“He was freed through a presidential pardon after killing a popular DJ”
By Santigie Sesay-USA
Tongues are still waggling in Sierra Leone as the entire nation express disgust and dissatisfaction over the pardoning by President Julius Maada Bio of a convicted murderer just after serving six years in jail. Some entertainers are particularly unhappy because they say the move will give rise to impunity.
Baimba Moi Foray otherwise known as ‘LA Chocolate’ is a notorious traditional herbalist who was in 2016 convicted for murdering a popular Disc Jockey (DJ) Sydney Buckle aka DJ Clef. DJ Clef suddenly disappeared during a party organized by LA and his cronies in Western Freetown. The mutilated corpse of DJ Clef was later discovered at the Murray Town Cemetery in Freetown.
After persistent pressure from entertainers calling out for justice, the matter was committed to the high court of Sierra Leone and after a long trial, LAC was found guilty of murder and was therefore sentenced to death by hanging. Due to a moratorium placed on the death penalty, LAC’s sentence was reduced to life imprisonment last year.
Bio, DJ Clef and LA Chocolate
In January this year, President Bio granted a presidential pardon to one hundred and sixty (160) inmates, and among them, 117 had their sentences committed from death penalty to life imprisonment. The remaining forty-three (43) were freed and among them, is the convicted murderer, herbalist LA Chocolate.
This issue has attracted lots of controversies as majority of the populace is blaming the President and the management of the Sierra Leone Correctional Center over what they described as blunder and perversion of justice to the family of the deceased. Government officials say the list of inmates pardoned was presented to the president by the leadership of the Sierra Leone Correctional Service. But a cross section of the public asserts that it was ineptitude on the side of the president not to have verified the list before exercising his prerogative of mercy.
The President of the Makeni DJ’S Union who also doubles as the Entertainment Manager at Amzas Radio FM 96.9 Makeni; Alpha Mustapha Kabia aka Ambassador DJ Dustman told MountainWaves in an exclusive interview that DJ’s in Sierra Leone, especially Makeni were shocked and disappointed that President Julius Maada Bio could use his prerogative of mercy to awaken tears in the eyes of the family and loved ones of DJ Clef.
DJ Dustman retorted that they are not against the President using his Constitutional right to pardon inmates, but a notorious murderer like LAC should not have been among the list. He added that having people like LAC in the society makes them unsafe because he has the tendency to commit a more egregious offence and will go scotch free.
“Letting LA Chocolate walk out of prison with impunity on the streets as a free man for killing another man is a bad precedent with no justice served to victims” DJ Dustan said.
DJ Dusman–Makeni DJ’s Union.
The move by the President is in pursuant to Section 40 (4e) and Section 63 of the 1991 Constitution, the President is vested the power of prerogative of mercy and he exercises that power every year on New Year’s Day and on Independence Day, 27th April.
When the Public Relations Officer for the Sierra Leone Correctional Service was contacted, he declined from making any comment.
Meanwhile, other entertainers MountainWaves have spoken to have also declined to comment on the issue. Some commented on conditions on anonymity and calls on all entertainers in the country to once again show unity as before to speak up against injustice as LA Chocolate is a danger to society.
Here is a link to the song produced by combined artists in 2015 calling for justice for DJ Clef and the authorities to take action.