Drugs, contraband, and dismissals in Sierra Leone – a Paopa government cover-up exposed

Tony Konomanyi: Sierra Leone Telegraph: 31 July 2022:

There’s never a dull moment in Sierra Leone, under this SLPP regime. In just seven days, we’ve gone from youths and journalists raising the alarm on the unusual movements of a shipping container suspected of holding drugs, weapons and forex, to a press release from government agencies and the police, denying any such contraband.

We then witnessed an interesting charade put up by the police at the “unveiling of contents” of the container in the full glare of the press. (I dare not mention the ignominious exchange which ensued between the Minister of information, Mohamed Rhaman Swaray and the recently sacked IG, Sovula, when the latter unapologetically arrived late at the staged opening of the container, without apologies.)

Now it has finally ended in predictable scapegoating, and we have  dismissals/demotions/reassignments of several names mentioned in the original exposé.

Out of breath already? Don’t be, there’s a lot more to come.

So, we were expected to believe that the container which left water quay and was apprehended at Cline Town, is the same to have arrived at Kingtom police mess, under military and Police escort, after the alarm had been raised by the public.

However, the truth has finally been revealed. First of all, the container which was opened at Kingtom Police mess was not the original, it had been swapped, and the actual container filled with drugs and contraband remained at the TRUST paint factory in Cline town, Freetown.

It was at the TRUST factory that the contents were emptied by the Lebanese and Ghanian smugglers.

When the police took the “fake”  container to Kingtom and finally disclosed the contents a few days later, they deliberately misled the public.

However, in their rush to exchange the original container for one filled with perishable foodstuffs like chicken and fish, they forgot an important detail.

The replacement “fake” container was not a refrigerated one. Frozen items would never have been shipped all the way from Brazil in an unrefrigerated container; everything would have rotted.

The owner of TRUST paint factory is a  Lebanese man called AYAD EL MUKH who works in partnership with the Transport Minister Kabineh Kallon ,  who is also the brother of the Bank Governor Kelfala Kallon, (who last week left Sierra Leone surreptitiously, amidst a national uproar over his announcement that NL800 million, approximately US$57m, had gone missing in the system.)

Since then, several highly placed heads have rolled, because of the mishandling of the smuggling deal.

The ADC to President Bio,  AIG SYLVESTER M KOROMA, whose official Vehicle registration plate was fraudulently used on the lorry which hauled the container to Cline Town, has been dismissed as ADC to the President and reposted to Police headquarters.

The then Inspector General of Police, AMBROSE SOVULA has been removed from his post as head of Sierra Leone Police, because he blew the cover-up by his exuberance and incompetence.

Both the then second and third in command in Sierra Leone Police hierarchy have also been demoted/reassigned.

Mr KEKETOMA SANDY who was Presidential spokesman and press secretary has had his responsibilities halved, and he’s now only Press secretary. This is because he was out of his depth and overwhelmed by the negative publicity.

This is by no means the end of this matter, there’ll be more names to come. But they are the sacred cows.

In the meantime, our President, clearly unperturbed by all this scandal, financial mess, and the suffering of our people, has gone on a luxury holiday to the UK , Italy, and the South of France with his wife, who some say has a stake in all of these deals.

God help Salone.




  1. Mr. Santhkie Sorie, do not get mad at your brother, yes of course I do have one major problem that is, I do not have time, editing my writings, or else the way I talk sometimes you don’t like it. Mr. Santhkie, we are all human and were created differently in understanding as well. Have you ever read the story of ” Prophet Musa”?, this great man was a prophet of God, just imagine when he speaks, people don’t like it because, no one understands from him. But his brother” Haaroun” was most eloquent in talking, then Musa asked his Lord to appoints his younger brother as a Prophet to help him deliver the message. Brother let me say this to you again that, the level of knowledge is just like “a sea or water”, you can’t take it all home but some, am I right?. Likewise education brother, provoke no one by writing or speaking, it’s a gift from God, keep that.
    The Prophet Musa (Moses) peace be up on him, he one day praises himself saying” no one is knowledgeable as his, please brother Santhkie Sorie, I believe you must have some free time to do some researches , I want you to take your time do a short research about Musa (Moses). ((Though not mentioned by name in the Quran, he named by Islamic scholars as the figure described in Quran 18:65–82 as a servant of God who has been given “knowledge” and who is accompanied and questioned by the prophet Musa (Moses) about many seemingly unjust or inappropriate actions he (Al-Khidr). brother Santhkie I believed if you go over the story between Musa and Khidr, it would be hard for you again to criticize someone about knowledge or education.
    As I was trying to explain to who so ever interested to know the meaning of ” Santigie” the name that altered you to get mad, truly speaking brother, they are the Paramount chiefs poppets in the chiefdom.
    If ” Pa-Santigies” tied you up with bundles of lies, man you finished. I swear to you that these men do not sleep neither by day, nor by night, bringing news for the Paramount chief. I believed you have knowledge of the meaning before right? so that’s why you modernized your’s to ” Santhkie” instead of Santigie which is not bad at all. Sometimes you Profs. confusing us, stop using big terms make it simple.

