Has the APC abandoned Paolo Conteh – hanging him out to dry?

Sulaiman Stom Koroma: Sierra Leone Telegraph: 6 April 2020:

On the 19th March 2020, the Criminal Investigations Department of the Sierra Leone Police, started its investigation into alleged claims that the Former Defense Minister – Paolo Conteh, walked into State House with his gun, to attend a scheduled meeting with President Julius Maada Bio.

The meeting with the president was to discuss issues around the growing threat of the coronavirus pandemic, which is ravaging countries all over the world.

To date, it is not clear whether Paolo Conteh was caught with the gun, or voluntarily handed it over to the security personnel at State House.

When Paolo was invited by the President (Photo above) for his first meeting at State House to share his knowledge on the Ebola virus, it was rumoured that the APC Party warned him not to adhere to that call. But, according to family sources, Paolo had to go because firstly, it was a national call, but more importantly his love for country.

Since his detention, some APC party supporters have blamed the party hierarchy for not making any formal statement on this issue.

“He may have gone against the party instructions but that doesn’t make him guilty of the allegations, he is still a party member, he has served the APC government in many capacities including standing as a leader during the Ebola fight, for which is the reason for this predicament.

“Not saying a word on this now may imply that the party thinks he may, or is guilty. Therefore the APC should not leave this to the grass-root; even the executive must involve. They should not hang him out to dry,” a party supporter who was standing outside the courtroom during Paolo’s last appearance in court last Friday – 3rd April, said.

The writer understands that the party executives and other senior members are playing a very significant role from the backstage, considering the severity of the crime.

The court proceedings still continue with the defense insisting that the recordings of the Closed Circuit Television(CCTV) should be presented as evidence in court.

According to one of Paolo’s lawyers, they are bent on seeing the evidence of the CCTV as this will show clearly whether Paolo declared his gun before heading to the meeting, or apprehended after passing the security point at State House.

Paolo is appearing at the Magistrate Court in Freetown, charged with sixteen counts of treason. He is being represented in court by  Ady Macauley, Wara Serry-Kamal and others.

He will next appear in court on Thursday, 9th April, 2020.


  1. Ms Jane Kargbo, without any doubt, your wild accusations sound like a nightmare dressed in a daydream. The motive that propelled your thoughts to this level of inclination is the only absurdity in your surmisation.

    For some years back, the motivation behind Rtd Mayor Alfred Paolo Conteh – a law graduate, a military man for 40 years and a former Minister of Defence in the now opposition APC party – in entering State House with a loaded pistol would have been difficult to unravel; especially without the existence of modern day technology, in the form of CCTV cameras. It would have been nothing else than the testament of the Security Personnel against him – period. However, today there is hardly any place of high security that does not exhibit some form of a closed circuit television.

    With all probabilities, the presence of video surveillance in the perimeters of State House – which is 100% certainty – makes this case easier for the courts to adjudicate. It is now left to the judiciary to make this case a complex one, or not, as the case may be in present day Sierra Leone.

    The only crime that Afred Paolo Conteh may be implicated of, is whether there is a law that prohibits the carrying or possession of firearms in State House, other than those used by the security apparatus. The general public will be crying to know whether this was a case of forgetfulness on the part of Paolo Conteh, or whether it was merely a case of vengeance by the now notorious ruling SLPP government, that culminated to a classic set-up.

  2. My humble advice I have for the attorney defending Paolo Conteh is- for him to swallow his pride and plead insanity. Based on what he did, however you slide or dice it or turn it inside out , it’s just insane to take a loaded pistol to State House.
    Hopefully the judge will recommend mental evaluation and will be treated by a psychiatrist.

  3. Mr. Sahr Matturi. I hope you will enlighten me about “who was the Liaison Officer/ commander during the NPRC Junta 1 rule, that was also overseer commander in charge of all tribunal commanding affairs?”

    Unfortunately this time around, I will answer your question with a question – Is that the main reason why Former Defense Minister Paolo Conteh who was and is still responsible for the safety and security of the lifetime leader of the APC took a loaded gun to a crisis meeting with OUR current President and Commander in Chief of the Armed Force, Fountain Of Honor Retired Brigadier Dr. Maada Bio?.

    I personally believe that President Maada Bio doesn’t hold grudges and that’s the reason why he reached out to Retired Captain Valentine Strasser who was having some health problems by sending him abroad for medical treatment unlike your lifetime leader of the APC party .

