000.00 respectively, a total of Le24,422,000.00 in support of the payments.
Mr. Kabba informed the court that after the conclusion of the match and the several payments made, it was the practice of the Association to prepare another budget showing the projected budget accounts actual expenditure and the
difference. He tendered this document as exhibit "HA 1-4". The witness was taken through this exhibit. He deposed that as regards car rental (Two (2) cars under item 1.5 the actual expenditure is Le960,000.00 as against the amount of Le1,400,000.00 in exhibits "F" and "G", the actual expenditure for the twenty (20) buses hired was Le 130,000.00 as against the sum of Le1,400,000.00 in exhibit "F" & "G" under item 2.7 actual amount paid for accommodation of Nigerian delegation was Lel9,077,250.00 as shown under item 2.1 against the budget projection of Le33,390,000.00 in exhibit "G" as falsely stated in exhibit "F". Sixteen (16) rooms were occupied by the twenty-five (25) players i.e. one for match officials and a room to two (2) players of eighteen (18). As regards feeding of the delegation, the actual expenditure according to exhibit "AA1-4 was the sum Le6,075,000.00 five (5) dollars per day i.e. five (5) days at fifty US dollars as against the projected budget of Le17,500,000.00.
Actual expenditure for honorarium for eighteen (18) selected players of Leone Stars, unselected four (4) players technical staff, team nurses, goal keeper appear as items 3.4,3.5,3.6,3.7,3.8,3.9,3.10 and 3.11 for the sums of Lel8,000,000.00, Lel,000,000.00, Le4,200,000.00, Le300,000.00, Le672,000.00 and Le25.9,000.00 respectively. Equally item 5.5 shows that the actual expenditure for the hiring of the Police Band is Le235,000.00and not Le200,000.00; the difference of Le35,000.00 the witness explained is for the cost of fuel. He further stressed that the actual expenditures do not agree with the figures published in exhibit "G" and "F" because the figures in exhibit "G" are estimates of expenditure and wrongly and falsely represented in exhibit "F". The prosecution produced exhibit "BB1-4", which is headed match and expeditions
Sierra Leone/Nigeria - 21/4/2001 and went through with the witness relevant expenditures.
The witness said that page two (2) of the exhibit shows that the sum of Le480,000.00 was spent for the car hired for the match official and the figure agrees with the sum in exhibit "O1-2 i.e. Le480,000.00. a similar sum was paid in respect of the referees and is reflected in exhibit "BB2" and "P1-2"; Also exhibit "BB2" indicates that the sum of Le3,530,450.00 was spent for accommodation for match officials and that exhibits "H1-2", "J-'2" and "IC1-2" totaling Le30,182,700.00 are for the accommodation and feeding for the match officials and Nigeria delegation comprising one match commissioner, four (4) referees and twenty-five (25) Nigerian. The breakdown of the sum of Le30,l82,200.00 is demonstrated in exhibit "BB2" as under match officials accommodation Le3,530,450.00 feeding Le1,500,000.00 and under Nigerian delegation accommodation Lel9,077,250.00 and feeding Le6,075,000.00.
Mr. Kabba testified that according to exhibit "BB2" the total income accruing from Sierra Leone/Nigeria match played on the 21st day of April, 2001 is Lel46,131,00.00 the total expenditure was Le113,968,428, a net total of Le26,232,572.00. He said that the assertion at the second column of the back page of exhibit "F" that SLFA claimed the Nigeria contingent spent seven (7) days in Sierra Leone and spent Le33 million on boarding and Le 18 million on feeding and that the total amount spent on match officials, Nigeria delegation; Leone Stars National Stadium expenses and others (Le2 million) to a total of Lel84 million is in correct. He reported that the sum of Lel9,077,250 and
Le6,075,000.00 respectively were incurred for accommodation and feeding of the Nigerian delegations and that the figures for the total in exhibit "F" is not correct.
The Sierra Leone Football Association operates an account with the Sierra Leone Commercial Bank Limited and the witness tendered exhibits "E1-15" for the period 25th January, 2001 to 3rd July, 2002. Prosecuting counsel went with the witness through some of the payments indicating the relevant cheque numbers in exhibit "El-15" some of these exhibits include exhibits "E1-2", "J1-2", "K1-2", "L1-2", M1-2", "N1-2", "01-2", "Q1-2", "R1-3" and "S1-2" as well as the relevant cheque stubs in exhibits "W", "X" and "Z". When asked, the accused said he had no question for the witness and consequently there was also no re-examination.
Alimu Bah prosecution witness No 4 then took the witness stand. He is the Secretary General of the Association. He recognized the Complainant Maitland Emeric Tolla Thompson, PW 6, Abu Bakarr Kabba, PW 3 and on Sheka Bangura, the Treasurer. The witness said some of these duties included the keeping of the minutes of Association, maintenance of relationship in terms of correspondence with both International Sporting Association and National and he is also Chief Administrator of the Secretariat. He gave the name of the other employees of the Association and that they are all paid out of funds provided by the Federation of International Football Association (FIFA). The financial year of the Association is October to September and an annual financial budget is prepared each year. This is done by the Secretariat and when approved by the Executive Committee of the Association, it is sent to National Sports Counsel.
Executive Committee of the Association, it is sent to National Sports Counsel. The Association receives a yearly subvention of $250,000.00 from (FIFA), which they described as the Financial Assistance Association (FAP) and is paid by installments as and when it is required or requested by the Association.
The witness said he is a holder of the Bachelor of Arts General Degree, University of Sierra Leone, an International Master in the Management of Law and Humanity of Sport. He obtained the Master in the year 2001 and he studied in Mountford University, Leicester United Kingdom (SDA) Bacconi, Milan, Republic of Italy and University of Neufchatel in Switzerland. He recognized exhibit "Y" which is a three (3) page document and it contains particulars relating to his course of study. The exhibit was prepared by (FIFA) and a headed "FIFA Financial Assistance Program, Sierra Leone".
The witness was shown exhibit "F" and on the first column of page two (2), it is stated that Tolla claimed to have spent US dollars $40.00 to send the F.A. Scribe Alimu Bah to undertake administrative course in England and FDP learnt that the amount was grossly inflated. He said that allegation is misleading and untrue. He catalogued the four payments involved in his study namely in exhibit "Y1" under FAD 42341 payment.to University Neufchatel Master for Management, Law and Humanities of Sport of Alimu Bah, the sum of US dollars $10,625.00 and also in exhibit "Y1" FAC 43400 our payment, participation International MA course the sum of US dollars $7,000. These accounts were incurred in 2000 out of the US dollars $250,000.00 for that year as tuition fee and way air ticket, in exhibit "Y3", under code BIMA course of Mr. Alimu Bah,
CIES Neufchatel, the sum of US dollar $3,038, which was allowance to the witness and also B1 travel expenses of Mr. Alimu Bah (CIES) from Zurich to Freetown the sum of US dollars $1,239 and was paid directed to Sabena Air Lines. These last two payments were in 2001. The total spent for the witness course of study is US dollars $21,902.00 and not US dollars.$49,000.00as alleged in exhibit "F". Mr. Bah drew the attention of the court that according to exhibit "Y1" the overall expenditure of the Association for the year 2002 was US dollars $238,217.00 out of the subvention of US $250,000.00 from FIFA for year 2000 and there was a disposable amount of US dollars $11,783.00 at the end of the year. There was no cross - examination of the witness and therefore no re-examination.
Emeric Bernard Jones PW 5 was the next witness. He is the Managing Director of Sky Construction and Engineering Services Limited, a Limited Liability Company he told the court that his company has a contract with the Sierra Leone Football Association to construct a Football Academy in phases. Phase one inter alia, include an administrative block, two security posts, a football pitch, external walls and a fence. His company tendered for the contract and appeared before a tender-board before the award. The contract price was Le396,220,528.00 and it was entered in a "Bank" guarantee with the Union Trust Bank, Howe Street, Freetown, which was a 10% of the contract price. Phase one has been completed and his company were paid by bank transfer. He produced exhibit "CC 1-4" which is headed Proposed Football Academy at Kingtom, Freetown - Phase 1- administrative building and. external walls and is the contract document dated 8th day of February, 2000. The contract Price of
Le396,222,522 was converted to U$D at the rate of Le2,350.00 to the dollar and the dollar total is USD 168,775,543 Cents payment were as follows: -1/3/2000 - USD 84,387,80c
9/6/2000 - 16,427.00c
28/8/2000 - 33,980.40c
23/11/2000 - 20,604,11c
30/8/2001 - 13,376,20c
TOTAL - USD 168.575.51
Mr. Jones said he had read exhibit "F" and the allegation at page 2 effect that FIFA had already disbursed USD 750,000.00 for the construction of the football academy and that Tolla claimed the first phase is now completed at a total of USD 362,000.00 i.e. the administrative building, fence and field. The witness confirmed that as far as phase one if the academy is concerned, it has been completed and he has received USD 168,527.51 and not USD 362,000.00.as alleged in exhibit "F".