  2. Brima Sesay, you can use all the demeaning and derogatory terms against me with the aid of your scanty and unscientific research, it doesn’t get under my skin. Please go over the sentences you write before pressing the post button in the future; you’ll no doubt see why I keep insisting that you are not lucid or coherent, which conveys you into the realm of ambiguity. You may need to take a deep breath to extricate yourself from the debilitating effects of delirium. Debating or dislodging with you is a waste of my precious time. Goodbye my old pal.

  3. Anyway I am so sorry Mr. “Santhkie Sorie”, I can understand your frustration a little bit, when someone misspelled out your great name that you were given must not be happy for that . When I was surprised about your anger towards the bad spelling of your name, I asked someone with knowledge about names in Africa, and what’s the difference between” Santigie, and Santhkie” . The old man laughed and said what happened? I explained, he said ; Santigies are the poppets for the” Paramount chiefs” in the country, selected by chief headed the whole chiefdom, bringing him/her whatever kind of news also having knowledge about most of the chiefdom’s news. They named the males, Santigies and the females, named “Ya-Almamies” maybe that’s why he differentiated the spelling of his name, he doesn’t want to be part of that. But not only Limbas, Temnes carried out the this name also “Soso and Madingos as well.

    Talking about KKY, I just let you understand this brother, don’t you believe both Dr. Kandeh YumKella and Dr. Dennis are much more regret it today than any politicians in the country?. As for me in my opinion, I see no relevant reasons why KKY took unwise decision to leave the SLPP party because of he wasn’t succeeded to win the party presidential nominations, Bio was failed to Birwa, but he never quits the party, brother that was a mistake and I hope he repair it “SLPP and APC ? Don’t you think that they have sluggishly and grudgingly come to realise that the Party (NGC) is now a force to reckon with ?”

    Brother, I don’t think if (NGC) was created only to be reckon with, if you can alter such a word like this against the NGC party, they will seriously mad at you, is not only for reckon. That is why Ms. Mansaray says, it’s just a name, uhmmmm. Later

  4. Mr Brima Sesay, I am not Santigie but Santhkie. The Limbas and Lokos have Santigie, the Temenes have Santhkie. I am not sure I was able to coherently follow your assertions; you may want to help me out by being more lucid and unambiguous . I would particularly like to know where I shot off on tangents. One last thing: if NGC is just a name, why is its parliamentary leader (Dr Yomkella) being courted by the two major parties – SLPP and APC ? Don’t you think that they have sluggishly and grudgingly come to realise that the Party (NGC) is now a force to reckon with ? I look forward to hearing from you. Many thanks.

  5. Yeah! Beautiful First Lady Fatima Bio and Handsome President Bio there. I love beautiful pictures.
    Congratulations and kudos to the APC, NGC and C4C for working hard to win State House in 2023.
    But wait for a minute. Is the opposition prepared to do so through COPP? We have not seen any political agreement by COPP as we speak. Also, the APC is struggling to implement the court order. Are they sure that they will implement the court order in time? Mind you, it’s now injury time politically to get their delegates and leader ready. Is the APC prepared to do the right thing to avoid regional voting? Everyone criticised President Bio for tribalism, but now, people are accusing Dr Samura Kamara of tribalism. Who is right, and who is wrong?
    Don’t forget that President Bio is the incumbent, and he defeated Dr Kandeh Yumkella and Dr Samura Kamara in the last elections. As the incumbent, he and his SLPP can mobilise large parts of the population to their advantage with little difficulty. Are the APC and NGC going to field Dr Samura Kamara and Dr Kandeh Yumkella as their flag bearers for the 2023 elections? Remember that President Bio has not yet chosen his running mate. Do they know who he will select to counter any gains by Dr Samura Kamara and Dr Kandeh Yumkella?
    In the next general elections, I see a return to clan/regionalism, not tribalism. If that happens, then president Bio will likely benefit from that and win. Have they noticed that? Serious stuff!
    We have talked about lousy governance and wasteful policies in Sierra Leone for four years. By the way, I was one of those who were unhappy with some of President Bio’s policies. Especially policies concerned with lousy governance and wasteful spending. I proposed purchasing a not very expensive presidential jet to help reduce the cost of hiring private jets, but they never tried to contact me. I’m OK with that. That will save the government a lot of money in the long term. Can you imagine?
    Who is supporting this bad governance and wasteful policies? Why is the opposition most times silent on these issues? Are they part of the corrupt political soup? How many unscrupulous businesses are on the side of the government or the opposition operating in Sierra Leone? Deceitful stuff!
    Sierra Leone has been so polarised and divisive that Regional voting is becoming unavoidable in 2023. If our politicians don’t refrain from tribalism and marginalisation in their political parties, we will re-elect President Bio. Do they think that people will be stupid or silly enough to continue criticising president Bio if he wins a second term because of greed and personal interest by the opposition? No way. If we re-elect President Bio, there will be no other option but to work with him to get things done. “Talk half, Lef Half”. God bless Sierra Leone.

