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Sierra Leone News: Judge rules “honest mistake” in Minister Kabba’s bigamy case

In September 2015, the current Minister of Foreign Affairs, Alie Kabba, was charged with bigamy by his former wife, Finda Diana Konomanyi. It was alleged that Kabba was still married to Edith Kabba when he married Diana Konomanyi; the former Minister of Lands under the APC led government. He was arrested by the police and charged with three counts, bigamy, making false declaration and false statement under oath. He appeared before Magistrate Serray Wurie of Court No. 6 at Siaka Stevens Street and was refused bail on his first appearance and sent to the Male Correctional Centre. According to the Magistrate, the accused was a flight risk and was refused bail application made by the lead Defence Counsel Francis Ben Kaifala, the current ACC Commissioner. After the testimonies of witnesses and documents submitted by the prosecuting counsels, the Magistrate noted, “After going through all of the evidence presented by the prosecuting counsels, there is a case for the accused to answer at the High Court.” He then committed the matter to the High Court for trial. At the High Court, the matter was presided over by Justice Miatta Samba, where the accused opened his defence and called witnesses and tendered documents. After over three years, Justice Miatta Samba, on 4 December 2018, discharged the accused on all three counts, noting, “I believe that the accused was honestly mistaken as to fact. I have held that the accused reasonably believed that he was divorced from his first wife when he contracted his second marriage.”   He furthered, “He could therefore not be said to have sworn to something that is false for the purpose of getting married as charged in Count 2 and 3 of the indictment herein; he swore to what he believed is based on his personal knowledge as deposed in paragraph 6 of exhibit 2.”

MJB/5/12/18

By Mohamed J. Bah

Thursday December 06, 2018.

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