Exhibit "DD 1-4" captioned proposed football Academy at Kingtom, Freetown - phase w - Academy Gymnasium Block and between the Sierra Leone football Association and Sky Constructions Engineering Services Limited was produced and tendered by P.W.5. It is dated 29th June 2001 and the contract price stated as the sum Le505,990,400.00 is converted to USD at the rate of Le2000,000.00 to USD. On the execution of the document the company received advance payment of 20% of the contract price secured by a bank guarantee in the sum of USD 51,6000.00 and it
received a further payment of USD 14,000.00 on the 14th November 2001. Thus only a total of U$D 65,600.00 the company has received in respect of phase 2 (two). And the total amount received from the Association for phases one & two is USD 234,375.51 and not USD 362,000.00 as alleged in exhibit "F". The witness said the suggestion in the last paragraph of the first column of page 2 to the effect that Tolla spent Le28 Million for planting grass on the field but the grass has whittled and died is in correct and untrue. The company planted grass on the field and the cost included in the total cost of USD 168,775.51 is correct and untrue is the assertions in page 2 of exhibit "F" that the roof of the administrative building leaks when it rains. Also the statements in the 2nd column of page 2 exhibit "F" that as for the second phase which should include the football Academy, a Gymnasium and hotels. Tolla has already spent USD 200,000.00 is wrong and the witness reiterated he had received only USD 650,000.00 for the second phase and a total of USD 234,395.51 for both phase. At the completion of the testimony of the witness the accused was asked .whether he had any questions and he replied in the negative. There was no reexamination.
The last witness for the prosecution was Maitland Emeric Tolla Thompson, P. W7 who said he is the Honorary President of the Sierra Leone Football Association. He recognizes the accused who is Chairman of the Wellington People Football Club and was at once time team manager of Leone Stars, our national team. As team manager, he is responsible in conjunction with the coach for the preparation of the national side for
International matches. He doubles as welfare officer. The witness recognizes P.W3, Abu Bakarr Kabba, PW.4 Alimu Bah, PW5 Emeric Bernard tones. He has seen both exhibits CC1-4 & ddl-4 and both exhibits contain his signature his signature on behalf of the Sierra Leone Football Association in respect of contract with Sky Construct and Engineering Services Limited relating to phases one and two of a proposed football academy at Kingtom, Freetown. The witness confirmed that work on phase one has been completed and the contractor has been paid in full. He acknowledge that the contract price of phase two is the sum of Le505,999,400/00 and so work has been completed in respect of the class room block, gymnasium and the residence of the technical director and that part - payment has been made to the contractor.
Justice Thompson knows Foday Mambau Brima Sawe, PW.6 and says that he is a regular reader of newspaper published in Sierra Leone. He reads the news paper called "For Di People" and agrees that its. one of the paper with the widest circulation in Sierra Leone. He has before today seen exhibit "F" and at the back page is an item in bold letters "Tiffy Tiffy Tiffy Tolla." He also sees at page 2 of the same exhibit in bold letters too "Tolla is a liar and a crook". This Judge must resign now!" He felt devastated and annoyed when he read the article in exhibit "F" and that he is commonly called Tifi Tifi" is in our parlance and in English it means a thief and the term connotes dishonesty. He under stands the word "Crook" as same one dishonesty and to the best of his knowledge he has never bee found guilty of theft crook and (or dishonesty nor held out to be a and .
complained on the contents of exhibit "F" he received several telephone calls local and from abroad expressing anguish, disgust and annoyance.
One such call from abroad was from his daughter, a barrister. He has named. 32 years ago and has children one of whom is also a Lecturer at? FourahBay College University of Sierra Leone. The witness complained that that exhibit is not the first publication the accused has written about him.
He writes about him six days weeks except Sunday, when he does not publish. As this is not enough he sometimes publishes his picture in full official regalia and these repeated publication caused his family and counsel considerable discomfort and embarrassment. Friends also contacted him about exhibit "F".
The witness recalled the Sierra Leone Nigeria match scheduled in Freetown on 21st April, 2001. He was chairman of the executive committee of the Sierra Leone Football Association and after the committee had approved the budget prepared by the Association, he caused . it to be sent to the National Sports Council. It is exhibit "G"; and when it became clear that Government was not disposed to finance the match the Association made arrangement to do so. The witness recognizes the various payment vouchers prepared by the secretarial for service, allowances and honoraria to certain beneficiaries. They include exhibits H1-2, J1-2, K1-2, L1-2, M1-2, N 1-2, 01-2, Q1-2, R1-2 and S21-2 and
agreed that he signed the relevant cheques on these payment vouchers. He did not sign the stubs which are in exhibits "W" and "X" "Z". He recalled signing the cheque for Le18,000.00 for 18 selected Players for the Leone Stars Team.
He has seen exhibit AA1-4 and BB1-4 and endorsed the accounts shown as actual expenditures for the match as well as the income that accrued.
He denied that the Association paid Le200,00/00 for the Police Sweeper car as alleged at the able page of exhibit "F". No such payment was made and hence it did not appear in the actual expenditure column in exhibit "AA1-4". In any event he did not authorize such a payment. Reverting to exhibit "F" categorically deny that he as an individual for the President of the Sierra Leone Football Association claimed that the association gave Le1.4 million to the Police for a period of 7 days for the sweeper car, during the Sierra Leone versus Nigeria match on the 21st April not did the FA pay Le700,00/00 get 7 days (Seven days) for the 2 cars (two cars).rented and Le200,00.00 for a bus for the same match, not did the FA say that the national team was camped for 21 says at a cost of Le7 million not did the SLFA claim that the Nigeria contingent spent seven days in Sierra Leone and spent Le33 million on boarding and Le18 million of feeding, not did he claim to have spent about USD 40,000 to read the FA scribe, Alimu Bah to undertake Administrative course in England nor has he claimed that the first phase of the Football academy is
now completed at a total of U$D362,000/00 (dollars) i.e. the Administrative Building fence and the field not has he said he spent Le28,000,000/00 for planting of grass in the field, nor has he said that he has spent USD 200,000/00 towards the second phase pf the academy not has he said that USD 100,000/00 is in sufficient to complete the project and that he has recently demanded another U$D400,000.00 from the Goal Project to wrap up hi Academy.
He referred the Court to the actual expenditure spent on these items in Exhibits Y1-2, AA1-4, BB1-4, EE1-5, FF1-11 and the testimonies of PW.3, PW 4, PW5 - Abu Bakarr Kabba, Alimu Bah, Emeric Bernard Jones and confirmed that they were the correct and true sums incurred by the Association.
He refuted the allegation that he is corrupt in exhibit F and said he has never been invited by the Anti-Corruption Commission or the Criminal Investigation Department.
He has never squandered the funds of the SLFA and it is incorrect and malicious to impute that he is dishonest. He denied inflating the funds of the Association nor has he connived with anybody in undercover to justify the disbursement of FIFA and other funds. The witness denied all the allegation in Exhibit 'F' As regards the course of study of Alimu Bah, PW4, he told the court that the association receives a yearly subvention of USD 250,000.00
from Fifa and it is a uniform sum for all associations in the world. He identified in exhibit 'Y' the subventions for 1999 and 2000 and drew the courts attention to the amounts paid by the association for the course of study of PW4. He was shown exhibit CC1-4 and he acknowledged. His signature therein and said that the ontract price was Le 396,622,525.00, which was converted to USD (United State Dollars) at the rate of Le2,350.00 per Dollar. Its equivalent was $168,775,543 and phase one has beer completed and the contract or fully paid. The prosecution took him through certain payments regarding phase one in exhibit "FF1"" . A similar exercise was earned out in respect of exhibit 'DD1-4 relating to phrase two of the proposed football academy. He identified his signature in the exhibit and confirmed the evidence of PW5 relating to the part payments so far paid. He disputed all the allegations in the football academy in exhibit 'F' and said they are unture and are calculated to disparage him.
