Christopher Cole Esq. Christopher Cole Esq. formerly attached to the law firm of Halloway and Partners at No. 8 Howe Street in Central Freetown, but now to the Law Officers Department, Guma Building as one of the newest recruited Government lawyers stands accused of defrauding his former client, an old, vulnerable woman whom he represented in the sale of her property located at No. 70 Pademba Road in Freetown.
Sometime this year, Lawyer Cole’s legal service was sought by Madam Elizabeth Coker residing at Hill Station, who wanted to sell her property.
In May, the lawyer expedited the sale of the land and a deal was finally struck at Le. 720, 000, 000. 00 (Seven Hundred and Twenty Million Leones) for the property and the money paid in full through the lawyer.
As an old woman, she took Lawyer Cole as her son after confiding in him that her children were not owning up to the responsibility. Probably taking advantage of the woman’s vulnerability, the first covetous act by Lawyer Cole was to slash an unusual service fee of Le100, 000, 000. 00 (One Hundred Million Leones) from the amount paid into his account. The woman had no problem with that anyway as he continued to disburse on her instruction to offset her debtors, including refunds to tenants affected by the sale.
Whatever was the problem, Lawyer Cole failed to open an account for the old woman so that he could make the transfer of the money, a move that created suspicion. And by August this year, just three months since the sale of the land, Lawyer Cole broke the shocking news to Madam Coker to stop harassing him for money as she no longer had money in that account; meaning she has spent everything through payments made by him on her instructions.
This was untenable as the woman could not be convinced by what the lawyer told her since Cole never produced bank statements to bolster that claim. At least she confided to this medium that since the money was paid, she had had no access to the account as it is being operated solely by Lawyer Cole.
What the old woman wants now is to know how Cole spent the money and why he could not produce bank statements of withdrawal. However, since that demand from the lady, Lawyer Cole has been dodging her. She declined to this medium any knowledge of the lawyer asking her to open an account. She indeed admitted that she has been receiving money from the account operated by the lawyer in bits as whenever she needed money the lawyer would send it. But the problem, she went on, was that they had never sat together to reckon to know what was being withdrawn and the balance remaining.
When contacted, the lawyer’s first reaction was to refer to the woman as a criminal, saying she merely wanted to smear his image. His excuse for not creating a special account was that the old woman could not bring necessary documents that would enable him to open an account for her like Identity Cards and utility bills payment receipts. He also said it was normal for lawyers to operate accounts on behalf of their clients but denied the allegation of misdirecting the money, saying the old woman has indeed exhausted the fund in the account. He could not produce bank statements though but tendered several written undertakings in payment to people he claimed the old woman instructed to pay. He also cited his wife and brother as being knowledgeable of all the transactions between him and Madam Coker.
Editor’s Note: More on this story in our next edition and will highlight lawyer Christopher Cole’s breakdown of how he expended or disbursed the money.