Karamoh Kabbah, 22 Others And Ward-C Chairman Refused Bail
By Morlai Kargbo and Augustine James
The chairman of the Western Area Rural District Council (WARD-C), Kasho J. Holland-Cole, was on Wednesday, 14th August, 2019 arrested, interrogated and detained by the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) due to reasons connected to the recent spate of violence between supporters of the Ruling SLPP party and the main opposition APC at Hamilton village.
It could be recalled that, on Tuesday, 30th July, supporters of both political parties clashed at Hamilton village in the Western Area Rural District, constituency 110, causing damage to properties of SLPP aspirant, Josephine Jackson.
Speaking to Newswatch, Superintendent M.K Alieu of the Criminal Investigations Department said, the arrest was in line with the riotous conduct of supporters of the opposition All People’s Congress Party two weeks ago, which caused loss of property and bodily harm to residents of Hamilton Village.
He said the Western Area Rural District Chairman was one of the eight suspects wanted by the CID for questioning in connection to his contribution to the said event.
Responding to the allegations levied against him via this medium, Western Area Rural District Council (WARD-C) Chairman, Kasho Joseph Holland-Cole said he was never a part of the said incident, though he did not deny the fact of his presence in a meeting earlier on that day with party stalwarts and supporters during the campaign launching of the bye elections of the APC in constituency 110.
“I am a member of the All People’s Congress (APC) party and have the right to be among my party stalwarts and members” he intimated. Adding that as a peaceful citizen and sitting chairman of the Western Area Rural District, there is never a time he has instigated violence against his subjects in the district.
Mr. Holland-Cole further intimated that, his arrest was politically motivated by the ruling Sierra Leone People’s Party (SLPP), citing the many times he has gone to the CID within these two weeks without any notice of him being a suspect wanted for the said incident and only came to know there was a warrant of arrest yesterday, when he arrived outside the Pademba Road High Court to witness the court hearing of 22 people alleged to have perpetrated the said Hamilton incident.
“I was sitting inside a restaurant opposite the high court at Pademba Road when superintendent Alieu came to me and said he has a warrant of arrest from the Criminal Investigation Department without the warrant notice in his hands. He even threatened to use violence on me if I refused”, chairman Holland-Cole said.
Despite calls from the All People’s Congress party for his possible bail on Wednesday evening, the Western Area Rural District Council Chairman had to pass the night at the Criminal Investigation Department cells.
He was charged with 22 counts similar to that slammed on APC Deputy Organising Secretary, Karamoh Kabba and the others who are also facing the courts for alleged political violence.
Meanwhile as we went to press we received information that a bail of 200 Million Leones and one Surety resident in Western Area with landed property (ose-book) has been granted to Kasho Holland Cole and that he fulfilled all other bail conditions except for a building permit which wasn’t available before the courts closed and bail was refused on those grounds.
Meanwhile, Magistrate Hannah Bonnie of Magistrate Court number 1 has on the 14th August 2019 refused to grant bail to Karamoh Kabbah and 22 other accused persons who were alleged to have been involved in disorderly conduct and other offences contrary to law, on the 29th July 2019.
In a cross examination led by the lead defence counsel L. Dumbuya, Sahr Sam Ansumana, a human rights activist at the Citizens Budget Watch accepted knowing the moral and legal implications of not saying the truth in the court of law.
He added that on the said date of the incident, he was at Youyi building on a personal assignment and left for his home at Hamilton around 3pm. Upon reaching the vicinity, he said members of the APC party, who were on a campaign rally, as scheduled by the PPRC recognised him as a relative to the SLPP candidate and because of that, he was chased by irate youth whom he identified as APC supporters taking part in the rally, and assaulted but fortunately, he managed to escape the scene.
He added that he went to the residence of the SLPP candidate and in less than 30 minutes, all accused persons including some others who were not recognised started pelting stones at the SLPP candidate’s residence. He said the first accused went into the compound and he was accompanied by several others.
After saying he was never a party supporter at the police station, he accepted supporting the SLPP candidate and was admonished on the day of the incident not to be in their party regalia and therefore he was in town on the said date to prepare logistics for their party’s rally on the 31st July 2019.
Josephine Jackson, the complainant and the SLPP candidate for the Hamilton Constituency, confirmed that the total damage caused to her premises is 59 million 500 thousand Leones.
She denied having any political gathering on the 29th July 2019 as that day was meant for APC but rather had a few of her supporters who had gone to visit her at her residence.
She testified that after she returned from a visit to her party office later in the day, at around 5pm, she received a call from a certain number that some people are coming for her head but she was rescued by her husband and some of the supporters in her residence by then.
The matter was adjourned to 22nd August 2019 for further cross examination by the defense counsel and all 23 accused persons will stay in detention.