PW7 said he is the president of the Sierra Leone football association and it is honourary and he does not receive salaries for the post. There is a Public Relation officer in the service of the association and part of his duties is to furnish information to the press, individuals and institutions. He reiterated that the accused was sometime team Manager in the year 2000, but he is no longer the team manager. He recalled that the national team, The Leone Stars went to Ghana World cup elimination series which the Leone
Stars lost 5-0. The accused was the team manager and on their return the (witness) left for the United Kingdom. In his absence the executive of Sierra Leone Football Association met and decided that the head coach and the accused as team manager should prefer some explanation for the heavy defeat. It would appear that the accused did not reply and so the executive met and suspended him and it was during this period of suspension that he resigned. As the accused was not satisfied, he complained to the Head of State. The witness said he was summoned by the Head of State, who indicated to him that the accused wanted to come back to the Association and he (the witness) told the Head of State that the accused had one hurdle. To get over and that is his letter of resignation he had first to withdraw the letter; after which the executive would review the matter. The president agreed that the stance was reasonable and turned and asked the accused whether he would like to withdraw his letter of resignation. Mr. Kamara accused) said he would like to consult his wife and so far he has not withdrawn his letter of resignation and the accused did not take kindly to his suggestion. In conclusion the witness said that he had never crossed swords with the accused and that the accused nursed instant late to finish him. He (the witness) haboured no animosity against the accused but it was incumbent that he should protect his reputation and that the witness has gone too far.
Finally, the witness produced exhibit "GG", which is the Sierra Leone Football Association financial statement for the year ending 31st August, 2001. Prepared by the firm of King Walker and Association, Chartered Accountants of 42B Siaka Stevens Street, Freetown the witness said that page (13) contains details of the statement of receipts and payments Sierra Leone Vs. Nigeria reach as shown as Le. 113,948,428/00 and the witness said this is the same amount in exhibit "BB1-4".
Under cross - examination by the accused, the witness said his name is Maitland Emeric Jolla Thompson and he is a justice of Appeal and he subscribed to an oath before the Honourable the Chief Justice in which he promised to up hold the constitution. He is familiar with some of the provisions of the constitution of Sierra Leone and one of them is section 138(4). He is familiar with the substance of the subsection and respects it. He is a Judge of the Superior Court of Judicature and he is still in office. He disagrees. That he is holding any other office of profit and emolument whether by way of allowances or otherwise Private or public. He recalled that he News Paper "For Di People" wrote an article against him in 1992 and that he was chairman of National Insurance Company between 1987 - 1992 and that during the intervention of the AFR C the board was dissolved. He is not aware that judges were removed because there was conflict of interest not the reason why the board was dissolved. He is not aware that Judges were removed because
there was conflict of interest not the reason why the Board was He is familiar with the legal diction that one cannot be a judge in his own cause. He is the president of the Court of Appeal and at the same time the president of SLFA and the latter position is honourary; which means he is not paid for the jobs. As president of SLFA, he does not receive honourarium and when he has cause to travel on SLFA duties he does not receive per diem allowance. When he travels on assignment by CAF or FIFA he receives indemnity and not serenity against loss. It is so provided under the Regulations. Fifa reimburse an account as the case may be for whatever loss incures & refers to it as an indemnity and no allowances and indemnity as security against loss. It is also provided under regulations. FIFA reimburses an amount as the case may be for whatever loss one incures and refers to it as an indemnity. The witness said he received indemnity in respect of any expenses he incurred, when he is involved in FIFA or CAF matches. In football matches, a host nation is a team playing at home and said that Liberia will be a host nation if our Leone Stars team played against it in the Republic of Liberia. Such an exercise will include a preliminary or first leg and a final match and the regulation of these bodies provide for repayment of expenses involving travel daily indemnities, match commissioner etc. As president of SLFA the witness continued, he has hosted match commissioners, referees and assistant referees and again the regulations of FIFA and CAF make provisions for indemnities. He could not say off head the amount
for referees, but match commissioners receive a flat rate of $US850 respective of how long they stay in the host country. He is not aware of any special allowance for a match commissioner and the occasion he had served as match commissioner did not apply as all members of the standing committee are ex officers match commissioners. He is a member of that committee and automatically qualifies as a match commissioner. There is an express provision under the CAF regulation. In Sierra Leone there are two match commissioners Messrs Benji Davis and Murray Conteh; he is not sure but he thinks that Mr. Wallace Johnson is also one.
There was no reexamination and lead prosecuting counsel closed his case. The accused was told the options operation to him under the criminal procedure Act 1965 and he indicated he would be giving evidence on oath, would be serving subpoena to witnesses to testify and produce documents and at the end of the day would address the court. He then asked for two weeks adjournment to enable him prepare his defence adequately. I heard arguments from counsel on both sides and granted a week's adjournment to the 8th day of August, 2002.
On that date Gibson Okeke appeared for the accused and asked for an adjournment to prepare his client's defence. I gave another week's adjournment to the 15th day of August, 2002. On
this date the matter was adjourned to the 26th day of August as amongst other reasons was the absence of counsel for the defence.
However the case was resumed on the 2nd day of September, 2002 and counsel for the defence took an objection on jurisdictional ground. I called upon the defence to proceed with the defence in accordance with section (192) of the criminal procedure Act 1965. Thereupon Mr. Okeke applied for the recall of Mr. Alimu Bah, the Minister of Sport and the Director of Audits. During the argument a request was also made for the recall of PW7, the complainant. The reason advanced was to cross - examine the complainant further and also Alimu Bah, as defence Counsel was not present, when they testified. The other side drew attention to section (189) of the . Criminal Procedure Act, 1965 pointing out that the right to examine a witness is also bestowed on the accused, that there are guide lines under common law and the criminal procedure Act, 1965 for the recall of witnesses. As I was not satisfied with the arguments of the defence I ruled against the recall of the complainant and Mr. Alimu Bah. The case was then adjourned to the 4th day of September, 2002 so enable the defence to subpoena their witnesses.
On the 4th day of September, 2002; the defence called Mustapha Alhaji Kamara, DW1, who said he is the acting Director of Sports Council of Sierra Leone. He told the court that the National Sport Counsel is responsible for all sporting activities in the country including football and that the councill was established
by the National Sports Council of Sierra Leone Act. 1964. He is a member and is described as the director of National Sports. The Director is also a member of the executive body called the Management Committee. The council is funded from government funds donations and sponsors.
There are no professional footballers in Sierra Leone; but there are some out of the country. The council receives complaints from different associations. He knows that the president of the Sierra Leone Football Association is Justice Tolla Thompson. Under cross - examination the witness said he took up his appointment on the 13th day of April, 2001, that he is a member of the council and no clubs are members. He agrees that the act does not give him specific duties and that the council is empowered to delegate its finding to the committee. There was no re -examination.
The next witness was Dolly Eba Williams, DW2, and she says she is senior auditor and works in the Auditor - General's Department. She has her staff and they do auditing for parastatals The Audit General has the constitutional mandate to audit all public accounts including parastatals and government offices. The National Sports Council is one of them. She has not done any auditing of sports. As supervisor she recalled auditing the accounts of the National Sports Council. She does not audit private
institutions or establishments. As she is a government auditor. She does not know the accused and they (meaning the audit Department) have not audited the accounts of the Sierra Leone Football Association, but only did a 'verification of the accounts. It was done by another colleague as she was not in the country. She was shown section 119(2) of the Public Budgeting and Accounting Act, 1991 and said that was the subjection she was referring to in her examination in - chief. There was no re - examination.
Dennis Randolph Bright is DW3 and he is a Minister responsible for sports. He is in charge of Youth and sports. He knows the existence of the National Sports Council established by an Act of parliament. He does not know the full compliment of the council, but is aware that the council is supposed to be co-ordinate supervising sports activities in Sierra Leone. It receives funds partly from government and does not recall other sources. He knows DW1, the acting Director of Sports. He knows about the Sierra Leone Football Association and Justice Tolla Thompson is the president of that association. It is SLFA that is a member of the National Sports Council.
He would know of complaints from clubs but he is not aware of any from any of the clubs against the SLFA nor whether the Association is a limited company. He has been informed about it and he expected that the executive members of SLFA formed it. He
said that FIFA deals with SLFA; and as far as football is concerned, FIFA deals with the Local Football Association. He cannot say whether FIFA deals with the clubs, but knows that the government makes contribution to SLFA. He has been informed that FIFA supports SLFA from time to time with funds and as far as he knows FIFA does not give money to the Ministry of Youth and Sports or clubs. He knows that FIFA gives money through the Association and that there is a football academy under construction.
