By Femi Coker
A senior member of Sierra Leone People’s Party (SLPP), Dr. John Karimu has cried foul over the manner in which the court treated Hon. Robin Farley by sending him to prison even after he had been released on bail.
He was speaking recently to this press at the SLPP headquarters at Wallace Johnson Street in Freetown. He further accused the All People’s Congress (APC) of taking undue advantage over the SLPP.
According to him, ever since the matter involving Hon. Robin Farley commenced at the Kenema Magistrate court, Hon. Farley has been very punctual in court. Dr. Karimu stated that the State Prosecutor, Gerald Soyie at the last appearance however demanded that the surety who had stood for the MP should own property in Freetown which Title Deeds must be authenticated with a conveyance signed by the Registrar General in Freetown.
Dr. John Karimu reiterated that such has never happened in the history of court proceedings or court trials in Sierra Leone.
According to him, the Judiciary always take into cognizance the Judicial District where a crime takes place must ensure that the accused stands trial in the Judicial District in which the crime was committed. He added that the Honourable Member of Parliament was bailed when he first appeared and so there was no reason why the State Prosecutor should have demanded for another stiffer bail condition; as if the accused had attempted to jump bail.
According to him, the SLPP MP is not a man who has the tendency of jumping bail because he is a very senior citizen and a statesman.
The above was re-echoed by several other SLPP stalwarts and senior executive members who in like manner debunked allegations that SLPP Member of Parliament, Hon. Robin Farley who is standing trial for alleged voter registration malpractice has been abandoned by the party.
The SLPP stalwarts and senior executive members maintained that Hon. Farley was in protective custody at the Kenema Prisons because there were no lawyer or party members around to arrange for his bail when he first appeared in court.
In an interview with one of the Grand Chief Patrons of the SLPP, Mrs. Memunatu M. Koroma representing Kenema District, she denied press allegations that they had abandoned Hon. Farley when the latter needed the SLPP most, adding that the matter came up on March 7th 2012, when Hon. Robin Farley, two teachers and ten pupils were charged to court for presenting false Birth Certificates to NEC officers for registration purposes at Segbwema.
She maintained that SLPP supporters including members from the women’s wing, youth groups and other executive members across the country were always in court when the matter came up in order to prevent the accused persons from being sent to prison on grounds that their sureties were absent for proper commencement of the matter.
According to her, when Hon. Farley was arrested, SLPP members were at the Kenema Police Station till midnight and even pleaded with the Police not to put the MP in cell but to let him stay in open detention. She further disclosed that they gave the MP and the other accused persons in the matter robust support.
Mrs. Koroma added that when the matter came up in court, the accused persons were represented by lawyers and all the required bail conditions including documents were provided by the SLPP. She went on to say that SLPP lawyers including Anthony Brewah, Sulaiman Banja Tejan-Sie and other legal luminaries represented all the accused persons. She further disclosed that a very senior member of the SLPP and former Deputy Minister of Education, Martin Sama Banya stood surety for Hon. Robin Farley.
“We went to court with them, provided transport for the pupils who always travelled from Segbwema to attend court in Kenema; as well as providing other logistics to encourage them,” she said, adding, “the SLPP will never abandon its own; and will always remain with Hon. Robin Farley as the trial proceeds in court.” She maintained that she was in fact surprised to hear about allegations of the SLPP abandoning the MP.