    President Bio also realized that the world is on fire that is rapidly spreading towards Sierra Leone decided to implement the Krio belief that says “DORTY WATA SEF DAE OTT FIRE,” by including Ayampie Paolo Conteh on board. And now while some members and supporters of your “ALAKI PEOPLE’S CONGRESS,” APC party are accusing our president of conspiracy and political setup some are also celebrating because their presidential candidates for the 2023 presidential election are shrinking and are hoping and praying that Paolo Conteh will be convicted.

    Let’s hope and pray that Justice will be served under this new democracy our country is enjoying and with the help from the fourth estate and civil society organizations, the truth will definitely prevail.

  4. Indeed Mr Palo Conteh had made a serious mistake by taking a gun into State House to honour the invitation of President Bio. To be honest his intention does not matter here, what matters here is that he has committed a crime for which I believed he has been beating his head against the walls of Pandemba Road Correctional centre seriously for answers to such colossal mistake. However, I am looking at this issue holistically, devoid of party politics, tribe or region. The transgressor (Palo Conteh) was an Ex-military officer who rose to the position of Major.

    According to reliable sources, he is a qualified lawyer from United Kingdom where he has stayed for many years. In 2007 when Dr. Ernest Bai Koroma was elected as president, Mr. Palo Conteh was made minister of defence and subsequently minister of internal affairs. And when the deadly Ebola Pandemic struck the continent of Africa, Sierra Leone by extension, Mr. Conteh was made national Ebola coordinator.

    Base on the above facts of these key positions that Mr. Palo Conteh had respectfully served, the securities with the establishment laws and public opinion deem Mr, Conteh to be very conversant with the Sierra Leone National Laws. Many sierra Leoneans will want to see Mr. Conteh explain his actions in the court of law regardless of the gun being legally registered.

    Whiles Mr. Conteh has broken the law by taking a loaded pistol to the seat of power many senior citizens are calling for the slpp government of president Bio to temper justice with mercy on the basis that, since the end of the 2018 elections which gives victory to the SLPP of President Bio, his administration has not done enough to foster national cohesion especially to the main opposition party the APC.

    Secondly, President Bio invited Palo Conteh to State House based on his experience on the Ebola and many believe that Palo declared his pistol on his arrival at State House as against what State House security maintained that Palo was caught red-handed with the pistol. Whatever the law decides for Palo, has to take some of the issues above into consideration

  5. Even the most blind man on earth(STEVE WONDER)could tell you that this is not a mystery as you named it. This is a failed plot, and it was a revenge plan. I even blamed the sitting President Bio, why inviting Paolo Conteh, what kind of qualification he has? he made a big mistake that the whole country was suppose to regret of, I hope that he will learn from this then. Let’s say the fact, Paolo Conteh has no regards for this administration, who is this guy to feel much superior about himself, carrying a loaded pistol who knows how many rounds to the President’s invitation? the motive is cleared. The people of Sierra Leone were tired of these people. This man fought for this country(Bio)sacrificed all his life, when Strasser disagrees with him to hand over power to civilian, we all knew what happened, APC even used that against him as a betrayal. Well let me say this to you” if Bio was not braved enough to put his life in to a kangaroo line and removed Strasser” APC ever could not have tasted power in this country again. We knew each other and let’s be very careful what we say and what we do at this sensitive moments.
    The APC leadership knew what happen,( Leh wi no pill yabass e get bone)all the big fish will shown up sooner or later.

  6. Most of the opposition members are still not recognizing the government of president Bio.And this is what is getting them in to problems that will cost them their lives.Let the opposition members know that there are certain offences you committ is not between you and the president any more but you and the state.so let those that still hate president Bio be careful because God is his defence and he will beat his enemies before him as dust.

  7. SAJ MUSA. Lured to cooperate with Johnny Paul Koroma. Few months later, he was shot in the back of his head by Salifu Conteh aka Tito. It was propagated that he died from ammunition explosions at Benguema military barracks. Only none of his bodyguards died or got injured in the alleged explosion. Tom Nyuma lured by John Sisay to join the APC. Few months later he ate something and complaint of stomock pains which led to his demised. He was said to die of natural causes.
    Samuel O. Williams was lured to work with both Johnny Paul Koroma and Paulo Conteh. Few years later he was unceremoniously relieved of his duties.

    On the night he was murdered his security details were withdrawn by orders from the office of the Defense minister. The police rule his death homicide by some rogue robbers who only stole documents from his house and few valuables. The court have rejected the defense of the alleged culprit that at the time they entered the house, someone had already murdered the general.

    Csptaint V. E. M Strasser. After opposing the propose retirement package for the retired head of state, he was lured to dine with the APC hirachy. Nothing was done for him other than supplying him with strong alcohols so that he can drink himself to death. By the time the APC was voted out of power the guy was diabetic and his previously wounded leg was cancerous to the extend that it had to be amputated to safe his life.

