S v Kadija O. Sesay (001) [2020] SLHC 22 (13 August 2020);









The Accuse d , Kadija Olamatu Seisay is charged with 1 (one) count of Misappropriation of Public Property Contrary to Section 36 { 1l of the Anti­ Corruption Act No. 12 of 2008.


The particulars of the offence are that: Kadija Olamatu  Seisay  being  the Deputy Minister of the Ministry of Wor ks, Housing and Infrastructure (MWHI) in Sierra  Leone, on  a  date unknown  between  the  13 th day   of  December 2017

and  the 30th day  of September 2018 in Freetown in the Western Area of the

Republic of Sierra Leone misappropriated Public Property to  wit:  a  Toyota Land Cruiser Jeep GX1200 Series "Off-Road 2017" m od el, with registration number ANK 889.

  1. On the 11 th day of February 2019 the said Accused Person was arraigned and she pleaded not guilty. On the same da te, an applic a tion for trial by Judge Alone was granted together with an application for an additional witness for the Pro sec u tio n .


3 . Also, on the same date of 11 th February 2019, the Accused Person , Kadija Olamatu Seisay was granted sel f-bail.


  1. On the 30th of May 2019 the Prosecution closed its case and Counsel for the Defend ant, Brima Koroma Esq informed the Court that he would open the case for the Defence at the next adjourned date. So soon thereafter, he  informed  the  Judge  in  Chambers  that  he  was  withdrawing   his  rep rese nta tio n . He was advised to make that announcement in open Court.


  1. On the 9th of July 2019, Miss N. C. Browne - Marke deputising D. E. Taylor Esq, announced representation for the Defence. On the  15th of  July  2019, Mr Brima Koroma announced his withdrawal for the  Defe nc e  in  open court. This time both Miss. Browne - Marke and Mr. D. E.  Taylor  were absent. However, Mr. Taylor sent a message via telephone that he will be representing the Defendant.


  1. On the 23rd of July 2019 Counsel for the Defen c e, D. E. Ta y lor Esq filed a notice of motion dated 22nd of July 2019 praying that the Court perpetually  stay the  inaittment herein and  the proc eedings by   Th..e State


against Kadija Olamatu Seisay. A ruling was delivered on the 5th of February 2020 in which an interim stay of the proceedings was grant ed. A final ruling on the application was delivered on the 13 th day of May  2020 in which the evidence of an additional prosecution witness, P W 6, Sheik Ahmed Kamara was expunged and the application  to  perpetually  stay the proceedings was dismissed.


  1. Since the ruling of 13 th of May 2020, Counsel for the defence has been sending in one excuse after another for his absence. The Defendant has been ambivalent about making an election. She decided in the end that she wants her counsel to be present. The Court is of the view that Mr. Taylor has been treating it with contempt. He has been deliberately delaying these proceedings and abusing the process of justice. The Court has therefore decided to rely on the evidence given under caution by the Defendant to the Anti-Corruption Commission and withdraw the file for judgment.


  1. The Prosecution's Case In Sum ma ry


  1. The Prosecution's case inter alia according to the ist witn e ss, Umar Se sa y , is that in a letter addressed to  the  Accused  Person  dated  8th  December  2017  in her capacity as Deputy Minister of Works, Housing and  Infrastructure  was assigned a brand new official vehicle with registration  number  ANK  889  Exhibit B1- 3 and exhibit C.


PW 2, Mohamed Kini-Smart told the Court that he was the Transport and Liaison Officer at the Ministry of Transport and Aviation; with principal duties which included: facilitation of the allocation of government vehicles to  ministe rs, deputy ministers and other senior government officials.

He recalled the 8th of December 2017 when he received a letter from the Secretary to the Minister of Transport and Aviation saying that a vehicle had been assigned to Kadija Olamatu Seisay, then Deputy Minister of Works, Housing and Infrastructure. He said that on the 13th of December 2017 he facilitated and licensed the insured vehicle in the name of the Ministry of Transport and Aviation. He said that some time circa 18th December 201 7, Kadija 0 . Seisay and her security cum driver by the name of Prince, went to his office to receive the said vehic le.


He explained that as per procedures for handing  over  vehicles,  a  vehicle inventory and receipt form was signed by Kadija Seisay and Prince signed as the witness; Exhibit B1-3. He said that he handed it over to Kadija Olamatu Seisay on the 12 th of December 2017. T tated that  the vehicle registration  number  was ANK 889, the Make/Type was Toyota Land Cruiser Jeep V8, the purpose was official; Exhibit B3 which is a copy of the Life Card.

He said that it was not a common practice for ministers to ask for the Life Card of their official vehicle.

