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.
Am pleading for him to be granted a bail. Remember he is a great personality who served this nation. Yes he did a mistake but let him be released and follow up his case. Mind you what goes around comes around.
If someone doesn’t believe the truth so you better keep quiet instead of hurting the most intelligent feelings. There is no public request for the release of the former soldier Paolo Conteh, as my daily routine patrol continues. Though some people call it stupid action but in my opinion not at all, this is premeditated. Do you call this a mistake? Paolo is above the law and can carry his licensed pistol or weapon to anywhere he can right? He has to know better as a trained qualified lawyer, a former defense minister in Sierra Leone. This is something that he never did to his former boss EBK. The law has to set an example of him. I believe others are watching to see how unfold this is going to be.
The same nonsense happened to the late President Kabba, when an illiterate soldier sat in his chair at the state house. Nothing happened, showing a real weakness of the president. Are we ready for the same scenario? the answer is no. Whether he was going to overthrow the democratically elected gov’t or not, the reality is, this man has no regard for this SLPP administration. APC must accept their 2018 poll defeat or else, they will always be in worries and unrest. Let’s love our country. Long live Bio, long live S/Lone
Please the public is kindly asking for the release of Paolo conteh. Though he mistakenly entered with his licensed pistol into State House, it doesn’t mean that he carried it to overthrow the president but for his own personal protection …because he has been used to carrying it since he retired from his ministerial posts.