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Sierra Leone
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Small Arms commissioner testifies in treason trial

June 8, 2020

By Hassan Gbassay Koroma

Commissioner of the Sierra Leone National Commission on Small Arms, Retired Brigadier General Tamba Rodnic Allieu (OOR), on Thursday, 4th June, testified in the ongoing treason trial involving his deputy, Retired Colonel Saa Anthony Sinnah, Retired Major Alfred Palo Conteh and Prince George Jusu.

Commissioner Allieu who has served in that capacity for one year seven months, told the court that he recognized the first and second accused persons.

He said his deputy has served the commission for some 12 years now and that the working relationship between them was very cordial as he always taps into his expertise.

He told the court that whenever he wanted to travel out of the country or goes on leave, he would officially write the Secretary to the President on his proposed travel and ask for the approval of his deputy to act as commissioner until his return.

He said when once the request is granted he would hand over to his deputy all official documents including Registrar’s stamp.

He recalled on 3rd March, 2020, when he went to work, but later left for the 34 Military Hospital to seek medical attention.

He said upon his return to the office, nothing was reported to him until the following day (4th March) when he went to work he met his deputy with the first accused Alfred Palo Conteh at the corridor leading to his office, thus noting that his deputy later informed him that the first accused had gone to renew his license and that he had already approved his application.

He told the court that when he received the said message from his deputy Commissioner, he did nothing because he believed in the expertise of his deputy.

He also explained the procedures for acquiring a firearm licenses, thus adding that the last stage of that process is a stern warning to the applicant not to take a loaded weapon to public places, which, according to him is also stated in the Arms and Ammunition Regulation 2014.

The witness also went through the license application form of the first accused that was allegedly approved by his deputy Commissioner and confirmed that none of the pages of the said form has the Commission’s Registrar stamp-the official stamp of the commission.

Also testifying earlier was Francis Lansana Saidu, a car wash boy at State House. He testified that he knew the first accused and recalled on 19th March, 2020.

He said on the very day he was at State House car wash together with three boys when the first accused entered with a Range Rover jeep.

He said they directed the accused to park his car safely, and the other boys approached and enticed him to wash his vehicle, adding that the first accused asked the boys to remove the floor carpet in the car.

He said the accused took his brown hand bag and proceeded to the entrance of State House, noting that he later saw the first accused together with one security officer and on boarded the accused vehicle and drove off.

During cross examination by Roland Wright, the witness was asked if the deputy commissioner didn’t have the mandate to perform the functions of the commissioner in his absent, the witness retorted that his deputy the right to perform the functions of the commissioner when he (commissioner) is not around.

He also told the court that when his deputy informed him that the first accused had gone to renew his firearm license and that he had already approved it; he did not question his decision because he believed in him.

He also told the court that his deputy had been doing all his work especially when he is away. He said he had been out of the country for medication attention for almost half of the entire time he had spent at the commission.

The State had charged the opposition key figure, who had served in the All People’s Congress government as Defense Minister, Internal Affairs Minister and also National Ebola Response Coordinator together with the Deputy Commissioner of the Sierra Leone National Commission on Small Arms, Retired Colonel Saa Anthony Sinnah and Prince George Jusu.

State prosecutor, Adrian Fisher, alleges that the first accused, Alfred Palo Conteh, on 19th March, 2020, was caught with an unlicensed small arm at State House.

The State Prosecutor also alleges that Saa Anthony Sinnah and Prince George Jusu abetted the said crime and that on a date unknown between 26th February and 3rd March, 2020, in Freetown, procured the commission of an offence in contravention of Regulation 31 of the Arms and Ammunition 2014

He claims that the 3rd accused person, Prince George Jusu, being Justice of the Peace offered by law to make any statement on oath for any purpose and being lawfully show, made a statement which is material for the purpose of the matter which he knew to be false or did not believe to be true.

The matter was adjourned for today (Monday 8th June, 2020) for the prosecution to close its case.

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