    Bio, in s 2012 campaign trail in Bo, trained marksmen threw missiles at him as he drove in an open roof car. But for God’s Grace, he was targeted for killings. During the 2018 campaign period, Paolo Conteh in the presence of President Koroma and other top Binkolo and Kamakee APC personnel threatened Bio. He was appluded. Few weeks later Bio’s convoy was attacked on kissy road by police and military officers led by Al Shek Kamara for using a road allegedly cleared for the president who was in Makeni.

    In 2018, shortly after Bio came to power, in a town hall meeting in London attended by Cherinoh Bah the APC opposition leader in parliament, one Lsmin Conteh while on video let the cat out of the bag by asking when was it the plan Dãte for taking the president out. While innocent members in the audience were appluading his utterance, senior APC members at the meeting including Hon Cherinoh Bah who were privy to the plan did not say a word. Intelligence from among the attendees later informed the government that Lamin Conteh was castigated for putting the Bio regime on the guard.

    Is it a surprise if Paolo Conteh saw a security lapse at state House during his first visit and decided to take his chance during the second visit hoping his moles within the security details at State House would help him accomplished his mission to eliminate the one surviving member of the NPRC still going strong?

    • Thank you very much Jane Kargbo, you can’t believe it when I was reading your articles, tears was running down my cheek incredible indeed. This is serious I repeat it’s serious indeed. The way you prepared your comment was well understandable and easy to read. Today, I came to have knowledge about some of the fact you narrated I never knew, thanks may God protect our country. Mr. Paolo Conteh sets up a trap for himself, indeed his first visit was cleared to him about the security over lap in the state house. We will see what happen then. This is too much for me. Thank you.

    • Thank you very much Ms Jane Kargbo, for telling me your unfortunate story without juice, on behalf of the NPRC Junta Part one and two commandants. Your unfortunate story, seems to be one, that was taken out of the archives of the Liaison Commandant from Cloud Cuckoo Land in my view. Nice. My question for you Ms. Jane Kargbo is this – Do you admire Junta regimes, “commandeers”, illegal squatters of people’s homes and properties, the return to the dark ages of their country’s history, the looting of their economies without mercy and suspension of their constitutions to pursue their illegal activities? Do you believe in the law of the Jungle and sending people to the gallows by framing evidence? Do you really believe in democracy and the rule of law?

      Please reply to my questions before I invite you for a debate on your unfortunate story without meat on the bone and more importantly, digesting it piece by piece for the world to know the facts and not the fakes. Hear Ms Jane Kargbo, somewhere in the universe, telling me about an unfortunate story whilst at the same time, trying to convince me to accept the only NPRC Junta part one and two orphan. God help Ms Jane Kargbo with her poetic story telling.

    • Jane Kargbo, now I come to understand that you are not a nonsense person, and I believe that you don’t just talk because you want to, but you talk when you have to. There are some Sierra Leoneans that never love this country; you can even assess it by their actions and behaviors. Also some of them are hypocrites, not even supporting one candidate. I can personally call them a white man pigeon, They always lean to the sweet side.

      Again thank you very much for your well educative article that let us know, what we knew not. There will be no more one party dictatorship in this country. APC is very mad for two things: a) because NPRC kicked them out and eliminated one party state (b) SLPP led by Bio voted them out constitutionally with the voice of the people. Up to date, APC has no real candidate because of the chairman for life still holding that position! May God continue to bless this country. Jane Kargbo thank you.

  8. I personally believe that WORDS ARE POWERFUL especially when you are in a position of power. Some of the statements made by the lifetime chairman of the APC party, the former presidential candidate of the APC after the 2018 election and the statement made by Paolo Conteh when he was the minister of defense about defending his tribesmen rather than the people of Sierra Leone in the presence of the lifetime chairman who even gave him a round of applause instead of cautioning him. These words from the leadership and powerful members of the APC party during good and bad times have created suspicion and paranoia between the APC and SLPP members and supporters .

    In my opinion I believe that Paolo Conteh is in a state of PARANOIA and that’s the reason why he was moving around with a loaded pistol, – but the reality is the NPRC government under the leadership of Captain Valentine Strasser staged a bloodless coup against his late uncle President Joseph Saidu Momoh who recruited him (Paolo Conteh) as a cadet officer in the military who later died naturally while in exile in neighboring Guinea; and his other uncle (Bambay Kamara) and others faced a military tribunal and were found guilty just like late Vice President Minah and others were found guilty by a one party dictatorship Court.