Dr. Bright told the court that he assumed office as a Minister on the 9th day of July, 2002. He also got to know about the construction of the football academy through correspondence. He stated that government accounts are audited by the Auditor -General including those of the National Sports Council. He would not know whether the exercise covers the account of SLFA. He is not aware of a disciplinary Council but knows one Mr. Mansaray, who is an assistant to the Director of Sports. He repeated that he would know about disputes - financial or otherwise if they exist. He deposed that if monies are provided by FIFA, it is this body that would instruct its use. He is not unfair with the details of the Nigeria Sierra Leone match played on the 21st day of April, 2001, as he assumed office only a couple of months ago and was unfair to ask him detailed questions on it.
Under - cross - examination, Dr. Bright said he was in court as a result of a subpoena. He recogonised the National Sports Council of Sierra Leone Act 1964 as amended and said,it was the Act he was referring to. In his examination - in - chief. His attention was drawn to sections (4) and (7) and he agreed with counsel that there is no provision in the Act giving specific functions to the Minister function that are enacted are to the Council or Management committee. He was shown extra — ordinary Sierra Leone Gazette No. (47) dated 30th day of July, 2002, which was tendered and marked 'H4'. He identified his name and function as Minister of Youth and Sports at the back page. The witness also tendered the subpoen issued to him to testify and it was marked exhibit 'JJ'.
DW4 is Ismael Sesay, who describes himself as a Sport Administrator for Easton Rangers Football Club. He said that the club is a member of the National Sports Council and that the accused, whom he knows very well, is chairman and founder of the Wellington people Football club. He averred that all clubs and affiliates are members of the Sierra Leone Football Association. He knows the president of that association and he identified him in court. The association obtains its funds by annual subscription from members, proceeds from gate takings sponsors, assistance from CAF and FIFA and opined that the clubs are supposed to have a say on what the association does. SLFA is affiliated to FIFA, CAF and
WAFU (West African Football Union). There is a treasurer in the employment of SLFA and also a financial committee. Mr. Sesay told the court that he is the secretary of Easton Rangers and a member of the organizing committee of SLFA representing the interest of all the first division clubs in Sierra Leone; the organizing committee organize matches. He does not have direct dealings with finances and the clubs choose a representative to represent them in the committee.
The Sierra Leone Football Association operates an account with the Sierra Leone Commercial Bank Limited. He knows Dr. Dennis Bright, is the Minister of Youth and Sport and his predecessor is Dr. Alpha Wurie. The witness was shown a document by counsel for the defence which he recognizes as a Memorandum and Articles of the Sierra Leone Football Association Ltd by guarantee. When the witness stressed there are any disputes, they reported to or complain by protest to the organizing committee or the players status Minister and registration committee. The witness was shown a document which he said contains his signature "a statement purported to have been delivered by the secretary -General, council of football clubs on behalf of member clubs constituting the SLFA during a meeting with the Honourable Minister of Youth, Education and Sport and National Sports Council official on the 18th day of April, 2002 at the Atlantic Hall of the National Stadium. Council for the prosecution objected to the
admission and after I had heard arguments from both sides, I up held the objection.
The witness in continuing his evidence said that the dispute arose between the officers and the members and it was taken up with the minister and the Director of Sports. He concluded that he does not know the amount or money held by the association as well as the Association's Commercial Bank. Under cross - examination, the witness said he was subpoened to come and testify and the subpoena was tendered and is marked exhibit 'KK'. He admitted that the issue between the complainant and the accused is that of Defamatory Libel etc and it is about the association and how the money is spent. He is not aware that the allegation is that the accused called complainant "Tiffy Tiffy Tolla". He knows that the complainant is president of SLFA, but he is unaware that another allegation is that the complainant and others are cooking up the staff - books of SLFA. He seldom read the newspaper "For Di People" and says that he does not know the editor of the paper. He disagreed that he is a friend of the accused and it was not true that he is seen with him most times. He was shown exhibit "F" and he sees that it is dated at the back page that the editor is Paul Kamara. He recognized also the phrase "Tiffy Tiffy Tolla". At page (2) of the exhibit be sees the captions "Tolla is a liar and a crook"; "Resign now", "caught parts down". He said he did not know of all these allegations before coming to testify. He knows about the National Sports Council
regarding complainants they made to it, but does not know that the president of SLFA is a member of the Council representing SLFA. He has never read the National Sports Council Act 1964 and when shown and his attention drawn to section (4), he admitted that it does provide that clubs are members of the Council. He nursed no judge against SLFA, because he is a member and denied that during the NPRC intervention he had a quarrel with SLFA. He also referred that he was involved with football tickets during that period.
He was elected as member of the organizing committee in 1993 or 1994 and again in 2001 to represent the interest of first division clubs. He disputed that he was a member of the organizing committee, when the accused was team manager of the SDLFA. He was secretary of second division clubs from 1993 - 1995, but was not elected in 2000. He agreed he was elected in absentia in 2001, when Nahim Kadi was team Manager, but not during the period when the accused was so appointed. There was nore - examination and counsel for the defence close his case.
Both Counsel for defence and prosecution addressed the court. In his submission, Mr. Okeke counsel for the defence said it was the duty of the prosecution to prove the guilty of the accused beyond reasonable doubt. It was then to prove the procedure, the practice and the law. They bear all the burden to prove all the evidence. He referred me to the law officers Act, 1965 and particularly to section (3) and submitted that counsel for the
prosecution and his juniors are not law officers. He cited the cases of Wellington Distilleries and Lansana and others 1970 - 1971. ALR, SLR, page 186. He went on to say no matter whatever evidence is led the indictment is defective and consequently the proceedings is a nullity and is void because there has not been a committal. He argued that a non legal Law Officer cannot to the High Court to prosecute a criminal case unless he makes him shows authority from the Attorney-General, which must be filed.
He submitted that the intervention of Mr. Soyei signing the indictment is a nullity and for this proposition he cited the case of Kuloyokor Vs. Bawoi and Glentalias Siafa 1970 - 1971 ALR SLR 58. He submitted that the section 136 of the criminal procedure Act, 1965 and argued once more, that a criminal prosecution for the offence of Defamatory Libel cannot be prosecuted without a preliminary investigation. He referred me to exhibit 'GG\ which is the auditor's report of the Sierra Leone Football Association for the year 2001 and asked where was the report for 2002. Counsel cited section 50 of the criminal procedure Act, 1965 and said that the indictment has no address, occupation of the complainant and asked whether he could bring any action for a matter that does not concern him. It is the football association that has been defamed and not the complainant. He referred to the extraordinary Gazette exhibit "HH" and averred that the minister DW3 has not complained that they lost any money; and no other party can complain that they lost any
money. He continued that Alpha Wurie is at National Interest and the prosecution did not call him nor has Alimu Bah tendered any accounts. However, the Auditor - General sent a representative, he asserted. He argued that the indictment was not prosecuted in the name of Sierra Leone it was bad for duplicity and multiplicity.
He submitted that Tolla Thompson simpliciter in the particulars of offence is uncertain, because it would have been Tolla Thompson as president of the Sierra Leone Football Association. It is the football association that should bring proceedings and not Tolla Thompson. He stressed that the proceedings are null and void and illegal and the accused is not the proper party. He finally referred me to section (25) and (64) of the Constitution of Sierra Leone Act, No. 6 1991 and invited me to see Anti - corruption Act.
