The call was made while addressing the seven clients during Pre-Discharge Briefing. Ms. Carlton-Hanciles said the criminal matter against the clients has been concluded in the courts. ‘They have been cleared of any wrong doing, thanks to our lawyers,’ she said. ‘Now we expect Wadi Aboud and Sons to do the right thing and pay what is due our clients in benefits by the end of the month. These people have served the company honestly and diligent for periods ranging for four to seventeen years. They deserve any single penny in benefits.’
She noted that her clients have suffered for too long, since November 2015, when they were arrested on allegation of stealing 1,850 cartons of WAS baked beans. ‘Wadi Aboud should be assured we will not allow them to prolong the suffering of these clients on our watch,’ she warned.
Carlton-Hanciles noted that a letter with supporting documents including a summary of the judgement will be sent to the Ministry of Labour and Social Security on the matter. She added that the Ministry is obliged to ensure Wadi Aboud and Sons pay benefits in full to these clients.
The seven former employees – Mohamed Lamin Kamara, Lamin Kamara, Christian Bassie, Ibrahim Kamara, Ansumana Mansray, Mohamed Sesay and Ibrahim Alie Kamara – were arrest in November 2015 and charged with conspiracy and larceny by servant contrary to Section 17 (1) (a) of the Larceny Act 1916. The particulars of offence note that the accused persons conspired to steal cartoons of WAS baked beans valued at one hundred and fifty-seven million, eight hundred and fifty thousand leones (Le157, 850,000).
The matter was charged to court after the accused persons had spent eleven days in police cell. They were granted bail by Magistrate Seray-Wurie but could not meet the stiff conditions until after sixty-four days. The matter was committed to High Court where it was presided over by Justice Bosco Alieu.
Justice Alieu Bosco discharge the matter for want of prosecution on September 4 after applications from lawyers of the Legal Aid Board who had expressed concerned over the very slow pace of the trail occasioned by the failure of prosecution witnesses to testify.
The State Counsel had earlier informed the court that she was encountering problems with the case because key prosecution witnesses including the CEO for Wadi Aboud and Sons have been consistently absent for sittings.
One of the accused persons, Mohamed Lamin Kamara criticized the police for charging only seven of eight suspects. ‘We were shocked beyond words that Warehouse Manager, Kamal Ahmed was never charged to court, even though he is the prime suspect,’ Kamara said. ‘The police prosecutor said in court that they had orders from above not to charge him. Also, they wanted to use him as witness.’
Mohamed Kamara said they were pressured by WadiAboud and Sons to plead guilty to the charges which they refused to do. He said this would have meant losing their benefits in return for the dropping of charges.