Two members of the six jury panel which on Friday, June 16, handed down a non-guilty verdict in favor of United Bank for Africa (UBA), in a S$16m damages lawsuit have confessed that their decision was influenced by money.
The lawsuit against the bank was filed by the Henries Law Firm on behalf of Mamawa and Sons Incorporated in 2014.
UBA had earlier claimed that Mamawa & Sons connived with some of the bank’s employees to dupe the bank of US$1,257,772, of which Mamawa & Sons and some UBA employees were indicted with multiple crimes, including theft of property, in August 2011.
Jurors Thelma J. Sirleaf and Ayesah Sayon alleged that they were bribed by the bank’s lawyer to rule in favor of UBA.
In an affidavit of confirmation and statement of facts to the court, Sirleaf and Sayon alleged that they were retired into their room of deliberation. The court told them to leave their telephones outside except for the Forelady (head), in the person of Leona W. Klay, who carried a telephone into the room where they were deliberating the case and communicated with others through text messages.
On three different occasions, the two jurors claimed, the Forelady left the room and pretended that she was going to the restroom. “When she came from the bathroom, she came into the room with US$1,200 and offered to give each person US$200.
“Four of the jurors received the amount except for me and Madam Ayesah Sayon. Both of us refused the money on grounds that we took an oath to uphold the law,” the jurors said.
Based on their alleged testimony, Mamawa & Sons’ lawyers asked the court not to accept their ruling and called for a new trial.
In their argument, Cllr. Cooper Kruah asked the court to investigate the Forelady with specific reference to the call logs of telephone numbers 0886-014375 and 0777-056185.
He also asked the court to call the bailiff, Humphrey Seequeh, who served as a guide for the jurors, to make a statement before the court under oath that the Forelady came out of the deliberation room which supports the affidavit signed under oath.
Following Cllr. Kruah’s argument, Judge Yusuf Kaba ordered the Clerk to verify the telephone numbers.