Sierra Leone’s former defence minister – Paolo Conteh appears in court on treason charges

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.

13 Comments

  1. Now I came to understand the reality, and acknowledged that no matter what, there are people who fear nothing but God, and would speak the truth even from their mothers’ necks. And I am saying my gratitude thanks to both a brother and sister to this noble forum; Mr. Kemoh and Aminata Conteh, thank you for your braveness. With all due respects, I don’t think ever if the former soldier, Major Paoplo Conteh had ever attempted to carry a loaded weapon to state house, during EBK’s term of office. It shows that the invitation was an opportunity for the former soldier to activate his crime that was planned since Bio assumed office in April 2018. Also he used this time as the whole world was busy with this coronavirus pandemic disease, so who cares to intervene if he had succeeded in his failed palace coup d’eta, may God forbids it.

    Brother I don’t know what could have happened, if Maada Bio was the one who carried a loaded weapon hidden in his bag pack to state house, when Paoplo Conteh’s former boss was in office, then bro what would you have said in the forum today? May God protects and bless Sierra Leone.

  2. When you go under someone’s skin, that person goes berserk and lose temperament. All, I would say is this – No time for distraction. Our strategy is working on all fronts on the political terrain and all the political motor cylinders are firing accordingly. God help and bless the Charismatic Retired Major Paolo Conteh and Mr. Tamba Komba.

  3. I’m Waiting…I Want to hear the arguments the defence team will be making up. How can you let yourself to be used by demons, thinking you can walk into the lions den and walk out free. Are you Daniel?

  4. But is there any african country that a former minister of security retires in peace? Even the one for Uganda is in the same dock on the same treason charges.

  5. SAHR MATTURI WROTE:
    “Is it because he is someone the world and myself admire and love more than this unpopular Administration? “Who is ‘the world’ admiring Paolo? What is your concept or understanding of ‘constitution violation’?

    • Finding desperate answers like a diamond indeed. I thought, an answer to an earlier namesake’s question has fallen from the diamond tree. But it wasn’t. Oh dear me. Asking me about constitutional violations? Ask Google, the best friend of all times Mr. Tamba Komba. Because Mr. Tamba Komba seems to be out of touch concerning my comment, I ignore his attention. Prepare your question again Mr. Tamba Komba in guidelines with my comment and ask permission for a privilege response. God help Mr. Tamba Komba recalibrate his desperate questions seeking righteous answers from me. Mr. Tamba Komba somewhere there saying “constitutional violations” for the birds to hear. God bless Mr Tamba Komba and his namesake.

    • SAHR MATTURI WROTE: “Asking me about constitutional violations? Ask Google, the best friend of all times Mr. Tamba Komba”. “I ignore his attention”If you read through my comment, it was all about questions and I am still waiting for responsible answers from responsible forumites.”

      You are joking my friend. Why not ask GOOGLE, the best friend of all. This is my point. How can a very responsible person cry foul, laments about evil and turns around to support evil. What an absurdism!!

  6. “Both parties have military backgrounds….”- Sahr Matturi

    Both enlisted into the SLA. Paolo Conteh with his uncle at the helm went to a cadet school abroad. Bio the unconnected received his training at Bengurma from some of the finest soldiers in the SLA including Colonel A. O. Kamara and major Fallsh Sees.

    At the start of the war, the Ekutay Clan that dominated the Army, the Police and State House decided to protect their own. They posted young and inexperienced officers including Bio and Strasser to represent Sierra Leone in the ECOMOG contingent in one of Africa’s bloody war in Liberia. Soon the war crossed into Sierra Leone. Bio and majority of the young officers serving ECOMOG in Liberia were recalled and sent directly to the front lines to face the RUF and NPLF rebels.

    Paolo Conteh the connected, was sent to overseas to pursue further studies. He was still abroad when the battle hardened Bio and his colleagues from the front lines drove the Momoh regime and it’s Ekutay Clan from office. So in short, both Paolo Conteh and Bio were in the army but the latter never faced off with what military men are recruited for, while Brigadier Bio faced it all.

    If you have time read the 2017 article of one retired Colonel Bashiru Conteh and you will learn why and how Bio although serving just 8 years, was promoted by the Head of State to the rank of Brigadier General. It was as a result of his prowess at the front lines and leading the file and rank.

    • Thank you very much Mr. Abu Paul Conteh for your comment. Let’s forget about the military background of both parties. That, I understand. I respect your views in that respect. What I was concerned about, was the conflicting reports coming out from the mouths of some Administration officials at the very start of this matter. More importantly, the manner in which the rule of law was implemented seemed to be suspicious. If you read through my comment, it was all about questions and I am still waiting for responsible answers from responsible forumites.

      A Treasonous Offense is a very serious matter. No doubt about that. But at the same time, people must be treated fairly. Remember that these men have not been proven guilty. In that respect, all due process must be respected. Earlier reports about Retired Major Paolo Conteh’s access to his lawyers was not clear. Someone, sometime ago, whilst entering this glorious platform, just by the textbox, asked me questions about “constitutional violations”. Can you imagine? I then told my colleague forumite to make use of Google, our best friend at all times. God bless Mr. Abu Paul Conteh for his observation.

  7. The beauty of it all is the hearings will clarify lots of information conflicted at this time.
    The Sierra Leone Telegraph reported earlier that Paolo did declare his Glock pistol at the gate. My sister Aminata Conteh is here saying Paolo did not declare it. Other news outlets are maintaining that Paolo exempted himself from searches. Let’s wait for the truth to come out.

  8. New Forumites must know the signals they send. No blood is thicker than water principles when it comes to attempting irresponsible and reckless punches. The display might been even more intense if they imagine that. A bad beginning makes a bad ending.
    Is someone sitting somewhere pretending to say to me that, blood is thicker than water or camouflaging my God given title. Glad bless Mr. Tamba Matturi.

  9. May I kindly interrupt you Ms Aminata Conteh, before you continue talking about something you have no idea about? Did I commit TREASON for asking questions? Was I making statements or asking questions? Please reply me before you get the privilege of debating further with me. God bless Ms Aminata Conteh.

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