    Finally, I believe that the Almighty will judge us by our intentions; so the people of Sierra Leone have to believe in the system that is in place and allow the process to work, and let’s hope and pray that justice will prevail during this difficult time. My only advice for the leadership of the APC which is the strongest opposition party in the country is “Always choose your words carefully“ because Krio always say “WORD NOR DAE ROTTEN”.

    • Mr. Alusine Fallay. You told me about the “one party dictatorship court”, but what you did not tell me was this – who was the Liaison officer/commander during the NPRC Junta phase 1 rule, that was also the overseer commander in charge of all tribunal commanding affairs? Will you please tell me who that person was and what was his role in that NPRC JUNTA phase 1 Tribunal? Frankly speaking, I keep struggling to know who that person was. A reply is needed as soon as possible. God bless Mr Alusine Fallay and Mr. Saidu Conteh. Remember this, the rising sun will rise again says Mr. Saidu Conteh, the great.

  9. As the case progresses we should all find out about what actually happened at State House – the mysteries are just too many. The centre of the mystery why did Paolo Conteh feel the urge to take a loaded gun along with him to honour an invitation by the President to discuss a looming crisis? His team of defense lawyers are our only hope to unravel some of the mysteries in their close questioning of prosecution witnesses.

    There is not much the APC executive can do right now openly or behind the scenes other than to help Paolo with his legal costs. We cannot discount the real possibility that the deafening silence of the APC hierarchy borne by anger at Paolo Conteh for associating himself with the Bio government that is out to pulverise them.

    Another possibility is that in his time Paolo had stepped on many toes within the APC party as he went from one senior position to the other in the Koroma government. During the Ebola outbreak he headed the task force to contain it. We all know what became of the funds which came from all over the world to help us. Some in the APC must know how Paolo did not forget himself in allowing the funds to disappear without them taking a look in. But clever Paolo knew how to cover his tracks which made it impossible for the Commissions of Inquiry to nail him.

    Knowing the current activism of Sierra Leoneans all the elements in the APC perceived silence will become public knowledge soon enough.

  10. Paolo made a mistake in the first place and that must be accepted. The life of an elected president any where in the world is most paramount. Here is the other side of the story, he was not at state house on his choosing but at the behest of the president which is why the government must be cautious in handling this affair. They might be needing other opposition members in future for national duty(ies). It remains a dicey situation but let us wait and see how things unfold in the courts.

  11. I believe the former soldier Paolo Conteh wasn’t acting alone, but time will tell. Who so ever wants to defend Paolo go ahead and do so. As mentioned by some comments here, APC leaders were not in place or another words, not in favor for him to adhere the President’s call.

  12. What does the constitution say about the possession of firearms on state property? Politics can be a nasty game in Africa. I pray Sierra Leone is ready to stand differently. The court system should allow the recordings of state CCTV as evidence, I hope the recording remains undeleted or unchanged as evidence in his defense. 

  13. This writer is just making things up! The man never had in mind that he was going there because of his love for the country, either because it was a national calls to once again serve his country. Please stop foolish the people. The man went there simply because he had a hiding agenda, period! For me I didn’t see any needs to invite him to share knowledge, because I don’t think he handed the Ebola issue very well.

  14. A gun-toting thug that attempts to evade security at the seat of national power for the purpose of gunning down the head of state must be abandoned and left to hang out dry. Ernest Koroma, Osman Yansaneh, Minkailu Mansaray, Samura Kamara and Chernor Bah may all be corrupt but there is no evidence that they would ever support the reckless inducement of large-scale violence in Sierra Leone. Had Paolo Conteh shot the president, the retaliatory blow from the State could have pulverized the entire APC establishment.

    Koroma, the chairman for life, of the gradually disintegrating APC has said on many occasions that his party was committed to peace in Sierra Leone. Would it then be possible that elements like the deranged Conteh may have been opposed to the position of the ex-president and decided to show how tough he was by taking a knife to a gun fight? Conteh’s move had suicide written all over it because the barrage of gun fire that could have followed his poorly thought-out and stupid action, if executed, could have blown him away in pieces.

    Indeed, APC must renounce violence. And there is no better time to demonstrate this than now. APC leaders must come out in full force in denouncing the thuggish Conteh. They should also pledge their loyalty to the State and verbalize in no uncertain terms that Paolo Conteh acted alone.

  15. Paolo Conteh is facing this predicament because he took a loaded gun to State House. Whether he surrendered the gun willing or not is not the case at issue here. However, it might help lower the gravity of his sentence if it is proven that he handed over the gun willing, which appears to be the only defense left open to his Attorneys. As far as the claim that the party hierarchy is willing to hang him to dry, that might not be the case.

