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Police detective testifies in Sierra Rutile theft

- says 406 bags titanium dioxide recovered

By Hawa Amara

Detective police constable 2456 Mohamed Turay last Friday told the Freetown Magistrates Court No.2 presided over by Magistrate Komba Kamanda that four hundred and six bags of rutile were discovered at the scene of crime.

He was testifying in the matter of three accused persons – Lansana Bayoh, Mamadu Barrie and John Beningo – who were arraigned on two counts of conspiracy to commit a felony and larceny, contrary to section 2 of the Larceny Act, 1916.

According to the prosecution, the trio on diverse dates between 1st and 26th December 2013 at Moriba town in Impere Chiefdom in the Moyamba District, southern province of Sierra Leone, conspired with unknown persons to commit larceny. Also, prosecution alleges that the accused persons on 26th December 2013 at Main Road, Largor Niti, Lower Banta Chiefdom, in the Moyamba district, stole twenty-three metric tons of titanium dioxide (rutile), being property of Sierra Rutile Company Limited.

In his testimony, detective Turay of Moriba town police station told the court that on 26th December 2013 one Ibrahim Zina of Support Group International reported that he had discovered quantities of final product of titanium dioxide in a vehicle with registrations No. AGI 228 in a nearby bush.

He said that on 27th December 2013, he and Detective Inspector Fornah, the complainant and a private photographer drove in a police vehicle and visited the scene. He said that upon their arrival at the scene the team identified four hundred and six (406) small sugar bags containing final products of rutile, which they brought back to the Moriba town police station. He said they obtained statements from the complainant and other available witnesses.

He further told the court that on the 28th December 2013 officials of Sierra Rutile Company informed the police that the suspects-cum-accused persons were drivers employed by the mining company.

He said the accused were each interrogated on the same day (28 December).

The prosecution witness was cross-examined by defence counsel Umaru Napoleon Koroma.

The matter is being prosecuted by police prosecutor Raymond B. Dunnia.  The matter continues.