Sierra Leone: Palo Conteh's Pistol Sagadeputy Head At Small Arms Detained

Deputy Head of the Sierra Leone National Commission on Small Arms (SLeNCSA) and Light Weapons, retired Colonel Saa Anthony Sinah,yesterday spent his night in detention at the headquarters of the Criminal Investigations Department in relation to the ongoing investigation of former Defense Minister, Retired Major Palo Conteh, who entered the premises of State House with a pistol.

Police sources say he was invited and detained for conspiracy, because he allegedly failed to follow due process in granting license to Palo Conteh for the firearm he took to State House.

Meanwhile, Head of the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) disclosed in an exclusive interview with Concord Time that the former Defense Minister, Rtd, Major Palo Conteh, indeed possessed an up- to-date license for the small arm he took to State House last week, but could not explain more about the reason the former military personnel took the said weapon to the seat of power.

Joseph K. Alpha said head of the Small Arms Commission, Brigadier Tamba Alieu, was earlier invited to explain more about the said weapon.

"The head of small arms commission provided documents to prove that Mr. Conteh had a new registration which was done in March, this year, but I cannot tell if it is possible for somebody to take such weapon to State House," he said.

Palo Conteh was recently arrested after he entered with a pistol at State House during his invite to meet with President Maada Bio, the chief minister and other state officials, as part of preparedness for the fight against the dreaded Coronavirus.

The National Commission on Small Arms and Light Weapons was established by an Act of Parliament and it is responsible to regulate, license, transfer, manufacture, sale, possession and use of small arms and light weapons throughout Sierra Leone.

The registrar of the commission should take all necessary measures to ensure the safe and effective management, storage and security of all stocks of small arms and light weapons throughout Sierra Leone and shall ensure that stockpiles of small arms and light weapons by manufacturers, dealers as well as individuals are securely stored in accordance with prescribed standards and procedures.

However, Palo Conteh had earlier stated that he declared the said pistol to the police at State House, who allowed him to enter with it, despite him insisting that the weapon be left at the check point.

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