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MOD/RSLAF Conducts Three Major Arms and Ammunition Investigations

MOD/RSLAF Conducts Three Major Arms and Ammunition Investigations

The Ministry of Defence (MoD) and the Republic of Sierra Leone Armed Forces (RSLAF) is currently investigating three major arms and ammunition matter, one (1) is a Board of Inquiry (BOI) and the other two (2)  are criminal investigations.

This was brought to the attention of the public at a jam-packed press conference held at the MOD Conference Hall on Thursday 12th July 2018.

Presenting key messages and aim of the press conference, Acting Staff Officer Grade two (2) at MOD in the Office of the Spokesman, Captain Yayah Brima maintained that in adherence to Section 8 of the Right to Access Information Act No. 2 of 2013 on matters under investigation, MoD/RSLAF cannot provide any details about the ongoing investigations until they are completed adding that they are obliged to clarify all the inaccurate and misleading versions that have been making rounds in the mass media in relation to these investigations.

On the issue of shortage of arms and ammunitions stock held by the former Joint Presidential Guard Force (JPGF), he said currently, a Board of Inquiry (BOI) headed by Brigadier General Usman Turay has been set up to for investigation.

According to Captain Yayah Brima, after the retirement of former President Ernest Bai Koroma in April this year, the Senior Management Team of MoD/RSLAF directed that all the arms and ammunition holdings of the former JPGF be back loaded to the Joint Logistic Unit (JLU).

He said during the stock checking, the current Commandant of JLU, Colonel Albert Bockarie uncovered serious shortage of the arms and ammunition and mentioned that for security reasons, MoD/RSLAF will not disclose the quantity of arms and ammunition, which the former JPGF could not account for.

Consequently, Captain Brima said the two officers who were heading the former JPGF are currently being interrogated by the BOI. The officers include Brigadier General Albert Kargbo who was the Commander and Captain Patrick Kamara who was the Officer Commanding (OC).

Captain Yayah Brima stated that in accordance with the MoD/RSLAF investigation policy, Brigadier General Kargbo has now been suspended from office while Captain Kamara has been confined.

He updated Journalists that, on Monday 18th June 2018, a large cache of ammunition which appeared to have been dumped in a cesspit sucker-way was discovered at the Presidential Lodge at Hill Station. He said the and type of the ammo included 178 rounds of 12.7 Chinese and 1,606 rounds of 14. 5mm Chinese.

He said with regards the discovered ammunition, on Friday 29th June 2018; four senior military officers were released to report to the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) to help the Police in the investigation. The senior officers are, Brigadier General Albert Kargbo (Assistant Chief of Defense Staff for Gender and Equal Opportunities), Brigadier General Ronnie Harleston (Brigade Commander of 5 Infantry Brigade), Colonel George Bangura (Commandant of Peace Mission Training Centre or PMTC) and Lieutenant Colonel Sheku Tejan Sesay (Military Plans and Operations Officer at AU Headquarters in Ethiopia. However, Captain Brima said Lieutenant Colonel Sesay is yet to report.

The presenter highlighted that MoD/RSLAF sources says on Saturday 7th July 2018, acting on a tip-off, a team of CID investigators executed a search at the residence of the former Minister of Defence, Major Retired Alfred Paolo Conteh at Wilberforce adding that during the search, the following military items were discovered and arrested two bundles of combat tents and twelve empty suspected ammunition boxes.

By Abdulai Mento Kamara

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