The Sierra Leonean woman Hawa Bangura has been convicted in Monrovia for trafficking in person, after community dwellers in Banjor, Montserrado County frustrated her efforts to sell two of her compatriots for US$3,500 by planting securities on her during the attempted sale of the victims.
Following her conviction on Monday, 14 January, Criminal Court “A” Judge Roosevelt Z. Willie scheduled her sentencing to Thursday, 17 January at 10:00 A.M. Hawa was convicted at the end of a bench trial (trial by judge) for selling Famata Kanu and the latter’s 4-year old daughter Kadiatu Kromah for US$3,500.00 in 2017.
The Judge has ordered that a background investigation be conducted on Hawa and a report be submitted to him this Thursday to inform his decision in sentencing the convict comes 17 January. She declined to testify during the trial to disprove the charges levied against her by Liberian prosecutors.
The State says commercial motorcyclist Lahai Kamara whom Hawa had asked to find buyers for the trafficked victims had informed Banjor Community Chairman Molley Passawe before later hinting securities personal.Prosecution say photographs were taken at Passawe’s house while Hawa was there.
According to Prosecution, Mr. Molley had pretended to enter agreement with Hawa to buy the trafficked victims from her, after being informed that she was looking for buyer for Famata and Kadiatu.Judge Willie rules that prosecutors proved their case beyond all reasonable doubts to convict Hawa for the crime charged.
He adds that Hawa did not take the witness stand to rebut prosecution’s six witnesses that linked her to the crime.The Judge recalls from the hearing of the case that witness Famata testified how she was selling for Hawa in Sierra Leone, but they later found themselves in Liberia.
The Liberian Government say Hawa deceived Famata and her daughter that they were going to Bo-waterside, a border point with Liberia, but she brought them into Liberia for alleged business purpose.The State says it has proved its case beyond reasonable doubt.
On 9 January, the former head of the Liberia National Police (LNP) Anti Human Trafficking Division Sup. Anthony S. Tugbeh said during the probe, investigators discovered that Famata and Kadiatu were deceived on grounds that they were coming to Liberia to purchase used clothes.Her lawyer Cllr. Joseph B. Debblay from the office of the Public Defenders for Montserrado County has taken exception against the ruling.
He requested Judge Willie earlier on Monday to acquit Hawa for incorrect evidence, reasonable doubt, violation of her miranda rights, and lack of FOC [fruits of the crime] to establish crime.Cllr. Debblay claims that the entire indictment is based on speculation, the whole evidence was fabricated and concocted.
Following Hawa’s conviction, journalists had so much difficulties to photograph her because Correction Officers made all efforts to shield her face from the camera.The officers began shielding the convict from the hallway on the ground floor of the Temple of Justice outside Criminal Court “A” down to the basement of the building where they had a vehicle waiting to whisk her away to Central Prison.
By Winston W. Parley