  6. I always say this sometimes, Mr. Rashid Thomas’s telegraph platform is nothing like a college of education, to all people who visited this valuable forum. Now I wanted give name to it as ” SLCC”, Sierra Leone Community College. Today our sister Ms. Mansaray had dropped another word which is so painful and difficult to defend “Do you think putting old wine in a new bottle will change it taste?”. Mr. Santigie Sorie has circumambulated this term I think more than twice, but all what I have read in his article, is indefensible for now. (But NGC is just a name) yes, indeed I agree with you sister, the power and distractions that ,NGC came with during the late 2018 campaign, that led todays opposition APC focused on KKY and forgot about Bio then candidate leads to their heavy decisive defeat. Bio was under estimated by APC thinking that they have already damaged him, by assassinating his character saying” brutal killer, will never enter USA, you name it.

    Most of these guys were tarnishing KKY, accusing him with two nationalities USA, Sierra Leonean which I don’t think have any effect, but KKY was pushed to the edge to self revocation of his US Citizenship. APC played dirty politics in all angles just to win the election not knowing that, the Diasporas were mad like dogs, segregating them was a mistake. That’s why when APCs talking about tribalism, I just smiled and laughed. How many times calling Tejan Kabba as a Guinean not fits to be President? I would like these guys APCs to understand that when you criticized Bio, it means you have provoked the entire Sierra Leone Arm Forces.

    My question is, why don’t Koroma’s led APC gov’t not arrested and charged Bio prior to his return from USA, if you believed that he had committed atrocity?. I am seeing too many hypo actions, these guys not talking about SAJ, Mondeh neither Komba Kambo because they are not running for office, though one of them is dead. Remember when they were defending this country from the enemies, some of us were flying like pigeons in the woods, let’s respect Bio for God’s sake folks. Today he’s in office, tomorrow might be you. I believed APC hates KKY than any human in this country because, they still blaming him for their big loss in 2018 elections. Thank you

  7. Aminata Mansaray, thank you for responding to me. Old wine in a new bottle is just a cliche which people use quite often in hopes of clinching an argument or debate among those with no mental flexibility. Without being too personal I am ready to bet my life that your life’s experiences have made you to alter course many times to cope with the dynamics of life; that’s why we are all subjected to a chequered life with varied consequences. We all make mistakes, especially when we are exposed to something for the first time. If one uses such empirical evidence to positively tailor subsequent behaviour, one is not pouring old wine into a new bottle, it is a moment of evidence-based alteration of behaviour in the name of progress. Let us don’t forget that there are people within SLPP right now who are totally professionally minded but the party structure keeps them subdued and out of sight . Would you say that they were old wine in a new bottle if they were to abandon SLPP to join NGC because they saw a chance to fully express themselves in helping their country and people to emerge from the doldrums of more than six decades of independence?

