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Sierra Leone News: Court Martial …80 rounds of 12.7mm AA unaccounted for

Captain Patrick Kamara, Samuel Conteh, a Warrant Class One Officer, and Abu Bakarr Jalloh, a Warrant Class Two Officer, are currently undergoing a court martial trial at the Cockerel Military Headquarters on Wilkinson Road, before Justice Momohja Stevens and the Board Members of the Court Martial. The accused were believed to be senior officials of former President Koroma guards. Between 1 January 2008 and 19 June 2018 in Freetown, the accused were allegedly stole over 4,245 rounds of 12.7 millimeter AA rounds, 3,828 rounds of 14.4 millimeters AA rounds, 11 guns of RPG, 6 rounds of 7.62/39 millimeter gun, 14,100 round of 7.62/39 millimeter tracer bullets and 6,740 rounds of 7.62/51 millimeter. The trio are before the Court Martial to answer to five counts, ranging from Conspiracy, Larceny by Servant, Willful neglect and ordering damage to service property, willful damage of service property, to conduct that was prejudicial to the group order and military discipline contrary to the Armed Forces of the Republic of Sierra Leone Act No.34 of 1961 as amended . Testifying on Tuesday 5 February 2019, the Intelligence Officer attached at the United Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali, Captain James Abu Robin said on 6 April 2018, he was at his house when he received a directive from Major M.F. Kanneh. He said the directive was to join a team that was headed by Brigadier Kargbo to the Presidential Lodge. He added that they went to the Presidential Lodge the following day, and on their arrival Brigadier Kargbo called the first accused and handed over some keys to him. He said the accused was instructed by the Brigadier to open the ammunition room so that the visiting team could access it. He pointed out that the first accused and some military officers counted and recounted the ammunition, noting that he observed some deficit at the end of the counting. “80 rounds of AA 12.7 were not accounted for and also observed that 7.62/39 were also missing” The witness said when they noticed the shortage, Brigadier Kargbo decided to back load the ammunition to the Joint Logistic Unit (JLU), and he later wrote a report and handed over to his supervisor. Another witness, Corporal George William, attached at the Twelve Infantry Battalion in Kabala said between 2017 and 2018 he was attached to the Presidential Lodge as riffle officer. He said he was later attached to the arms and ammunition store from 2011 to 2018, assisting the Sergeant Major and that he knows the first accused Patrick Edwin Kamara as the commander of the Joint Presidential Guard Force (JPGF). The witness underscored that he used to receive arms and ammunition from personnel that are off duty and also issued to those that after going for presidential escort and routine patrol. “There were two stores on the Presidential Lodge. The first store was manned by the third accused and the second store was under the control of the former president.” The witness said he was serving as guide and also involved in the presidential escorting team. I was using Semi Machine Gun (SMG) during escort. He said the 14.5 A.A ammunition was not amongst the types of ammunition they used to issue out, but noted that the 12.7 was part of the ammunition they sometime gave out.   According to the 13 Prosecution Witness, Corporal Samuel King, he started working at the ammunition store at the Presidential Lodge on 23 December 2016, adding that the second accused was the Common Quarter Master Sergeant (CQMS) for the store, noting that the third accused replaced him. “The first accused was in charge of every item in the store, supported by the third accused.”  The witness averred that no extra officer is permitted in that store apart from those who are attached in that sector. He said they issued out 7.62/39 semi machine gun, RPG, both the bomb and tube.

MJB/5/2/19

By Mohamed J. Bah

Wednesday February 06, 2019.

 

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