By Mohamed Kai
First Prosecution Witness (PW-1) in the Treason Trial of Rtd. Major Alfred Palo Conteh and two others, Detective Superintendent Mohamed Krugba Allieu has commenced testimony before Hon. Justice Alhaji Momoh Jah Stevens presiding over the High Court No.1 at Siaka Stevens Street in Freetown.
In his testimony, Detective Superintendent Mohamed Krugba Allieu informed the court that he recognized the first accused person, Rtd. Major Alfred Palo Conteh as the former Minister of Defense in the Republic of Sierra Leone.
The witness recalled the incident of Thursday 19th March 2020 and that on the day in question he was on duty at the Criminal Investigations Department at Pademba Road, when the Head of CID, Chief Superintendent of Police John Kenneth Alpha instructed him to form a team of investigators to accompany him to State House.
According to Detective Superintendent Mohamed Allieu, himself, the Head of CID, Police Inspector Aminata Kamara and Police Constable Aruna Sesay then went to State House.
He further informed the court that on their arrival at State House, they were ushered in by the Director of the Presidential Guard at State House, Lt. Col. M.M. Kposowa into one of the waiting rooms on the third floor at State House building, where the first accused person, Rtd. Major Alfred Palo Conteh was seated in the presence of Brigadier Taluva.
He went on to say that Lt. Col. M.M. Kposowa then briefed them by pronouncing that Rtd. Major Alfred Palo Conteh was in possession of a loaded pistol placed in his brown bag, and that they should investigate him.
He continued to say that a Block 17 Pistol with a single magazine containing ten live rounds ammunition, which was retrieved from Rtd. Major Alfred Palo Conteh was handed over to them by Lt. Col. M.M. Kposowa, adding that they also observed that the said brown bag where the said pistol was placed, contained a fire arms license bearing the name and photograph of the Rtd. Major Alfred Palo Conteh.
Detective Superintendent Mohamed Allieu also intimated the court that he then counted the ammunition one after the other in the presence of Lt. Col. M.M. Kposowa and Rtd. Major Alfred Palo Conteh who confirmed that the said Block 17 Pistol was his property.
He narrated that the first accused told the police that he was ready to make statement to the police, and was not denying ownership of the said pistol.
He intimated that on the same day, himself and Detective Inspector Aminata Kamara obtained contemporaneous interview statement from Rtd. Alfred Major Palo Conteh, which was produced and tendered in evidence.
He further narrated that he then accused the first accused person of being found in possession of a fire arm in a prohibited area, especially at State House.
The witness went further to tender in evidence two of Rtd. Major Palo’s statements to the police, and at this stage of the proceeding, Counsel for first accused person, Dr. Abdulai O. Conteh raised concern about the need for the accused person to be served lunch, and that they should not be handcuffed as required by any civilized nation, while they are being led into the dock.
Counsels for the second and third accused persons, Rtd. Col. Saa Anthony Sinnah and Prince George Hughes also raised issues relating to his clients’ medical conditions, and the need for them to have unfettered access to them.
In light of the submissions raised by Counsels for the three accused persons, the adjudicating Judge, Hon. Justice Alhaji Momom Jah Stevens gave directives to authorities at the Correctional Service to ensure that the three accused persons are served lunch at any court proceeding and their doctors accorded unfettered access to their clients.
The matter was adjourned to today Wednesday 27th May, 2020.