Afternoon Session: Cross-Examination of Witness TF1-579 Continues

3:00pm: Court resumed in open session and defense counsel Courtenay Griffiths QC continued the cross-examination of Witness TF1-579. Counsel continued asking questions about the witness’s testimony that he made trips to Buedu with ammunition for the RUF. Counsel sought to establish inconsistencies in the witness’s statements. Counsel later applied for the court to be moved into closed session as questions were likely to reveal the witness’s identity.

Trips Made to Buedu and Monies Given by Sam Bockarie

The witness said he was present along with Maazah and Samson when Yeaten took them to Taylor’s residence at White Flower and ordered that arms and ammunition be loaded for transportation to the RUF in Buedu.  He said that they left for Buedu along with three armed men. He said he saw Bockarie give Samson some amount of money.  He said that on each occassion that materials were taken to Buedu, Bockarie would give the person money but that was not a payment for the materials, it was just a token. He said that Bockarie even rented a house for Jungle and his family in Monrovia. He further said that Jungle was the chief laiason between the RUF and Taylor’s government. The witness denied counsel’s assertion that Jungle was a business agent for Bockarie.  He agreed with counsel that Bockarie was interested in business and that when he relocated to Liberia, he was involved in diamond and timber business.

When asked about what they wore when they travelled to Buedu, the witness said they did not wear uniforms. Asked as to the reason for that, he said that their commanders told them not to wear uniforms so that they would not be identified as agents of the Liberian government. Counsel showed the witness a photograph of men in uniforms who were claimed to have transported materials to Buedu. The witness identified the uniforms as those of the SOD but said he did not know why they wore the uniforms. The witness insisted that he made two trips in 1998 and a third trip in 1999. He said that immediately after the third trip, Bockarie departed Buedu for Liberia.  Counsel told the witness that in May 2007, he gave a completely different account than the one he is giving now in court but the witness disagreed with counsel.  Counsel told him that on October 11, 2007 and October 30, 2008, he had the chance to make corrections  but did not do so. The witness insisted that he was not giving any different account.  Counsel told the witness that the first time he spoke to the prosecution, he said he made two trips, both at the end of 1999, then a month later, he made another statement saying the two trips were made at the end of 1999, but that now he is saying that there were three trips, with two in 1998 and one in 1999. The witness said that the final account is the correct story. Counsel asked the witness what the $2000 was for and he said it was just a gift. Witness said that they left Yeaten’s jeep, which they had used to transport materials to Bockarie. He said the money that Bockarie gave them was not for the jeep. He said when they went back to Liberia, Yeaten threatened to kill them if they did not come back with the jeep. He said they escaped.

Counsel referenced the witness’s statement that he took ammunition fron Gbarngha for the RUF. Counsel sought to establish how this trip was different from the three trips he made. The witness said that when he took ammunition from Gbarngha, they were not taken to Buedu but to Voinjama where the RUF collected them.  The witness said he does not know of any other SSS members who took arms to Buedu.  Counsel asked the witness what the largest convoy was that took ammunition to Buedu. The witness said it was a convoy of two vehicles.

The witness said he was aware that problems between Bockarie and Sankoh led the latter to leave the RUF and relocate to Liberia. He said that when Bockarie crossed to Liberia, he used to have long discussions with him. He said that Bockarie told him that Sankoh wanted Issa Sesay to replace him because they were both from the same tribe. Counsel asked him whether he knew of any meeting held at Roberts International Airport where Taylor and Obasanjo were present with an aim of bringing peace to Sierra Leone. The witness said he had no knowlege of such meeting.

Counsel asked that the court be moved into private session as the next questions could disclose the witness’s identity.

Court went into private session for the rest of the day.