The 4th Prosecution Witness, Prince Kennick, who was the Body Guard of the Accused, told the Court that the Kadija Seisay sent him to the Ministry of Transport and Aviation to collect  the Life Card of her official vehicle. He said  that Mr. Kini-Smart, the 2nd prosecution witness gave him the Life Card which he signed for. He said that it was the original Life Card and he handed it over to the Accused. Mr. Kennick testified that the Accused informed him that she was travelling to Conakry, Guinea; and that he did not accompany her on the trip since he was not asked to do so.


The Defence Case


The Court relied on the contemporaneous statements made by the Accused Person, Kadija Olamatu Seisay to the Anti-Corruption Commission {The State} which was tendered as exhibit A1- 24. In the said statements she denied misappropriating public property to wit: Toyota Land Cruiser Jeep GXl 200 Series "Off-Road 2017" model with registration number ANK 889. (See the rest of the Defence's case under 'Analysis of the Law, Evidence and Findings' below).


The Law


The law defines misappropriation as 'the unlawful taking of money  or property for an unauthorized purpose; Garner, B. A. 'Black's Law Dictionary' [2009, 9th edl West, Thomson Reuters Publishers.

According to section 36 ( 1l of the Anti-Corruption Act of 2008, a person who misappropriates public revenue, public funds or property commits an offence."


Analysis of the La w, Evidence and Findings


The State has charged Kadija Seisay, a former Deputy Minister of Works, Housing

and Infrastructure with one count of Misappropriation of Public Property contrary to se c tio n 36 ( l l of   the   An ti-C· o rup tion  Act  of  2008.                                                                             The said section 36 ( 1 l says


that "a person who misappropriates public revenue, public funds or property commits an offence."


Furthe rmore, section 36 (2) of the said Act provides that "a person misappropriates public revenue, public funds or property if he willfully commits an act, whether by himself, with or through another person, by which a public body is deprived of any revenue, funds or other financial interest or property belonging or due to that public body.

The question that arises is: Did the Accused Person, Kadija Olamatu Seisay misappropriate the said Toyota Land Cruiser Jeep GX 1200 Series "Off Road 2017" model, with registration number ANK 889; a public property ? The verb 'to misappropriate' is to take and use property or money dishonestly; Black's Law Dictionary (supra). It is any assumption by a person of the rights of an owner or any such dishonest appropriation of property belonging to another with the intention of permanently depriving the other of it.

From the evidence before the Court as testified by the 2nd Prosecution Witness, Mr. Mohamed Kini - Smart, a Transport Liaison officer of the Ministry of Transport and Avia tion , he informed the Court that in January 2018, the Accused Person, Kadija Olamatu Seisay telephoned him to say that she will be travelling to Guinea on an official trip; and that she would need the original life card of her official vehicle as a "pass". He said that he referred her to the Permanent Secretary or the Minister of Transport and Aviation for approval.

He then said that Kadija Olamatu Seisay then sent the 4th Prosecution Witness, Prince Kennick to collect the Life Card from him, Mr Kini-Smart, on the understanding that she would return it immediately she returned. He said that in May 2018 he called the Accused Person for her to return the Life Card, since his Ministry was updating vehicles that were assigned to ministers and deputy ministers; but she never sent it back. When asked whether it was common

practice for ministers to ask for the life cards of  their official vehicles, Mr. Kini­  Smart said no.


Under cross - examination, Mr Kini - Smart said that Kadija Olamatu Seisay did not sign for the life card of the said vehicle. Ms. Seisay ho w ever , did not deny that the life card and vehicle were given to her. She did not deny that she travelled to Guinea either.

The 3r d Prosecution Witness, Joseph Tekman Ka nu , a Civil Servant and Senior Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Tourism  and  Cultural Affairs; testified  to the  court  on  the  1st  and  8th   of  April  2019. He said  that he requested    for  the assigned official vehicle from the Accused  Person and   she told him that it had been commandeered by unknown persons. Mr. Kanu said that he  told  her  to report the incident to the police. He said that he never  heard  from  her  again. Under  cross-examination,  he  told the court  that  the Accused  Person  did  not make the report to him in writing ; but did orally.

The 4th Prosecution Witne ss, Prince Kennic k, the Personal Body Guard of the Accused Perso n , Kadija Olamatu Seisay, in his evidence to the court said that in January to February 2018 the Accused Person sent him to  collect  the life card of the said vehicle. He said that he collected the card from Mr. Kin i - Sm a rt, the 2n d Prosecution Witness and that he signed for it.

He said that the life card was the original card and that he took it to the  Accused Person; and which she accepted. He testified that Kadija Olamatu told him that she was going to travel to Conakry to buy spare parts. In response to a q uestion as to whether he travelled with her; he said no because he was not asked to by her.

