From Awareness Times Newspaper in Freetown

Sierra Leone Police Denounce U.S. Embassy Cable
Dec 10, 2010, 13:00

The Head of the Sierra Leone Police has denounced recent U.S. Embassy leaked secret cable alleging the President ordered the Sierra Leone Police to shield former Transport Minister Kemoh Sesay over a 2008 illegal Cocaine Plane landing in the country.

Inspector General of Police Francis Munu yesterday December 9th 2010, expressed “utter disappointment and shock” to Awareness Times over the contents of a secret United States Embassy cable leaked on the Wikileaks website which had claimed that during investigations into an 2008 illegal cocaine plane landing, the former Sierra Leone Transport Minister Kemoh Sesay had been shielded from police arrest through the direct interference of President Ernest Bai Koroma.

The US Embassy Secret Cable by Charge D’Affairs Glenn Fedzer states: “Sesay was questioned by the Sierra Leone Police (SLP) August 5, but the SLP had orders from the President to neither charge nor detain him”.

The Glenn Fedzer Cable had also gone on to state that, “the President directly ordered SLP senior officers to refrain from arresting Kemoh Sesay. Instead, he was brought in for questioning and released on August 5, with subsequent questioning expected August 6. The SLP intend to convince the President to sanction his arrest”.

Well, the newly promoted Inspector General Francis Munu was at the time, two years ago, directly in charge of Crime Services and with the then Deputy Inspector General of Police Oliver Somassa, had conducted the Police investigations of the cocaine plane alongside officials from America’s Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) and Britain’s Serious Organised Crimes Agency (SOCA).

The now discredited Cables had stated that the alleged instructions from President Koroma to the Police ran “counter to Koroma’s public and private statements which have said he will hold anyone connected to the cocaine bust accountable, regardless of their connections”.

With visible displeasure on his features, the Police Chief took his time to debunk allegations that President Koroma had never been sincere with his public utterances on the cocaine matter.

“I was at the airport when President Koroma landed from The Gambia to meet the cocaine plane which had landed a few hours prior with the occupants said to have fled into the bushes. When the President was informed that the plane’s pilot and occupants had escaped from the airport into the bushes, he was visibly angry and right there on his arrival, he told us that he wanted all the escaped occupants intercepted and arrested within 24 hours or the consequences would be fatal for the entire Police hierarchy,” I.G. Munu stated; furthering “so how can a President who gave orders to ensure that everyone involved be arrested now be accused of shielding anyone? If President Koroma wanted, he could have thrown his hands up in the air and said the cocaine plane people have all escaped and there was nothing he could do but he insisted that he wanted all of them to be arrested and we went all out to do just that”.

According to IG Munu, President Koroma ordered the Finance Ministry to “make all money available to the Sierra Leone Police to ensure we thoroughly investigated the matter.”

Moving to the specific issue of Kemoh Sesay and his brother Mohamed Sesay, the Police Boss said “we had clear evidence of the involvement of Mohamed Sesay and so we had him arrested but in the case of Kemoh Sesay, we had no evidence against him to warrant his arrest. We interviewed him extensively. We searched his house and his office and we recovered no item of evidence; this was done in collaboration with the Americans and British law officers”.

The Police Boss stated that only law enforcement officers had made the decisions as to whom should be arrested with no interference from the President.

“We had regular briefings; sometimes two or three in a day with the British and American officials. We would all sit and deliberate following which, we decided who were to be arrested. We had no orders from President Koroma to protect anyone. We worked unfettered and unhindered.”

The Inspector General of Police also expressed displeasure that President Koroma was being subjected to these innuendoes despite all the President’s efforts to give the local and international police a free hand to conduct their investigations into the cocaine plane landing.

© Copyright 2005, Freetown, Sierra Leone.