Sierra Leone Telegraph: 30 March 2020:
Former defence minister and also internal affairs minister in the former APC government of Ernest Bai Koroma – retired major Paolo Conteh, has this afternoon appeared at the Magistrate Court in Freetown, charged with sixteen counts of treason.
Conteh was arrested on 19th March 2020, after walking into State House with his gun for a meeting with president Julius Maada Bio, apparently to discuss the country’s response to the growing threat of the coronavirus pandemic.
He is being represented in court by a coterie of lawyers, including Ady Macauley, Wara Serry-Kamal and other legal luminaries It is expected that Lawyer Joseph F. Kamara will defend Conteh should the case be committed to the High Court, which by all accounts could be the outcome of today’s magistrate court pre-trial hearing.
Conteh was brought to court alongside the head of the National Commission responsible for granting firearms licence – retired colonel Saa Sinnah and retired sergeant Amadu Koita.
According to reports, it is not clear whether Koita and Sinnah are also charged with treason or conspiracy to commit treason.
All three arrived at the magistrate court this afternoon amid tight and heavily armed security from Pademba Road Prison, where they have been held for several days without charge.
Lawyer Macaulay told the magistrate that his client – Conteh, has been placed in confinement at the Pademba Road Prison, without access to legal representatives. It is also understood that the prosecution had failed to provide the defence with the Conteh’s charge sheet.
Director of Public Prosecutions – Easmon N.B. Ngakui Esq is leading State prosecution counsel.
The case has been adjourned and Conteh was denied bail.
The Sierra Leone Telegraph will bring you more on this fast developing story as we get them.