  8. ” Next year let us use this extraordinary power to kick the backside of both APC and SLPP while rudely showing them the exit signs and bring in KKY and NGC. “-Santhkie Sorie

    But NGC is just a name. The people in the NGC are all product from the SLPP and APC. Do you think putting old wine in a new bottle will change it taste? Dr. Denis Bright for example, was one time Minister of the combine Youths and Sport Ministries. His 7 year tenure in that office when Sierra Leone was pumped with monies for post war recovery is nothing good to write about. Corruption in the combined Youths and Sport Ministries was rife. Mr. Andre Kaillie the NGC proposed vice President in the last Election was chairman of CEMNET, an electricity company that was given millions of dollars to electrify Freetown during President Kabba reign in power after 1992. Ask the legendary generator “Kabba Tiger” about his progress. Freetown until 2007 remained the darkest city in the world. Dr. Victoria Kamara was one time minister of Tourism in the Koroma led government. She was butted out because corruption. The list goes on and on. And these are the people who you think will transform Sierra Leone fortunes overnight. Anyway, Dr. Bright has by his actions recently put the NGC as an offshoot of the APC. Like the MPDC before it, the NGC is no longer has the clout to compete on its own.
    Before I depart, I personally think that this rumour about drug trafficking recently is a political smeared to tarnish the current Minister of Transport and his hard working brother the bank governor. As usual the distractors of the first lady would not have a field day if her name is not soil as part of the traffickers.
    I read the post of one Taiwo Johnson below and he posits that because the people whose names are soiled have not made any remark, it means that they are guilty. Because Mr. Johnson wants them to be guilty, he does not mind hankering their names and reputation in his wishful thinking. Unfortunately Sierra Leoneans are no longer cowed by propaganda and character assassinations of prominent persons in our society.
    Ours is a common law system and one good thing about the common law, speculations are not evidence. A journalist worth his salt should endeavour to present evidence even if it is circumstantial instead of scheming machiavellianly to destroy politicians on behalf of their paymasters in the opposition by making spurious accusation.

  9. So far there is an extremely important element which has been missing in all the comments : official involvement in drug trafficking. It is a despicable display of cynicism – vis-a-vis the devastating effects of drugs in a society, by government officials. Sierra Leone continues to slide deeper and deeper into oblivion as SLPP and APC serve as pimps for established international drug traffickers, whose aim is to destroy whole societies by targeting succeeding generations of young people, who are constantly in a drug stupor and hence a liability to society.

    While some countries like Singapore have severe penalties, including the death penalty ,for drug trafficking our government is encouraging it because of their get rich quick syndrome. This should be a warning to all Sierra Leoneans visiting or intending to visit Singapore that it’s a well run society where the authorities do not discriminate in applying the death penalty for prohibited drugs, be you white, black, European,Asian or African.

    I dare say that the involvement of top people in drug trafficking is not new ,only that it is getting worse. Years ago I happened to be in the presence of a former commissioner of police as they were called then, not IG. He narrated the story of one of Siaka Stevens’ son being caught in a drug trafficking ring. He went to see Siaka Stevens about it. The response of Siaka Stevens left him in no doubt that he should abandon the case.

    We are in serious trouble as a nation. If the people we expect to protect us from the ravages of criminality are the worst criminals then where do we turn ? To Allah/God ? It would be the worst type of defeatism if we did. We literally have the power in our hands (the ballot paper) to reverse our downward slide which has gathered momentum for more than six decades. Next year let us use this extraordinary power to kick the backside of both APC and SLPP while rudely showing them the exit signs and bring in KKY and NGC. Things will change only if we have the will to change them. Let us get out of the nonsense of expecting Allah/God to solve our problems. Why did He give us our senses for free? As a decorations ?

  10. I personally believe that this container news that was hatched from the social media is just to DISTRACT the nation from the IMPLOSION that is unfolding within the APC. The “wind of change” that Chairman Alfred Peter Conteh ( Mr. APC) started within his party is now unstoppable. Some members of the “ Some Peoples Congress Party” that belongs to the defunct and disgraced former executive members are now undermining the authority of the current Chairman of the “All Peoples Congress Party”. Propaganda and Lies have been the foundation of the APC, but fortunately, the current Chairman is trying to change that narrative by focusing on the current issues within his party rather than commenting on this distraction.
    The Statehouse can treat this DISTRACTION from the social media just like the way they have treated the “Mammy Cusses” from the puppy of the former lifetime chairman for the past 4 years.
    What is important at the moment is REAL NEWS about the arrival of hundreds of road construction and agricultural equipments for the military, and the tons of rice which will be used to transform the lives of our citizens.
    Most of our citizens are excited about the recent appointments and to see the president and his beautiful wife having a well deserved vacation, hopefully he will return with another surprise “goodies” for the development of our nation.

