As the incident of the abandonment of an aircraft carrying cocaine at the Freetown International Airport, Abdul Tejan-Cole Commissioner of the Anti Corruption Commission (ACC) has called for a stiffer and harsher custodian sentence on drug traffickers.
Launching a report on “The Vulnerabilities of the Freetown International Airport” at the Commission’s conference room on Monday, Mr Tejan-Cole said that there is need to amend the laws in the country and that there should be new laws dealing with drugs control in the country, adding that these laws have to be mandatory custodian service on drug dealers as this leads to corruption.
The commissioner stated further that there is need for proper equipment and tools for the testing of drugs as most lawyers rely on the simple phrase that it was something to be “cannabis sativa.”
Commissioner Tejan-Cole said there needs to be education to strengthen the security system in the country adding that Sierra Leone is the only country that does not have a close circuit camera placed at the airport.
Disclosing that as part of the recommendation of the report, he said there is need for the airport to have sniffer dogs and perimeter fencing for security reasons.
Speaking about the reason why the Airport was their first port of call the ACC Commissioner said it was because the “airport serves as an international gateway to the country and it exposes the country to corrupt practices and drug traffickers. There is lot of vulnerability at the airport and these include security and drug trafficking.”
He noted that there is a high increase in the volume of drugs that enters the country and there should be urgent steps to ensure that the country is not blacklisted for drug trafficking stating “we all know what that means.”
“We need to curtail the smuggling of the diamonds and the need for proper equipment, salaries as this will aid in the fight against corruption.” He maintained that “This report is not a question of pointing fingers on institutions but a call to the fight as the airport is a very important transit point to the country.”
Speaking about the report the Secretary of the Review Committee Mohamed Kroma said in their findings it was discovered that the security system at the airport is porous and there is no harmonization in the work of the security at the airport and that even those working had limitations and the lapses were overwhelming.
The Secretary revealed that according to a report in 2007, 166kg of cocaine with a profit of over $8 million was discovered at the airport and that in 2006 within the first six months a total of 122kg cocaine was discovered and this needs attention from the government as the increase is alarming.
“Most people engage in drug trafficking because they are all fighting for quick money” Mr Kroma stated.