Mr. Tejan-Cole Commenced his address by submitting that the indictments complied with all the requirements for a 136 application under the criminal procedure Act 1965 as amended by Act No. (1) of 1970 and that as of now there is no restriction that certain offences e.g. Treason must come before the High Court. Through a preliminary investigation, he further submitted that there is prevision in the constitution both for private and public prosecutions and the knows that the instance case is of the former. He referred to section (25) of the said constitution, which he said permits the
press to publish and a right and freedom of expression subject to respect the reputation of others. Because of this parliament has enacted the public order Act 1965 which contains sections 26 to 30 inclusive the rights and reputation of others. And the accused is charged with (9) nine counts of knowingly publishing a false Defamatory Libel and another (9) nine counts of Defamatory Libel. Counsel submitted that of a newspaper believes that a wrong has been done it is proper and the editor's right to report it, but he must first take careful steps to ensure that what he alleges is true. It does not give him a right to print anything. The freedom to print must be balanced against a number of other interests including the rights of any person, who deserves it to retain his good name and reputation. He should publish the truth. Prosecuting counsel catalogued the eighteen counts and pointed out that counts 1, 3, 5, 7, 9, 11, 13, 15 and 17 relate to knowingly publishing a false Defamatory Libel and counts 2, 4, 6, 8, 10, 12, 14, 16 and 18 of Defamatory Libel. He went on to say that the particulars of offence are the same as follows:-
1) Counts 1 and 2
2) Counts 3 and 4
3) Counts 4 and 6
4) Counts 7 and 8
5) Counts 9 and 10
6) Counts 11 and 12
7) Counts 13 and 14
8) Counts 15 and 16 and
9) Counts Hand 18
He said that the allegation in counts 1 and 2, is that Tolla is a liar and a crook - "Tiffi Tiffi Tolla" meaning he is a thief, liar and crook implying the commission of criminal offence and in exhibit 'F' alleging that the sum of Le14 million was paid to the police for a period of (7) seven days for a sweeper police car during the Sierra Leone Nigeria Police match on the 21st day of April, 2001. He referred me to exhibit 'G' and AA 1-4. As regards counts 3 and 4, the allegation contains the captions in counts 1 and 2 and the complaint is that the football association paid Le. 700,000/00 and also the sum of Le200,000/00 for a bus.
Again it was referred to exhibit "G" and AA1-4. Counts 7 and 8 contains the name captions and the allegation is that the association spent on the match official Nigerian delegation, Leone Stars, National Stadium, the sum of Le184 million implying that the complainant was guilty of dishonesty by inflating the amount stole and converted it to his use. Counts 9 and 10 contain the same captions and allegation is that Tolla has his appropriated a lot of funds meant for the development of football etc. Counts 11 and 12 also contain the same captions and the allegation is that the first phase of the football academy has been completed at a total cost of $362,000/00. Counsel referred me to the testimony of PW5 and exhibit "CC1-4". Counts 13 and 14 also contain the same captions
and accuses the complainant of spending the sum of Le28 million for the planting of grass in the field and the grass has wreathed and died. He referred me to the evidence of PW5 and exhibit "CC1"4"; counts 15 and 16 also bear the same captions and the allegation is that the plan for the academy alone was $42,000/00 the administrative building which is something like a fowl coupe at a cost of $ 169,000/00 and as far as the 2nd phase is concerned the gymnasium and hotels Tolla has already spent $200,000/00 and he says that $1000,000/00 is insufficient to complete the project and that Tolla has demanded another $400,000/00 from the goal project to wrap up his academy. Counsel also referred me to the evidence of PW5 and exhibit "CC1"4". Finally, counts 17 and 18 also contain the captions and the allegation is that Tolla is involved in under cover deals and twisting figures to justify the disbursement of FIFA and other funds eg. FIFA spent $500,000/00 in 1999/2000 for the academy and construction started in 2002. However Tolla claimed to have spent $60,000/00 for the Sierra Leone Vs. Morocco Match even though this encounter took place in 1996 and FIFA said that all the allegations are untrue and are Defamatory of the complainant. He submitted that for the accused to publish such allegations against the complainant, he must have had access to some records; but nevertheless has not substantiated them in court or through complainant in the witness box. Counsel further submitted that evidence for the prosecution in a criminal libel is in substance the
same for the plaintiff in a civil action and cited arch bold Para 36 35 of the 38th edition
He said that certain differences do exist. Firstly, in criminal libel publication to the person defamed is sufficient; secondly that the truth of a defamatory statement affords a complete defence justification in tort, but in crime the defendant must prove not only that the statement is true but it is for the public interest that it be published. He referred me to section 28(3) of the public order Act, 1965 and that all complainants from counts 1-18 are presumed to be false and the accused having not pleaded justification the truth of the allegation cannot be enquired into. Also the allegations contained in counts 1-18 are false and untrue by virtue of section 28(i) of the public order Act 1965. Mr. Tejan - Cole submitted that the offence of criminal libel is unusual in that once the prosecution proves publication of the defamatory statement, the burden of proof is on the defence to establish on the balance of probabilities that the accused is entitled to publish. He then went on to show that the prosecution has proved publication both by documentary and viva voce evidence exhibit 'F' testimonies of Hassan Kamara PW2, Brima Sawe PW6 complainant Justice Tolla Thompson, PW7. The second thing he said the prosecution must prove is the position of the complainant (prosecutor) this has been done by the testimony of the complainant that he is the president of the Sierra Leone Football Association. Counsel drew my attention to the fact that the 18
counts contains innuendos and urged me to adopt the principle enunciated in the local case of - Colter Vs. Bono (1967/68) ALR (SL) page 70. That where words are alleged by innuendoes to have an extended or secondary meaning, the manner and occasion of their publication, the person to whom they were published and all the circumstances affecting their meaning in the particular case must be taken into consideration in determining whether they are defamatory or not. And also the words alleged to be defamatory must be considered as a whole and their contest taken into consideration. Furthermore, that s judge sitting by himself for a trial of an action for defamation, where an innuendo is pleaded must first determine whether the words are necessarily capable of being understood in the meaning ascribed to them and then consider whether in fact they have that meaning. In the instant case counsel said innuendo are pleaded but exhibit "F" itself contains direct reference to the complainant as "Tiffi Tiffi Tolla", Toola is a liar and crook". That to make assurances doubly sure that the accused meant the complainant he has been constantly publishing his picture as well. # Mr. Tejan-Cole cited the case of Janni.
Mr. Tejan-Cole cited the case of Jani and the editor and proprietor of Sierra Leone Daily Mail Vs. Macau ley 1967- 1968 ALR (SL) page 97 in determining whether a matter is defamatory, as the plea of justification has not been pleaded the article in the publication is by subsections 1 - 3 of section 28 of the public order Act, 1965 false. He also cited the case of Boater Vs. R 21 QBD
284 and submitted that if the court is not satisfied that the accused did not have knowledge of what he published he can be found guilty of section 27 instead of section 26of the public order Act.
As regards the evidence of the defence is not authorized Counsel for the prosecution submitted that the Auditor General of the Sierra Leone Football Association and DW2, the representative of that office said that only verification of the Association accounts was done. The auditors are the firm of King Walker Associates and that the prosecution has tendered exhibit "GG". To show the transactions of the association for the year 2001 since exhibit "F" deals with revenue and expenditure for that year. Counsel touched on the address of counsel for the defence in respect of Alimu Bah, PW4. He said that the prosecution has tendered exhibit Y1-3 which shows the actual expenditure incurred by the association in respect the course of study of Alimu Bah. Counsel catalogued the defences open to an accused charged with the offence under sections 26 and 27 of the public order Act, 1965 and said the publication in exhibit "F" contains a series of untruths and that was not responsible journalism. He finally submitted that the prosecution has proved all the counts against the accused.
I have set out in detail the evidence and since the appearance of counsel for the defence; I have been urging him to familiarize himself with the evidence, which was led during his absence. I also granted him adjournment to do so as well to enable him prepare the
defence of the accused. He has always expressed his appreciation for the gesture.
It is as, he said in his address that the ones to prove the case against the accused lies on the prosecution and they must discharge this burden beyond reasonable doubt and that if this is not done and I entertain any doubt it should be resolved in favour of the accused. I accept this proposition of the law, but the law is also, that on a charge of defamatory libel, once the prosecution has proved publication, the burden of proof shifts to the defence, which must be established on the balance of probabilities for and against the defence upon the whole of the evidence. This is the Carr - Briant principle, which establishes that in any case where either by statute or at common law some matter is presumed against an accused person; unless the contrary is proved, the jury should be directed, that it is for them to decide whether the contrary is proved; that the burden of proof required is less than that required at the hands of the prosecution in proving the case beyond a reasonable doubt; and that the burden must be discharged by evidence satisfying the jury of the probability of that which the accused is called upon to establish. It does not mean that in considering whether a probability had been established, the jurors are to take the accuser's version by itself. The preponderance of probability is that which appears most probable and it is a question of which weighs more on balance. This is put beyond doubt in the case of podala (1959)3 AGE 418. At page 420 and at page 421 of that report learned counsel on either side spoke of
the "Carr - Briant" balance and in addressing the jury, Davis J. spoke of a pair of scales; at page 425 he said to the jury :-
"Has the whole of the evidence in this case, medical and non - medical satisfied you that the hysterical amnesia, the loss of memory what is claimed? If on the balance you think that the answer. To that question is 'yes', the defence have proved its case then you will say no. if on the other hand your view on the whole of it is that the burden of proof which is in the defence has not been discharged by the defence, you will answer the question which is now before you in the negative".
