A group of Lokos, led by the Western Area Chief, Pa Alimamy Kargbo stormed the AYV newsroom yesterday to register their dissatisfaction over the sacking and subsequent indictment of the erstwhile Chief of Staff who according to them, is one of their trusted brothers who is held in high esteem.
At the AYV, the aggrieved Loko tribesmen asked a number of thought provoking questions which only the court has answers to. “Did Dr. Konteh connive with Alie Sumah to export large quantities of value added processed timber and in the process defraud the state in unpaid taxes? Did they forge His Excellency’s signature in the process? Has there ever been a ban on the export of value added processed timber in Sierra Leone? Have the press done justice to the process of resolving the mysteries surrounding the said case?” these were the questions asked by the Lokos.
They further argued that their brother, Dr Konteh and Alie Sumah only met when the latter requested executive clearance from His Excellency the President to export value added processed timber. The request, they disclosed, was approved by HE The President and Dr. Konteh, by virtue of his position as Chief of Staff and was asked to convey HE’s approval, which, the aegued, he did in a letter dated 11 February 2014. In that same letter, they further revealed that Dr. Konteh asked Alie Sumah to contact the Office of the President through the Chief of Staff for clearance for the export of subsequent consignment of value added processed timber. They further maintained that the approval will only be granted after consultations with the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Food Security, and the Ministry of Trade and Industry. The same letter, they disclosed, also stated in no uncertain terms that Sumah must pay all taxes and levies relating to the export. They therefore ask, “did Alie Sumah comply with the instructions?” To them, he did not and as far as they are concerned, Dr Konteh should not be blamed.
On the issue of forging the President’s signature, to them was impossible as according to them, the real issue was the forgery of Dr. Richard Konteh’s signature during the course of the said timber transaction. The million dollar question, according to the aggrieved Lokos was, why would Dr. Konteh forge his own signature?
More on this issue in our subsequent edition.