Minister Lands and Country Planning, Diana Finda Konomanyi, yesterday testified at the Freetown High Court before Justice Miatta Samba that she had ticked ‘spinster’ on a form given to her at the Office of the Administrator-General.
She is the first prosecution witness in a high profile bigamy case involving her estranged husband, opposition stalwart, Alie Kabbah.
The witness was answering questions under cross-examination by defense counsel Francis Ben Kaifala, adding that she did provide details on the form and that she could not tell in law the difference between spinster and divorcee, although she informed the court that she was a divorcee since 1994, before getting married to Mr. Kabbah.
Lawyer Kaifala then asked the witness whether she was aware that information she gave about her status at the time was incorrect under prescribed law, referencing her 1989 married certificate with a certain Bockarie Jusu. The witness replied that she did not tell the accused she had once tied the knot, as according to her that was not necessary.
The defense counsel then asked the witness whether she decided to marry Mr. Kabbah because he was a honest man, and she replied ‘yes’.
She added: “I did ask him if he was divorced and he told me he was divorced and that he is going through the children’s proceedings.”
Asked if she was at fault with proceedings relating to divorce, child custody and property, she said ‘no’.
She recalled that while they were on honeymoon in Namibia in October 2013, she got information that the accused had not divorced his former wife, and that she confronted him with the allegation in December 2013, but the later told her not listen to liars.
The witness further told the court that she gave instructions to her solicitors to commence a suit with a view to annulling the civil married between her and the her, which was granted by the High Court. She revealed that she later went to the Criminal Investigation Department to make a complaint.
Lawyer Kaifala then made an application seeking officials to present to the court the witness’s testimony at the Magistrate Court, which was granted by Justice Samba.
The matter was adjourned to Thursday, 11 August.
Mr. Kabbah is standing trial for bigamy and perjury in respect of the collapsed married between him and Madam Konomanyi. He denies both charges, and says they are politically motivated.