Ali Nalenkeh, the second prosecution witness in the ongoing matter of the forceful landing of an aircraft at the Freetown international airport, told the magistrate court yesterday that he was on duty as aviation security when three “white men”, in the company of the Air Traffic Controller Ibrahim Mohamed Manley, met him at his office. He said they told him about an aircraft they were expecting to land at the airport. Manley is wanted by the police for an alleged “… conspiracy to traffic cocaine into Sierra Leone”
Led in evidence by Senior State Counsel, Gerald Soyie, Mr Nalenkeh said that on the 12 July this year he got a call from the airport’s Control Tower. “When I got the call, I then called one of my superior officers, Alfred Davies and passed on the information”. He said that at around 2: 30 AM on the following day three white men appeared to him in his office whom he intercepted, asking what their mission was.
The white men and Mr Manley, the witness continued, informed him that they were expecting an Antonov flight.
Mr Nalenkeh said that when the white men and Manley returned they had been joined by three other “Black people”. He said one of the white men had a radio handset with him.
He said that when the plane arrived he informed Control Tower about it, who told him the plan had no landing permit. Consequently, he informed the police and the ONS about it.
When the plan landed, the witness said, the white man with the radio handset handed two bundles of foreign currencies to one of the black men, whom he could not identify in court., However, he was able top identify the 8th accused person, Alex Romeo as one of the white men that were at the airport waiting on the aircraft. He said, after 15 minutes later, Ibrahim Manley came to enquire whether the plan had landed, but that Manley and the other white men left the airport for an unknown destination. Earlier, the first prosecution witness, George Tamba Gbongbor was also cross-examined by defence counsel Roland Wright representing 10th accused Mohamed Sesay. Among other things, he wanted to establish whether the first witness could present a copy of a tape recording of the conversation between the aircraft’s crew and the Control Tower if requested to do so. The matter was adjourned to 8 August. The accused persons, 8 foreigners and five Sierra Leoneans are standing trail on an eight-count charge ranging from the unlawful landing of an aircraft, to conspiracy to defeat the course of justice By John Baimba Sesay