Authorities at the ministries of Labor and Gender Development and Social Protection, as well as the Liberia National Police (LNP) on yesterday appeared before Criminal Court ‘A” at the Temple of Justice, to give account of two state witnesses, Famatta Kanu and Kiadiatu Kamara, who are at the center of a human trafficking case.
Their appearance stemmed from a request from the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) prosecutorial arm of the government for a Writ of Subpoena ad Testificadum.
Subpoena ad Testificandum is a writ issued by a court authority to compel the attendance of a witness at a judicial proceeding; disobedience may be punishable as a contempt of court.
Judge Roosevelt Willie has also mandated the government entities to explain why they should not be held in contempt for their individual roles played in releasing the witnesses without the knowledge of the Ministry of Justice.
“Your failure to adhere to this Subpoena ad testificandum, will lead us to hold you in contempt,” Willie’s order said.
The court’s mandate continues, “Failure on your part, the court will have no alternative but to take the appropriate legal action against you.”
Famatta Kanu and Kiadiatu Kamara are prime witnesses of the government in regard to a case where the state indicted one Hawa Bangura for human trafficking.
The case grew out of developments on November 30, 2017, when one Molley Passawe, chairman of Banjor community, outside Monrovia, reported an alleged trafficking in persons involving Famatta Kanu, 37, and her daughter Kiadiatu Kamara, 4, and a Sierra Leonean defendant identified as Hawa Bangura.
The court’s record claimed that when the defendant and the victims were residing in Sierra Leone back then, Kiadiatu Kamara was selling for defendant Bangura and that Bangura persuaded Kamara to come to Liberia with her, to buy some goods (not named).
When they arrived in Liberia, the record alleged, they did not have anywhere to sleep until after three days when they came across one Mohammed, who is at large. Mohammed is believed to have provided sleeping place for them.
While they were at Mohammed’s place, defendant Bangura allegedly introduced one Lahai as her boyfriend, but her usual sleeping out of the place prompted a serious confusion between the two.
During a conversation between Lahai and Bangura, Kamara claimed that she heard Bangura telling Lahai that she had sold two of her children, along with Kamara and her daughter.
Bangura is reported to have said that she was going to earn enough money to be able to open a shop back home in Sierra Leone, according to Kamara.
Seeing the uneasiness, Kamara reportedly claimed that she informed Bangura about her decision to go back to Sierra Leone.
Kamara claimed Bangura told her that she had given money to somebody to buy second-hand clothes for them to take back to Sierra Leone, and so they had to wait awhile.
Unfortunately, Kamara alleged that Bangura had arranged and negotiated with her boyfriend Lahai to sell Kamara and her daughter to Passawe.
After the arrangement with Passawe about the sale of Kamara and her daughter, Lahai, on the orders of Bangura, took Kamara and her daughter to Passawe’s house for the transaction.
It was during that time, the court’s record claimed, that Passawe immediately left them in his room and went outside where he managed to call people, who later arrested defendant Kamara.
The matter is currently under further investigation while both individuals have been detained pending court trial.