  11. It seems you are the disingenuous one here. You SLPP guys are desperately doing everything to save the bad reputation of your corrupt and crime ridden SLPP government. This story has been out here in Freetown for the past week – long before it was published by the Sierra Leone Telegraph, yet neither the police, Kabineh Kallon, nor State House have issued a statement denying those allegations. What does that tell you. Are you not reading the papers here in Sierra Leone? Because if you are, you will see that those allegations are nothing new and irrefutable.

    Thanks to the Sierra Leone Telegraph, the whole world is seeing the Bio government for what they are – criminals. This is no different to what the Sierra Leone Telegraph did when the corrupt APC were in power. This is why I am still a lifelong reader of the Sierra Leone Telegraph, they are friends of no government. They report what needs to be reported and it is up to the government to refute the allegations in the interest of the public.

    Your lazy, corrupt and criminalised SLPP government officials are too busy here enjoying the loot while journalists are doing their work unearthing their criminal behaviour. So if you have anyone to blame for this story, please go to State House and speak with your corrupt president and his wife aka – Grace Mugabe. Lol. The sun will continue to shine!

  12. It is said that liars believe that telling the same lies repeatedly will make it true. Some lies are easy to dismiss, and this is just one of them. The writer of this article is attempting to ginger the negative action of the gullible population against the current ruling class. This is sometime akin to what philosophers refers to as hermeneutic phenomenology. By using so many unsupported claims he thinks he can paint some hardworking people in a negative way by instigating the people to think negatively of the government of President Bio.
    What this writer and his ilk need to know is that Drug trafficking is an international crime. Both Professor Kelfala Kallon and his Brother Kabineh Kallon had US residencies before they took up positions in the current government. They know what can be done to drug traffickers. The last time a drug trafficking gang in collaboration with some unscrupulous government officials used Sierra Leone as a conduit route, the intelligence, planning and their arrest was facilitated by the USA intelligence at the USA Embassy in Freetown. The culprits, Gilbril Bangura will spend the rest of his life in prison in the USA. His collaborators, the Kemoh Sesay and brother Ahmed Sesay we know what happened to them.
    So for wishful opposition thinkers to write so many innuendoes without making any effort to back it up with evidence is disingenuous to their audience. Unfortunately this is the state that we find ourselves- Pull him down syndromes (if I can borrow from the Late President Tejan Kabba).

  13. I wish that the great man we all knew and loved your father,” the late F.D. Konomanyi”, was alive today. He was a great man of truth, and diehard APC man and supporter, but I never see him lies, may his soul rests in peace.
    We all believed APC trying by all routes to sink ” Bio” SLPP gov’t comes 2023 with any price and cost, but you have to remember that; we are all here in Kono Koidu town Sefadu, what the APC did to us we the voters, would never forget it, and we are ready to punish them for a numbers of years to come.
    The late year 2015 after “Alhaji Samuel Sam Sumana” was unconstitutionally removed from office as our elected Vice President through the actions of EBK, we were expecting true patriotic men like your kind to come out and speak. But unfortunately, your half sister Ms.Diana K. was on the list of becoming Koroma’s next Vice pres. with a remote silence, but everyone witnessed the protest and the threats we promised the APC party, that’s why H.E. back-down and replaced him with a convicted felon, Victor Foh. Well, I hope that you could bring some relevant evidence to the public eyes let’s see not just allegations, as this brother, Michael Kanyako have requested. There are a lot to say, stay tune. May God protects our home land. I am right here small Sefadu. Thank you

  14. I have been reading the Sierra Leone Telegraph online news for quite awhile now only because I find it most of the time unbiased in publishing articles. But this article about drugs, contraband and dismissals is shocking to read due to the fact that the writer’s findings reference to the container is beggar’s belief to trust his story lines. I have few questions for the writer to clarify, firstly about the swapped container. Certainly you mentioned and I quote ” it had been swapped, and the actual container filled with drugs and contraband remained at the TRUST paint factory in Cline town, Freetown”. Having this first hand information prior to the opening of the container at Kingtom Police mess, why didn’t you and the press voice your point of concern about the swap prior to the opening of the container but you rather witnessed the opening of the container and afterwards came up with an untrue story lines just because what you were expecting turns out to be false.

    Secondly, you mentioned the location of the actual container and even disclosed those that emptied it. I quote “It was at the TRUST factory that the contents were emptied by the Lebanese and Ghanian smugglers. I guess you were there at the TRUST factory or if not, whosoever relayed this to you must have at least taken a photo to prove as a piece of an evidence to the public.
    We can only make Sierra Leone a better place if we say the truth and facts to our people.

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