In a rather defensive and combative mood, the Minister of Transport and Aviation Kemoh Sesay has categorically told journalists at the weekly press briefing at the Ministry of Information yesterday that, Ahmed Sesay one of the suspects in the recent cocaine saga at the Freetown International Airport in Lungi is his brother, but being an adult, he should take liability for his own action and not him Kemoh Sesay.
“Infact when I got wind of his name in the saga, I immediately urged him to surrender himself to police” he stated.
This statement was as a result of high speculations and aspersion in the public domain that by virtue of the Minister’s relationship to the said suspect, he must be privy to the unfolding incident.
He said, at about 1.1: 30am on Sunday 13th 2008 he got an urgent call from Mr. John Brima the General Manager of Sierra Leone Air Port Authority, informing him about an Aircraft forcefully seeking to land but instructed him to alert all the security and operatives at the airport not to allow it at that particular hour of the day.
“I had to call Mr. Wurie the Permanent Secretary, the Director Civil Aviation George Tamba Gbongbor and the Deputy of Civil Aviation to be on their toes but later received another call from Mr. Briama that the plane was forcefully about to land and were trying to put off the light , but I told him to ground it, if it lands and must not allow it to move” he ordered.
“Unfortunately for me, my car had no fuel, but because of the importance I placed on the issue, I prevailed on Zeev the manager of UT Airlines to help with air transportation, to take me and other senior officials to the scene, that was between 3 to 4am” he said.
He stated that on their arrival they met the aircraft and he wasted no time in calling President Ernest Koroma in Gambia on the latest development but the President advised him to ground the suspicious plane until he returns.
By day break, he said, he called everyone around including journalists and camera men to get closer to the plane as the searching and off loading was about to commence openly and we were there till the President arrived.
“I suggested that the items be handed over to UN security and the President instructed one Mr. Gary to take over the items” he said.
The National Security Adviser Kellie Conteh said his office coordinates every national security issue with police and the Army and besides there is a secret security intelligence in Sierra Leone, through which they operate.
“There is a chain of intelligence security network through which we monitor any national security threat” he said.
He said, his office has the mandate to provide regular security advice to government and the President and to also analyze security intelligence before effecting any action” he stated
The Assistant Inspector General of police for crime Francis Munu said eleven foreigners with some Sierra Leoneans have already been arrested and kept at Pademba road prisons and they would be there as investigation progresses as the matter involved arms and ammunitions. He added that, at the end of the investigation many would be charged to court.
On that day he explained, 700 kilogram cocaine and 40 jelly cans were discovered onboard the plane.
The Foreign Affairs Minister Zainab Bangura said by the volume or quantity of the drugs it was not meant for Sierra Leone but had probably wanted to use Sierra Leone as a transit point.
She also stated the incident did not come as a surprise as similar happenings had taken place in Liberia Ghana and Guinea Bissau that might likely end up in Sierra Leone because of the geographical proximity.
Unlike other countries in the sub region where similar incidents may have occurred, she added the government of Sierra Leone should be applauded as the only country in the sub- region to have apprehended a plane load of cocaine together with its crews.
By Solomon Rogers