By Jane B. Mansaray
The Head of the Civil Service and Secretary to the Cabinet, Mr. John Sumaila has made an appearance before Justice Adrian Fisher in Freetown to testify in the alleged criminal corruption case between the State against Dr. Samura Mathew Wilson Kamara and four other persons.
Mr. John Sumaila, who is the eighteenth Prosecution Witness as stated in the indictment was on 23rd May, 2022 led in evidence by the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) lead prosecutor, Calvin Mantesbo.
In his evidence in chief, PW4 told the court that he assumed duty in the position of Cabinet Secretary on the 4th June 2018 and joined the Sierra Leone Civil Service in 1976 as a teenager and started as a temporary clerk.
Explaining his roles and responsibilities as Cabinet Secretary, Mr. John Sumaila said he is involved in the operations of Civil Service administration and also part of the Strategic Team, giving general supervision to Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs).
According to PW4, he has also participated in Cabinet meetings, received Memos from Ministries to prepare soft and hard copies and upon receipt of such documents, he refers to Cabinet review guidelines to ensure it meets the format and requirements. After that process, the Secretariat will get a feedback from the concerned MDAs for finalization of a draft Memo for the Minister ‘s signature.
If the concerned Minister is absent for cabinet meetings, the president who serves as Chairman will appoint someone to act in his stead and in conclusion the substantive Minister’s electronic signature will be attached to the minutes as a sample.
He confirmed that most of the processes are been done electronically and due to the Covid-19 outbreak, Cabinet meetings are been held virtually.
Several exhibits, including a Cabinet Memorandum by the Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Corporation with reference Number CP 52 2016 dated 18th April 2016, with a scan signature and name bearing Dr. Samura Mathew Wilson Kamara were presented by the Prosecutor and shown to the witness for confirmation and clarification.
As by the above name and title of document of which content has to do with the renovation of the Chancery Building in New York, PW4 said it was retrieved from the archive when requested by the ACC during investigation, and cannot tell whose signature was on it as he was not in the office at that time.
The 6th Meeting of Cabinet with reference Number CP52 2016 dated 18th April 2016, was also shown to the witness which he confirmed be to an extract of Cabinet Minute and as by the document, there is an Acting Minister from the said Foreign Ministry present.
Mr. John Sumaila was cross examined by Lawyer Abdul Karim Kamara on behalf of the 1st accused person, Mr. Nallo and Lawyer Ady Macauley on behalf of 4th accused person, Dr. Samura Kamara, former Minister of the Foreign Ministry and 2018 Presidential Flag bearer of main opposition, All People’s Congress (APC).
During cross examination, Mr. John Sumaila said he has no further knowledge of the matter before the court.
The presiding High Court Judge, Justice Adrian Fisher adjourned the matter to the 6th June 2022 for further hearing.
This, Justice Fisher said is enough time for the prosecution to prepare their next witnesses, as by the instruction of the Chief Justice, this matter should end in August this year. “My life is been taken over by this matter and my life must go on after this case”, Justice Adrian Fisher affirmed.