During  her  interview  statement  under  caution  at  the  Anti-Corruption  Commission on the l 8th of September 2018, Kadija Olamatu  Sei sa y  admitted  that  during  her tenure as the Deputy Minister of Works, Housing and Infra struct u re,  she  was assigned with an official land cruiser  vehicle  with  regi st ra tion  number  ANK  889. She  recalled  being  the  receipient  of   the   said  vehicle  when  it  was  handed  over to her at the Ministry of  Transport  and  Aviation  and  that  she  signed  for it  on  the 18th of December 2017. She also  confirmed  that she  signed  for  the  said  vehicle in the  presence  of  the  Transport  O fficer,  Mr.  Mohamed  Smart  and   her  Security Offic er, Mr. Prince Kennick.

Ms. Seisay also said that she was aware that by acknowledging receipt of the said vehicle, it implied that the safe custody of the vehicle was her responsibility.

On the question of whether she knows that her actions in the handling of an official government vehicle assigned to  her,  amounted  to  negligence  that could be attributed to the misappropriation of public  property  contrary  to Section 36 (1) of the Anti-Corruption Act of 2008. Kadija Olamatu Seisay said that she knew that it was her responsibility to look after the said vehicle, but did

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not agree to being negligent because it was the  circumstances  that prevailed  at the time, that made her ask a Mr. Bashiru to drive the said vehicle.

On the question as to whether she cross-checked with her grand-daughter on Mr. Bashiru's version of events, since she reported that her grand-daughter was in the vehicle; Ms. Seisay replied that it did not occur to her to  ask, since her  gra nd -daug hter was only 7 years old and was a "small kid."

During her interview on Wednesday 7th November 2018 on a question as to the location of the vehicle's life card, Ms. Seisay said that "it was in the vehicle ever since."

When she was asked as to how she possessed the Life Card of the vehicle; she said that she had an official trip to make to  Guinea  between  December, January and February on infrastructure and had to go with the vehicle. She said that whilst trying to obtain the travelling documents, it was requested that she submit the Life Card of the vehicle.

Ms. Seisay also explained that the then Minister of Transport and Avia tion, insisted that the Life Card must be returned to the Transport Officer upon her return; but that when she re turne d, it did not occur to her to return the Life Card.

Furthermore, Ms. Seisay said that she heard about the instruction to hand over government vehicles in the possession of Ministers and other former officials; Cff:!d.. but t ha t she was in Magburaka then; and did not do anything about it.

Ms. Seisay opined that the said vehicle was not misappropriated; but was convinced thc:it it was forc eful ly taken from a Mr. 6ashiru , a private driver of hers.

From the facts and evidence of the case and taking into consideration the provision of the law as stated above, it is clear that Kadija Olamatu Seisay understood that she was responsible for the care and safety of her official vehicle, Toyota Land Cruiser Registration No. ANK 889. She admitted to have requested for the Life Card of the vehicle because she wanted to go on an official duty in Conakry, Guinea.

It is the view of this Court that possession  of  the Life Card of a  vehicle translates to ow nership . Ms Seisay did not have to own the official vehicle in order to travel on an official trip. She had no business requesting for the said Life Card because travelling on official duties automatically  triggers  the  Foreign  Affairs  Department to conduct all the necessarie s no t Ms. Seisay. Under such circ umsta nc es , all she


does is to receive her travel documents, per diem and other official necessities from her Ministry . Her actions were therefore fraudulent.

The Court has carefully listened to the witnesses of the prosecution, who are all public officials who stated what their duties were and  have all in the estimation of this C ourt , carried out their duties diligently. Ms. Seisay was given an opportunity to make an election but she refused stating that she wanted to wait for her lawyer; who had asked for so many long adjournments to the extent that the file had to be withdrawn for judgment.

I have no doubt in my mind that the Ac cuse d , Kadija Olamatu Seisa y, judging from her statement to the Anti-Corruption  Commission  (The  State)  has  treated the misappropriation of the said vehicle  with impunity.  It is  clear  that  she  really did not care and she considered  the  vehicle  to  be  her  own  private  property. She saw her 7 year old daughter as  "a  little  Kid"  who  would  not  understand what is g o ing on around her if she  was asked. I found that  amazing. She said  that the erstwhile Minister of Transport and Aviation "insisted  that she re turn  the Life Card to the Transport O ffic er" b u t said that she forgot about that on her return.

This indicated that she did not see the significance of her responsibility and did

  • not a tta c h any importance to  the  trust  that was reposed in her  as a  Deputy Minister. She did not believe that she was negligent.

In view of the whole  evidence  before  the  Court  and  the  law;  and  c onsid  e ring that the vehicle has been fo und , I find Kadija Olamatu Seisa y , Former  Deputy Minister of Works, Housing and Infrastructure  Guilty  of  the  offence  of Misappropriation of Public Property contrary to Se c tion 36 (1l of the Anti­

Corruptio n Act of 2008.


Se ntence:


  1. that Kadija Olamatu Seisay is to pay a fine of Le 60,000 ,000 {Sixty Million Leones) into the Consolidated Revenue Fund within 28 days from today's judgment OR
  2. Serve a period of 4 years (Four years) Imprisonment.