Former Drugs Director wins case against Inspector General of PoliceJuly 20, 2017
On Tuesday of last week, Retired Colonel Sim Turay, former Executive Director of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency won a decisive court case brought against him by the Inspector General of Police, Francis A. Munu at the Pademba Road Magistrate Court No. 2. Sim Turay had been unlawfully arrested by the Police at his Cheryl Drive flat on Wednesday 24thMay 2017 on the instruction of IG Munu and thereafter handcuffed, and later illegally locked up at the Lumley Police Station for three days.
He only had a pair of short, trousers on and a single flip flop as he was forcefully bundled into a waiting police vehicle. While there, under the filthiest of conditions, the LUC (Local Unit Commander) of Lumley Police Division, Reuben Shyllon and the Operations Officer, ASP Patrick Kamara, alias ‘Bigger’ boasted that the Inspector General IG Munu was fully aware of Retired Colonel SimTuray’s arrest and subsequent detention.
The former Executive Director who holds a Masters degree in Law, Development and Globalization, and a LLM degree in International Law and the World Economy; and a Double- Honours degree in Politics and Geography, plus a Higher Certificate in Business Studies obtained his degrees in the United Kingdom. He is a British subject and holds a UK passport. To the shock and dismay of many Sierra Leoneans, Retired Colonel Sim Turay was humiliated and shamefully degraded by the Police on the instruction of IG Munu. While in Police detention, he was initially denied visitors, even relatives or close friends, and was also not allowed to make a phone call to anyone, including his solicitor, which is his legal right.
Retired Colonel Sim Turay decided to go on hunger strike without food or water for 33 hours until Thursday evening 25thMay 2017. He explained he had never gone through such degrading and humiliating treatment in all his life, and that he was seriously traumatized as he had never before in his life been handcuffed and locked up in a police cell. However, some of his relatives, with tears in their eyes, pleaded with him to eat something, just about anything, so he could keep body and soul together. It was for their sake that he finally decided to eat a piece of chicken leg and drank a bit of water which they had brought along for him.
That same Thursday, Retired Colonel Sim Turay was charged with breaking the leg of a female police officer and maliciously wounding and assaulting two other police officers on Thursday 15th December 2016, some five-and-half months earlier. The interesting thing is that the Police decided to use the same date the alleged offences were committed by Sim Turay, which happens to be the very day ASP Patrick Kamara, alias ‘Bigger’ attempted to murder him at the JOYS Night Club and Restaurant, 5 Cheryl Drive, Juba Hill.
Retired Colonel Sim Turay was taken to the Pademba Road Magistrate Court of Friday 26th May 2017. He was again locked up in a cell until he appeared in court. However, as the presiding Magistrate was unwell, Sim Turay was refused bail and subsequently locked up in a prison cell. