The presiding magistrate in the ongoing Pakistani forged visa case, Magistrate Abu Bakarr Binneh Kamara of Freetown Magistrate Court No. 1 has on Wednesday 24th February, 2016 exposed what seems to be gross ineptitude of the Sierra Leone Police in handling the case. He was speaking to a court room that was packed with citizens and civil society activists who were muttering bitterly in protest about what they perceived to be lapses in the country's anti-terrorism efforts. Many citizens in the court room, raised doubts over the preparedness of the country to combat terrorism should in case it rears its ugly head. However, other citizens were commending the Immigration, the Police and other Intelligence gathering agencies for at least having picked up on the forgery and detaining the strange Pakistani.
For his part, Magistrate Abu Bakarr Binneh Kamara is displeased over the ineptitude of those who preferred the charges. He seriously frowned at the charges levied against the Pakistani businessman.
Immediately the matter was called for hearings, the presiding magistrate said that after he took another look at the case file, he realised the charges proffered against the accused person were wrongly put. He emphatically told the Police prosecution that the indictments were not the right charges for the crimes committed by the Pakistani. Hence, he could not proceed with the case.
The Magistrate further told the court that he was going to adjourn the case to further avail himself with the opportunity to comprehensively peruse the Statutory Acts around the alleged crimes under the Law.
The Pakistani, Bhatti Zulfiqar Ali was arraigned on two counts of illegal entry and forgery, contrary to the laws of the State. The man was arrested at the Freetown International Airport in Lungi allegedly with a forged visa upon arriving into the country.
Count one states that the accused person on Thursday 28th January, 2016 entered Sierra Leone without valid travelling certificates, contrary to section 19(2)(f)(1) of the Non-Citizens (Registration, Immigration and Expulsion) Act of 1965. Count two continues that the accused person on the same date was caught using a forged visa, contrary to Section 36(1) of Act No. 14 of the Non-Citizens (Registration, Immigration and Expulsion) Act of 1965.
The particulars of offence state that the accused person Bhatti Zulfiqar Ali on Thursday 28th January, 2016 at Freetown International Airport in Lungi , Port Loko Judicial District entered the country without a valid travelling certificate.
It also alleged that on the same date, the accused person without lawful authority used a forged document in which the Sierra Leone Immigration Department Landing Visa was forged by persons unknown.
The matter was adjourned to Monday 29th February, 2016 whilst the Pakistani was again denied bail and remanded in prison.
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Newspaper in Freetown, Sierra Leone.