A notorious 419er, Thomas Kono-Valley who titled himself Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of a fake and illegal affordable housing scheme, ‘Aid Salone’ operating in both Freetown and the provinces has been sentenced to four years’ jail term by the District Magistrate Court in Bo, Southern Sierra Leone. The Nigerian fraudster recently fell in the hands of the Bo Police Division and immediately charged to court where his trial, for the abundance of evidences against him took but few sittings.
Thomas Kono-Valley was arraigned on accusations of having collected millions of Leones from unsuspecting Sierra Leoneans, after which he unceremoniously shut down his OAU Drive office and relocated clandestinely to the Sierra Leone Library Board building where he evaded all contacts and later fled. Before running away, the Nigerian was using Aid Salone organization on pretence to collect Le75, 000.00 (Seventy-five thousand Leones) as cost for application form and a further Le250, 000.00 (Two hundred and fifty thousand Leones) as registration fee into the scheme. This caused tension to mount as thousands of angry victims threatened to stage demonstrations in order to gain government’s attention, a repeat of the Wealth Builders’ case.
In an interview on SLBC’s Tea Break Programme on Friday 22nd October 2010, one Moses Turay who played a pivotal role in the arrest of Thomas Kono-Valley said he used to be a staff of Thomas Kono-Valley when he was operating two other institutions named Camp Valley Micro Finance Scheme and Monima Osusu Scheme which he later learnt were fake institutions. He said when that was detected by the authorities, he closed them and later opened Aid Salone.
He said the Nigerian was first arrested within central Freetown and taken to the East end Police Division on warrant but that he was released on dubious conditions of bail and fled to Bo where he was traced by police and finally arrested and charged to court.
Commenting on the matter over the weekend, the head of police communications, ASP Ibrahim Samura said the public needed to work with the police to tackle incidences of crimes. He was very concerned with the frequent cases of fraudulent activities of late mostly involving Nigerian Nationals. ‘Since 2005, there have been over one hundred and twenty-six (126) reported cases of 419 activities in Sierra Leone, 90% perpetrated by Nigerian nationals,’ he informed.
According to the ASP, the police have received intelligent reports that most of these 419ers are aided by some top clergymen in society. ‘We will soon start inspecting licenses of these clergymen and vigorously monitor their activities,’ Samura proffered, citing a clear suspected case in Bo where one Nana Kofi Ashanti, a Ghanian who was operating with the New Harvest Ministry duped poor farmers and went into thin air.