I take cognizance and that this direction was to the jury and the instant case before me is trial by judge above. Nevertheless the principle is applicable though my role is that of jury and judge. In other words once I am satisfied that the prosecution proved publication of the defamatory statements alleged in the several particulars of offence in the indictment, the burden of proof was on the defence to establish on a balance of probabilities.
I think that of a newspaper believes that wrong has been done it is right that it should report, but it must take careful steps to ensure that what it alleges is true. This does not give the right to print anything. That freedom must be balanced against a number of other interests including the right of any person who deserves it to retain his good name and reputation. Paul Kamara is charged with
knowingly publishing a false defamatory libel and defamatory libel contrary to sections 26 and 27 of the Public Order Act, 1965. It is not disputed that he (Paul Kamara) published his newspaper called "For Di People" dated 5th day of April, 2002 and the publication made various allegations which are set out in full in the indictment. I shall deal with these allegations in detail later as I now propose to refer to certain matters of law. Firstly, it is stated in paragraph 36 34 of Arch bold Criminal pleadings, evidence and practice 35th edition that the evidence for the prosecution is in substance the same as the evidence for the plaintiff in an action for libel and for the prosecution to succeed, it must prove publication of the libel and the position of the prosecutor; the libel and the innuendoes, falsity and malice and knowledge of the falsity. Taking them serially and first the publication - the prosecution produced and tendered exhibit "F", which is the publication containing the statements complained of John Kabba Sesay, clerk at the registrar's office, produced the file in respect of the newspaper "For Di People" and it was marked exhibit "A". He said that according to that exhibit the newspaper was first registered on the 23rd day of May, 1989 and the last time it did file a return which is exhibit "B" was on the 30th day of July, 1991. He also tendered the last certificate of renewal dated the 16th day of August, 1991, which was marked exhibit "C". These exhibits show that the name of this proprietor is one Paul Kamara, the address of the newspaper is No 1 Short Street, Freetown and the occupation of Paul Kamara is a journalist. In addition, Ahmed Hassan Kamara,
PW2, the executive Secretary of the Independent media commission tendered exhibit 'D' 'E' and 'F' respectively - namely, application submitted by the accused for the newspaper "For Di People", certificate of registration issued by the commission and the newspaper issue dated the 5th day of April, 2002 of the newspaper "For Di People ", which he bought form a news vendor. He read the endorsement on the bottom of the back page of exhibit "F" as "published by For Di People newspaper -Editor Paul Kamara, Nol Short Street, Freetown. There is also the evidence of Foday Mambu Brima save PW4, who said he read exhibit "F" and because of how he felt he contacted the complainant PW7.
Consequently, I do find that the accused published the several allegation contained in the particulars of offence in the indictment. As regards the position of the prosecutor (complainant), I observe that the draftsman of the indictment has not laid the charge in the official or professional capacity of the complainant. He did so in his capacity as president of the Sierra Leone Football Association. I take judicial notice that the complainant is a public office as justice of appeal and a solicitor of the High Court. Had he been so described it would have been necessary for the prosecution to prove his appointment or admission to the profession. Indeed, I have read the relevant exhibit, which is marked "F", which clearly and unambiguously refers directly to the complainant. I so hold.
The prosecution must prove the libel and the innuendoes. Briefly stated, it requires of the prosecution to prove the words set out in the indictment and this it has set out to do by testimonies of the witnesses one to seven and exhibits A - Z and AA1-4 to "GG" inclusive. I have already reviewed the testimonies of these witnesses as well as the contents of the exhibits. I find no useful purpose to recount them. It is not in dispute that the defamatory matter complained of is contained in exhibit "F" which is a newspaper and the accused indicted for having published it. That being the case, the fact that the accused is the proprietor can and is sufficient proof by copies of eateries in exhibit A to E inclusive under both the newspapers Act, chapter III of the laws of Sierra Leone as amended and the independent media commission Act 2002, I have read several references in exhibit "F", to wit "Tiffy Tiffy Tolla", Thompson - quitters' don win ... but time to account" Justice Tolla Thompson" " Tolla is a liar and a crook" "this judge must resign now" and Tolla. I hold also that the meanings ascribed to innuendo imply dishonesty, fraud, Fraudulent Conversion, theft and other dubious and questionable. Behaviour bordering on criminality. In arriving at such conclusion, I have taken into consideration the circumstances of the publication the manner and occasion of the publication, the per (5) to whom they are published and all the circumstances affecting their meaning in this particular case. It seems to me that the publication was calculated to tarnish whatever good name and reputation the complainant has and not
unlikely a deep seated animosity towards the complainant. Furthermore, I have averted my mind that to reach an unbiased and reasonable decision, I have to read the publication and consider it as a whole, whether the words are defamatory of not in the context in which they were used. I have also reminded myself that as it is trial by judge alone trying a defamatory libel proceeding, where innuendoes are pleaded, it is incumbent on me first to determine, whether the words are reasonably capable of being understood on the meaning ascribed to them. In carrying out this exercise, I have to have applied the objective test that the disparagement should be "in the eyes of reasonable men". In other words, would any ordinary reasonable man to whom the words were published say that the complainant was disparaged by them in a defamatory sense. I find that the words are reasonably capable of being defamatory.
This takes me to the question of falsity and malice which the prosecution doubted prove. Falsity is material if the defence of justification is pleaded when justification is pleaded which means that the matter charged are true and it was for the public benefit, that they should be published, it is the defendant who should prove the truth, the prosecution has to deal with the matter only after a brim a facie case of justification has been made out. Again the prosecution is relived from proofing that the libel was maliciously published, unless the accused shows that the occasion was privileged, in which case evidence of express malice is necessary.
In this regard sections 28 and 29 of the public order Act 1965, provide the plea of truth and absolute privilege on a trial of an offence of libel against section 26 and 27. I shall refer to these sections later in this judgement, but suffice it to say at this stage that both the plea of justification or defence of absolute privilege was not invoked by the defence. Finally, on the issue of falsity and malice, it is trite law, which has been long established, that the publication of false and defamatory matter concerning any person is itself evidence of malice. It will be recalled that during the address of defence counsel he pointed out and put his defence under the following grounds. Firstly, that lead prosecuting counsel and his juniors are not law officers and he cited the cases of -Wellington Distilleries & Lansana & 11ors Vs. The state 1970-1971 ALR SLR P186
I agree with him that the prosecuting counsels are not law officers, but at no time did they claim they were. They were conducting a prosecution on indictment, which they can do under section 136 of the Criminal procedure Act, 1965. They are all legal practitioners I find also no relevance as far as the two cases he cited concerned. The first decided that a law officer cannot represent a company in corporate under the Companies Act. The second answered of the question of fiat, which should be signed by the Attorney - General under the Treason Act for the commencement of a treason trial. The law officer, who signed the fiat, was unqualified. The second ground of counsel is that on a defamatory libel under section 26 or 27 of the Public Order Act 1965, there should have
been proceedings under part III of the Criminal procedure Act, 1965 i.e. preliminary investigation. This short answer to this line of argument is the Criminal Procedure (Amendment) Act, 1970 - Nol of 1970 with retrospective effect from 7th day of October, 1965. it dispenses with committal proceedings. The third ground that a non-law officer cannot conduct a prosecution in the High Court without the authority of the Attorney - General and Minister of Justice and that such authority should be in the file; I have ruled on this ground that the instant proceedings is brought by the complainant in his capacity as president of the Sierra Leone Football Association and this is so stated in the particulars of offence of the counts. It is not brought in his judicial capacity, in which case the legal practitioner should inform and obtain the consent of the Attorney - General and Minister of Justice. Counsels next ground is that the indictment signed by Mr. Soyei, Senior State Counsel is a nullity. This is a misconception of the state of the law. Section 2 of the Criminal procedure Act, 1965 defines an indictment as a document containing the charges against the accused signed by a law officer and every indictment purporting to have been signed aforesaid shall be presumed to be so signed until the contrary is shown, the fifth ground is in respect of the application for trial by judge alone instead of judge and jury signed by B.B.S. Kebbie, Director of public prosecutions. Counsel has not advanced reasons why the Director could not give his approval. He cited the case of Kulsyator vs. Bawoi and Glent alias Siafa 1970/71 ALR SL 58. This case
cautioned that some consideration must be given before applying for trial by judge alone as it deprives an accused person from being tried by his peers. Section 3 of the Criminal Procedure (Amendment) Act 1981 Act Noll of 1981 empowers the Director of public prosecutions to apply for such an order. His next complaint (Defence) is that the prosecution produced exhibit "GG" the audit account of the Sierra Leone Football Association for the year 2001 and not that of 2002. There was nothing stopping Counsel to subpoen it. The prosecution explained that it was unnecessary since the allegation covered 2001. Counsel also argued that the present Minister of Youth and Sports, Dr. Bright, DW3 has not complained of any loss of amount and the prosecution ought to have called the present Minister of Education Science and Technology, Dr. Wurie, who was then Minister of Sports. Counsel subpoenaed certain witnesses and he had conduct of his defence. His complaint deserves no merit what this accused wrote in exhibit 'F' which is the subject matter of the charges is the application of the funds of the Sierra Leone Football Association and not those of the National Sports Council or the Ministry of Youth and Sport. Furthermore, council complained that the indictment should be in the name of Sierra Leone. He did not attempt to justify this ground and he appeared to have over looked that subsection 3 of section 64 of the constitution of Sierra Leone 1991 - Act No. 6 of 1991 states that all offences prosecuted in the name of the Republic shall be at the suit of the Attorney - General or some other person authorized by him in
accordance with any law governing the same. It does not provide for all prosecutions and there are residual prosecutions, which include private prosecution. The case before me is a private prosecution. The last two grounds are that the charges are duplicitous and multiplicious. Again he failed to demonstrate his complaint. I find no merit in them. I have decided to set out in detail the defence, because I am in duty bound by law to consider them however weak or poor they may be and will certainly take them into consideration in determining the quilt of the accused. And I will do so under the "Carr Briant" principle, which I have already dealt.
