Sorie Ibrahim Bangura, the acting deputy security officer attached to the Freetown International Airport, last Friday testified before Magistrate Bankole Shyllon at the Freetown Court No 3 in a cocaine trial.
In that matter, Narcisse Chapon and Amadu Brima Kamara a Sierra Leonean stand accused of conspiracy to commit a felony, unlawful possession of narcotic drugs and trafficking of cocaine.
Mr Bangura told the court that as the acting deputy security officer, he was responsible for the general aviation security and safeguard against unlawful interference.
The witness told the court that he recognized both accused persons in the dock. He noted that he knew the first accused Narcisse Chapon as a clerk at the ground cargo freight and the second accused as cargo supervisor for Brussels Airlines.
The acting deputy security officer recalled May 31 when he was on duty at the airport. At about 15:00 hours, he continued, he received information from one Osman Kargbo, a senior security officer, in respect of some six leather brown and black traveling bags numerical marked from one to six that were abandoned at the helipad .
The witness continued that he instructed his aviation security officer, one Gibrilla Williams, to keep monitoring the six bags and to also keep him posted of any movements towards the bags.
Mr Bangura, who is the first witness in the trial, narrated that at about 17:00 hours he changed shift, and that Alex Alieu Koroma took over from Gibrilla Williams.
He stated further that he also asked Mr Koroma to surveillance the bags.
The witness, who was led in evidence by the acting Director of Public Prosecution (DPP) Oladipo Robin Mason, informed the court that about 30 minutes later Koroma informed him that the said bags had been tagged.
He said he told Koroma to still observe the movement of the six bags for them to gather all the elements of trafficking.
Continuing, he revealed that at about 20:00 hours he received information that two of the bags were missing. The acting deputy security officer stated that at about 20: 15, the Brussels flight 239 started boarding its passengers and cargoes. He said, “I came to the airstrip to join Osman Kargbo at the helipad which is the operational area of the airport.”
Eventually, he said he saw the first accused Narcisse Chapon with a trolley in which were four of the bags, going towards the Brussels flight.
Mr Bangura noted that he intercepted, questioned and cautioned Chapon about the said bags, but that the latter referred him to his boss, Ernest Somasa.
Chapon, the court was told, took his cell phone, called his boss and handed over the phone to the acting deputy security officer to talk to Somasa who identified himself to Bangura.
He said during their conservation in connection with the bags, he told him that it would not be possible for the bags to be loaded in the Brussels flight.
The acting deputy security officer maintained that he later instructed Osman Kargbo and other officers to take the first accused and the bags to his office.
At his office, “I informed retired Major John F Demby, the chief security officer, to call on all airport security stakeholders including the Local Unit Commander (LUC) of the Lungi Division, Office of the National Security (ONS), the National Revenue Authority (NRA), Brussels Airlines, immigration and ground handling services and they assembled within a moment at my office,” he noted.
The witness noted further that, “in my office Demby and the LUC demanded a search on the intercepted bags and Chapon. At this point Osman Kargbo made an observation that the bags were six in number and that he was only seeing four”.
Sorie Ibrahim Bangura stated that the bags were searched and in them was discovered a total of 40 compressed packets which weighed at 82kg.
The four bags, which were brought in court, were identified by the witness who also counted 39 packets of the 40 packets that he had seen in his office.
Responding to questions from lawyer Osho Williams who appeared for the accused persons during cross examination, he said he knew that the bags were taken to the Freetown International Airport through Paramount Airlines.
The two accused were refused bail and the matter comes up on Wednesday 20.