    If Paolo’s intention was to cause grievous harm to the President, it goes without saying that he may have colluded with certain individuals in high ranking positions in the APC Party. So, it might be prudent for their Chairman and other executives to sit tight and see how the wind blows. Mounting a vociferous objections to his arrest and detention may draw attention to them.

    And as long as Paolo keeps his mouth shut, like the true communist party member he is, no one will get the wiser.
    But I Suspect we are going to be exposed to serious court drama when Paolo realizes that it will be a long time for him to see freedom when they throw the book at him; that will be the time to decide whether to spill the beans or die alone for the APC party.

  16. Please take a look at your publication of 24th March 2020 when Parlo was arrested and what he said during your interrogation.’This was what he said according to you. ‘Conteh has not denied carrying his gun into State House. Speaking to a source immediately after his arrest, he said that he always carry his licenced pistol whenever he leaves his house. And that he forgot to leave the gun at home when going for his meeting with the president.

    He also said that upon his arrival at State House, he declared to the security personnel that he was carrying a gun in his bag which he wanted to hand over to the security. He said however, that the security advised him to go upstairs to his meeting with the president with his bag containing the gun. And upon arrival upstairs for his meeting, he was questioned by the head of State House security, who then alerted the police for his arrest for carrying a weapon into State House


    The conviction of the Former Defense Minister, Paolo Conteh since March last month, has called for concern. This has even led to a public debate, which at some point make Sierra Leoneans lose focus on the fight against the world deadliest virus,on asking “why Paolo?

    Depends on who you talk to; this could be either SLPP fans or APC followers, who held diverse views and opinions on his (Paolo) action. Some will tell you he had a genuine intention and that he responded to the president’s call. While others will tell you he is malcontent and didn’t heed to advice given by his party (APC).

    In a patriotic point of view, taking up national call, especially in this battle against CONVID-19, Paolo should be given a prerogative of mercy. We should note that there is no straight jacket approach in handling a pandemic like CONVID-19. He must have been out of his reasoning tank and forgetfully entered the State House with an alleged gun,if some views are true.

    In all of this, His Excellency Pres.Bio has the power to dismiss all expressed opinions, just by a single statement. Pres.Bio is the Chief Justice, Fountain Of Hon. Supreme Head of State… With all these entitlements, he can pardon his fellow comrade in a minute.

    Be it the functionality or disfunctionality of the CCTV for a proven evidence in court, let us believe that we are learning humans, and that mistakes are bound to happen.


    • Why does a student goes into the examination hall with a spy paper? Because he is naively stupid. It’s better for a farmer to go to his farm and forget his cutlass than a former defence (Minister)? Heading for a meeting at and with the Head of State with a Gun. If this proves to be true? It’s not done Man! He ought to know better, ignorance of the law is no excuse. The President has enough fire power wherever he is. If it was me the President invited I would have been over the moon and feel safe because I haven’t done anything wrong neither to hide.

    • My brother some mistakes are silly mistakes, so Paolo Conteh must pay for his silly mistake if ever it was a mistake or he comes out clearly with list of those involved in the plot.

    • I don’t think anyone assumes him as a Guinean; has anyone? The man is a traitor – that’s fact. He must provide list of names. As time goes on the banga seeds will exit the shell.

  18. The CCTV evidence will be crucial in determining whether he left his bag at the reception or not. I supported Retired Major Paolo Conteh’s acceptance to the President’s call. But, did Retired Major Paolo Conteh defied his party’s advice to answer to that call? To be honest, I was thinking all along that, the APC party was informed and they gave their blessings?

    Let’s wait for the CCTV evidence. Thanks Mr. Sulaiman Koroma for your brilliant article digesting some pending and serious questions surrounding this strange case against the Retired Major Paolo Conteh. God bless Mr. Sulaiman Koroma.

  19. The question that many of us would like you the politically dubbed and one sided journalists to answer is this. If you are really looking at things squarely from both ends and not just where you are dubbed. Think about these questions: 1. Did Parlo ever take his gun to state house during his first meeting? 2. If he did not, why should he dare do it during the second meeting? 3. If he had it during the first meeting, did he hand it over to the security before he went for the meeting? 4. During his time as Defense Minister, did he ever take such gun to the State House when Ernest was in power or take such guns to meetings called by Ernest at State House?

    The question is not about CCTV camera, it is about carrying a loaded gun to the premise of the State House which is against our Arms and ammunition Act. The way some journalists present issues, one can easily deduce their positions and the angle they are coming from and their political connections. The law should take it rightful position as it has done with many precious souls in the past with reference to treasonable offences.

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