Hassine Benfrey, a Tunisian, was yesterday remanded at the Male Correctional Centre on Pademba Road after he appeared before Magistrate Dr. Abou Bakarr Binneh-Kamara on allegation of defrauding the management of Radisson Blu the sum of one hundred and eighty-two million, six hundred and seventy-four thousand seven hundred and seventeen Leones (Le182, 674,717).
Detectives at the Criminal Investigation Department headquarters in Freetown allege that the Tunisian obtained credit under false pretences, contrary to section 13(1) of the Debtors Act of 1869.
According to the particulars of offence, the accused between 7 November, 2015 to 25 February 2016 at Radisson Blu hotel, Aberdeen, Freetown incurred debt to Mr. Nuno Neves, amounting to Le182,674,717, by means of fraud.
Standing in the dock in a very relaxed manner, the accused was seen whispering to his lawyer, J.M. Fonah, while he addressed the court.
The lawyer pleaded with the principal magistrate to discharge his client on the grounds that the prosecution had failed to bring their witnesses to court. He also applied for bail pursuant to section 79 of the Criminal Procedures Act of 1965.
However, Police Prosecutor, Sergeant 5984 Fofanah I.G. appealed to the court for another adjournment to enable them bring their witnesses to testify in the matter, adding that the substantive prosecutor for the matter was absent.
The matter will come up again today, with the prosecution expected to open their case.
In a related development in the same court, Jenner David Koroma, a businessman, was also sent on remand for similar offence.
The prosecution claimed that the accused had obtained credit of stationery from one David Isiraojie, owner of Ikheoa International Agency at No.26 Garrison Street in Freetown, in 2013, to the tune of Le145,000,000
His Lawyer, Julius N. Cuffie, applied for bail, noting that his client has spent more than ten days in detention at the Criminal Investigation Department headquarters, adding that he was also breadwinner of four.
However, Assistant Superintendent of Police Samuel Kamara, objected to bail.
The magistrate upheld the objection and adjourned the matter to 29 March, 2016.
Credit: All Africa