Former APC's Northern Region Resident Minister accused of Looting at Lungi Airport Hotel... but is that the case?
Former Resident Minister in charge of the then Northern Region under the previous All Peoples Congress (APC) led government–Mr. Ali D Kamara was exposed to an inconceivable bewilderment and sustained embarrassment in the evening hours of last Saturday while travelling to Makeni (Bombali District) from the International Airport town of Lungi (Port Loko District).
Mr. Alie D Kamara, who spoke to this reporter, said he was not only baffled on the realisation that an unusual checkpoint had been mounted along the villages close to the City of Port Loko to track him, but that largely so by the huge number of armed police personnel who barricaded the passage with their vehicles. He explained that the commercial motorbike riders and other motorists, who noticed the setting on the highway, had to divert their way even before they could be signaled to a stop.
The scenario, Mr. Kamara explained, was so horrifying that one could prefer to flee before sparing a moment to enquire what it was all about. “It is also true that the former Minister was not detained nor was he placed in custody. But he had cause to spend a good half of his evening hours at the Port Loko Police Station. He only proceeded home after a brief statement was obtained from him” explained a police officer at the Port Loko City Central Police Station.
The fact of the matter is that the current Resident Minister in charge of the newly established North/West Region unddr the current Sierra Leone Peoples Party (SLPP) led government–Madam Haja Isata Abdulai Kamara was amongst the barricaders of the Highway. She even confirmed to this reporter that the checkpoint was in fact mounted upon her request to the Police. She spoke of an intelligence given to her from Lungi that the former Resident Minister/ North –Mr. Ali D Kamara was travelling with some looted properties from the Lungi Airport Hotel including solar panels. She explained how the informant gave the description of a blue tarpaulin with which the items were covered on board an open- truck white Land Cruiser.
When the former Northern Region Resident Minister who is the predecessor to Madam Haja Isata Abdulai Kamara eventually arrived at the checkpoint, he stopped and was immediately enveloped by these armed police personnel after the vehicle was identified by Madam Haja Isata Abdulai Kamara. The Driver of the Land Cruiser was then ordered to drive to the Port Loko Police Station where the vehicle was searched upon the instructions of the Local Unit Commander and in the presence of Madam Minister.
Two blue transformers, a photocopier machine, frozen fish and chicken plus travel bags were discovered on board the said vehicle whose registration number is –AMY 234. However, Madam Minister was quick to again inform the Police on an additional tip-off she had just received from her informant, when it appeared that there was no Solar Panel on board the Vehicle. She disclosed how her predecessor made a stop at Lokomasama Chiefdom en route to Port Loko City to drop the Solar Panels to a Rev. Father.
She further stressed that the Land Cruiser is a government vehicle which the former Resident Minister / North has now converted to a private property. Madam Minister said in an interview with this reporter that it was not the first time the former Minister has looted from the Lungi International Airport Hotel. She said there was need for her to be so proactive because, the Cabinet of President Julius Maada Bio is determined to curb corruption and would therefore not allow government properties to be carted away in a criminal manner.
The former Minister who appeared to be quite calm said, he indeed left the Lungi Airport Hotel where he spent the previous night and was going to Makeni while intercepted and escorted to the Police Station in Port Loko. Mr. Ali D Kamara said he was the Manager at the Lungi Airport Hotel and has not looted a thing from it. Mr. Kamara said he had no idea of the Solar Panels that were being referred to by Madam Minister as the Hotel gets its electricity supply from EDSA (the state electricity provider) and other electricity generator machines. He however expressed dissatisfaction over the manner he has been treated by his successor -Madam Haja Isata Abdulai Kamara. He said even though he is committed to the development of peace in the country, she should be mindful of the fact that nothing is permanent in life and she would one day and some day be also referred to as a - ‘Former Minister’.
Although the Local Unit Commander at the Port Loko Police Station said it was too premature for him to comment on the matter, the Regional Crime Officer – Detective Superintendent Michael J K Lagga was kind enough to brief this reporter on the stand of things. He said brief statements were obtained from both the current and former Resident Ministers as well as one Rev. Fr. Ignaus Poddigha - a Catholic Priest at Lokomasama who is also a member of the ‘Love Bridges’ Organisation.
He said the Catholic Priest claimed to be the owner of the Transformers discovered in the Land Cruiser. He the Rev. Fr. is quoted to have said he came to Sierra Leone with 5 Transformers and decided to give 2 to the former Resident Minister. The Crime Officer said Mr. Ali D Kamara was also able to tender the Life card of the vehicle which bears the name - Augustine Samuel Turay of No. 11 Water Works Road, Makeni City.
Meanwhile the 2 Old Transformers with the inscriptions – Lokomasama Hospital and the White Land Cruiser are yet with the Police subject to further investigations. Detective Superintendent Michael J K Lagga said the matter is likely to be transferred to Headquarters of the Criminal Investigations Department in Freetown.