As I understand the Law, the recognized defences to a charge of Criminal defamatory Libel are both under Common Law and Statute. They include: -
I) In the case of a News Paper the accused may prove that he is neither the Printer Publisher nor Proprietor of it, not otherwise interested or concerned in it.
II) That the words are not defamatory.
(III) That they could not bear the innuendoes alleged.
(IV) That the Publication was accidental
(V) Justification under Section 28 of the Public Order Act 1965.
(VI) That the Publication is absolutely privileged under Section 30 of the Public Order Act, 1965, which includes the defence of fair comment of criticism of the matter of Public interest and concern.
Counsel for the Defence has not canvassed any of these defences and any discourse on them is uncalled for and unnecessary. However, I shall have them in mind if any, some or all of them are disclosed in the evidence.
As early state, Paul Kamara faces 18 counts of Criminal Libel knowingly 'Publishing a false defamatory Libel Contrary to Section 26 of the Public Order Act 1965 and Counts 2,4,6,8,12,14, 16 & 18 contrary to Section 27 of the same Act. It is in respect of a Publication in a Newspaper called "For Di People" dated 5th April 2002, which made various allegations, which are contained in the Indictment. I have read the Publication and as Counsel for the Prosecution directed, my attention in his address the particulars of Offence are the same in respect of Counts 1,2,3, and 4, 5 & 6,,7 & 8, 9 and 10, 11 and 12, 13 and 14, 15 and 16 and 17 and 18.
The defamatory matter is found at the back and page 2 of the Publications - exhibit "F". At the back page, which caries two captions - "Tiffy Tiffy Tolla 1 - and the Ministry and clubs say Account!" and in page 2 "Tolla is a liar and a Crook ". "This
Judge must resign now!". These several captions apply to all the 18 counts. Counts 1 & 2 allege that the SLFA claimed that they gave Le1.4 millions claimed to the Police for that period of seven days for the sweeper car during the Sierra Leone versus Nigeria match on 21st April, 2002. And an innuendo was ascribed. The amount of Le1.4 million appears in exhibit "G" which was the budget proposal and it was the figure that is quoted in exhibit "F". The prosecution stated by the testimony of Abu Bakarr Kabba PW2 and exhibit "AA1" that no such amount incurred. In other words that Police sweeper car was not hired and the budgeted amount not used. Quite clearly, this is defamatory. It implies inter alia, that the Complainant was dishonest. Counts 3 & 4 alleged that other discrepancies that surface were the claim by FA that they paid Le700, 000.00 for 7 days (seven) for two rented and Le200,000.00 for a bus for the same match. An innuendo was ascribed to wit that the Complainant converted the difference between the amounts budgeted and amount actually paid. According to exhibit "F" and "G" the sum of Le1,400,000.00 was provided in the budget, but the amount spent was Le969,000.00 a difference of Le440,000.00. This is also clearly defamatory. The allegation in respect of Counts 5 &6 are that the SLFA claimed that Nigeria contingent spent seven (7) days in Sierra Leone and spent Le33 million on boarding and Lel8 million on feeding. An innuendo was pleaded. The figures budgeted for in exhibit "G" and which were published in exhibit
"F" are Le33,390,000.00 and Le 17,500,000.00 for accommodation and feeding respectively. The actual expenditure on these two items in exhibit "AAT'are Le19,077,250.00 and Le6,075,000.00 and the total of Le27,306,250.00 is shown in exhibit "BB1-4, which is the match income and expenditure -Sierra Leone/Nigeria-21/4/2001. This is also defamatory.
Counts 7 & 8 alleged that the total amount spent on match officials, Nigeria delegation, Leone Stars National Stadium expenses and other came to a total of Le184 million. An innuendo of dishonesty inflation amount, theft and fraudulent Conversion. That Prosecution through Abu Bakarr Kabba led copious evidence regarding the expenditure of these items.
It turned out that the sum of Le6,734,450.00 was spent on match officials, Le27,306,250.00 on the Nigeria Le66,745,828.00 on Leone Stars, Le3,000,000.00 on National Stadium, Le6,318,000.00 on match preparation Le3,863 on others Le113,968,428/00. Thus the figure a total expenditure of Le 184 million in exhibit "F" is not only false but also, defamatory of the complainant.
The accused commented that these and other expenses raised eyebrows with the Ministry of Sports. Since a breakdown of expenditure and receipt were never matters. And got not an iota of evidence was led by the defence to support its assertion. The
accused continued. "If Fifa is informed of such misappropriation, Sierra Leone, apart from being banned as was done in the Tanzania Football Association would also be black listed by FIFA; the Sports Ministry wrote to Tolla recently". Again no attempt or effort was made to justify such a point of view. The accused wrote that the fact of the matter was that Justice Tolla Thompson has finally been exposed as a very corrupt man, whose only in tent for holding the Presidency of the FIFA is to squander much needed funds for the improvement of the game. Continuing he wrote that Justice Tolla Thomspon actually crooked up those figures, because the Nigerians only spent two full days in Sierra Leone during their encounter with Leone Stars and concluded in the last column of the back page", this is a blatant example of stinking criminality which definitely warrants the attention of the Anti - Corruption Commission..................."
At page 2 of the exhibit, the accused published as follows" This alone shows the pattern of Tolla in appropriating SLFA funds how he has been caught pants own a football observer said". A person who repeats a defamatory Libel is equally quality as the original person who published it and it is not an excused that, it was said in the publication complained of that it was said by a source. I dare say that the comments circumstance
& opinions by the accused above have leave not been justified as truth and such remarks ought to be based on facts.
Counts 9 and 10 that SLFA sources said Tolla Thompson has misappropriated a lot pf funds meant for development of football and in certain cases connives with individuals and institutions to inflate charges. For example FIFA has already disbursed U$D 750,00.00 for the construction of a football academy. Tolla claimed have spent U$40,000.00 to send the F.A. Scribe Alimu Bah to under take an administrative course in England. FDP learnt that the amount was grossly inflated. The prosecution led evidence through Abu Bakarr Kabba, PW3, Alimu Bah PW7
Maitland Emeric Tolla Thompson and exhibit "J1-4". These witnesses testified that FIFA makes a uniform yearly subvention of USD 250,000.00 to all Association including the Sierra Leone Football Association and it is untrue that FIFA has disbursed the sum of USD 750,000.00 towards the construction of the academy. Furthermore the cost of the cause of study in respect of Alimu Bah were USD 10,625.00 USD 6000.00, USD 3,038 and USD 1,239.00 comprising tuition fees, Air ticket - to and from Freetown and allowances making a total pf U$D21, 902.00. The first two payment were pad out of the FIFA contribution of
U$D250,000.00 for the year 2000. It is therefore incorrect that USD 40,000.00 was spent as alleged in exhibit "F". This is also defamatory.
Counts 11-12 allege as for the Academy, Tolla claims that the first phase is now completed at a total cost of U$D 362,000.00 i.e. the administrative building, fence and field. The fence was only strengthened since it was already there before the commencement of the project. An innuendo was ascribed. Indeed, there is no dispute, which the first phase of the Academy had been completed and the fence was strengthened. The other details were untrue. The Prosecution led evidence by Abu Bakarr Kabba PW3 Emeric Bernard Jones PW.5 and Maitland Emeric Thompson and exhibit "CC 1-4". These witnesses and the exhibit show that the contract price was Le396,625,525 which was converted to United States Dollars at the rate of Le2,350.00 which turned out to be USD 168,775,543 cents. A break down of the total was as follows: -
1/32000 USD84,387/80 Cents
9/6/2000 16,427.00 Cents
28/8/2000 33,980.40 Cents
23/11/2000 20,604.11 Cents
30/8/2001 13,376.20 Cents
These amounts are reflected in exhibit "E 1015 and "FF 1-11. Therefore these allegations are defamatory.
As regards to Counts 13 -14, the allegation is that Tolla spent Le28 million for Plantings grass on the field, but the grass was withered and died. The prosecution ascribed an innuendo of dishonesty and misappropriation of Sierra Leone football association funds. Emeric Bernard Jones, PW5 is Managing Director of Sky Construction and Engineering Services Limited, the contractor of football Academy and testified that the total sum of U$D 168,775.54 Cents paid to his company for the first phase of the Academy included the cost of planting grass on the field and was not a separate payment of Le28 million. It is misleading and untrue for the accused to publish that the sum of Le28 million was so paid it is therefore defamatory.
Counts 15 - 16 these allege that the Plan alone costs U$D42,000.00 while the administrative building which is something like a fowl having ting rooms at a cost of U$D190,000.00. When it rains the roof leaks. As for the second phase, this should include the football, a gymnasium and hotels.
Tolla has already spent U$D200,000.00 and he says that U$D 1 million (One Million) is sufficient to complete the project and he has recently demanded another USD 400,000.00 from the final project to wrap up his academy. Evidence on those allocations led by the prosecution of PW.5, THE Managing Director of the contractors Company PWE.7 Maitland Tolla Thompson, exhibits
"DD 1-2, "EE 1-15, "EE 1-111". The witnesses refuted that the Plan of the Academy cost USD 42,000.00 and that the Administrative building is a fowl coup with tiny rooms at a cost of USD 190,000.00. Indeed the witness paid contract price of the second phase of the football academy is Le505,999,400.00 and work is still in progress. In terms of payment the amount paid to his by the Association in respect of the second phase is USD 65,000.00 and the total amount so recovered in respect of both phases is USD 234,395.51 Cents. The rate of exchange in respect of the contract price of this second phase was Le200.00 to the USD Dollars. PW.7 denied that the Association has spent the sum of U$D42,000.00 for the Plan of the Academy that the Association had spent USD 169,000.00 for the administrative building and that in fact the cost of this building is included in the phase 1 contract that, at no time did he say or has the Association spent U$D200,000.00 on the 2nd phase. He has not demanded U$D400,000.00 from the Goal Project. He agreed with PW5 that the sum of Le65,000.00 has so far spent on the second phase of the Academy. The allegation are therefore defamatory of the Complainant.
In Counts 17 -18, the allegations are that Tolla has basically being involved in under cover deals and twisting figures to justify the disbursement of FIFA and other funds. For example FIFIA spent USD 500,000.00 in 1999/2000 for the Academy and
construction started 2000. However, Tolla claimed to have spent USD 60,000.00 the Sierra Leone versus Morocco match even though this encounter took place in 1996 and the FIFA funds arrived in 1999. PW. 7 denied the allegations and in the absence of evidence to the contrary, I hold that it is defamatory.
It is the inalienable right of the accused not to give evidence and has exercised his right, which I cannot question, not has he made and statements in the dock. In the absence of these, it is impossible for me to say whether the accused himself believed in what he has published to the Complainant in exhibit "F". He has made several strong scathing and cart comments regarding the Complainant, but the Law is that on a defence of fair comments the comments must be on a matter of fact. It is assumed that the matter of fact commented upon to somehow or other be ascertained and it does not mean as was held in Lefroy Lefroy Vs. Burrust de (No.2)
1879 74LR 556 as quoted in Frazer on Libel and slander 7th edition at page 110 - "that a man may invent facts comment on the facts so invented in what would be a fair bonafide manner on the supposition that the facts are true..... If the facts as a comments upon which the publication is sought to be excused do not exist, the foundation of the plead fails".
I find that there are several comments in exhibit "F" and they must not mistake the fact because they cannot be fair which is built upon facts which are not truly stated and further more they must convey imputation on an evil sort except so far as the facts stated warranted the imputation. I do find that the commentaries are based on these misstated facts, which have been invented by the accused.
It remains for me to consider the issue of falsity on the part of the accused in respect of Counts 126.96.36.199.188.8.131.52.15 and 17 respectively. They alleged that the accused knowingly published falsely published defamatory libel. It is for the prosecution to satisfy the Jury that the accused did and the knowledge of the falsity can be established by proof that the accused had means of such knowledge. The evidence that at some point in time and before the publication or exhibit "F" he was a team manager of the National Team the Leone Stars. The budget published in exhibit "F" is the same as exhibit "G: and it was prepared in the Associations secretariat and copies sent to the Sports Council of the Ministry of Education etc. It must have been obtained before the publication on the 5th April, 2002 and two likely sources are the National Sports Council or the Association Secretariat. Accused is a Journalist and is presumed to have knowledge of Journalistic investigation and ought to have taken careful steps to ensure that what he published are true facts. He could inter alia
have used the source he got the budget proposal published in exhibit "C". It is clear that the accused was much concerned with what was going on with the association and was in touch with the Minister of Education regarding the activities of the Complainant, the association football clubs and football in the Country generally. The Jury may draw inferences of knowledge of fact; R.V. Wicks 25 Cap. 168 1936 1 ACR 384 and at page 387 of the England Report Du Parcq J. said.
"The falsity of the libel is to be presumed and in absence of the Justification could not be questioned. The best and often the only way of proving that a statement was known to be false by theperson who made it is to prove that he had the means of such knowledge.
A Jury is then entitled to draw what may be in some circumstances, the irresistible, inference that he had knowledge infact".
I endorse the preposition of the Law and in the absence of evidence to the contrary the accused not having pleaded justification given evidence and he being a man who had more than a fairly intimate knowledge of the football Association, the National Sports Council and football in general in the whole of the Country for some years would know, very well whether the statement about the Complainant as well as the Association were true or not. I hold that he had knowledge that the allegations contained in those counts were false. I have considered the evidence as a whole and I find that
prosecution had discharged the burden in respect of all the counts and I therefore find the accused guilty of all counts.
Count 1 - Guilty
Count 6 - Guilty
Count 12 - Guilty
Count 13 -
Count 14 -
Count 15 -
Count 16 -
Count 17 -
Count 18 - Guilty
Allocatus - Prisoner at the bar, you stand convicted of a misdemeanor. Have you any thing to say why the Court should not give you Judgment according to law?
PLEA IN MITIGATION
Accused - My position is that this is abuse of process. Had it not been so we could have early proved our Case against the Complainant Thank God the matter is now with the Anti-Corruption Commission.
Be that as it may, my Lawyer is not around I would like to rest my case.
I have heard what you said and I have taken it in good part. The sentence of the Court is as follows: -
1. Knowingly publishing a false defamatory libel -Counts-1,3,5,7,9,11,13,15 & 17 6 months on each Count Sentence to run Concurrently
2. Defamatory Libel: - Counts - 2,4,6,8,10,12,14,16 & 18
3 months and Five Hundred Leones (Le500) on each Count. Sentence to run Concurrently. Concurrently.
Under subsection 2 of Section 36 of the Public Order Act, 1965 - Act No. 46 of 1965,1 recommend to His Excellency the President, the prohibition of the Publication of the News paper "For Di People": for a period of Six (6) months from the date of this Judgment.
Sgd: U.H. TEJAN-JALLOH JUDGE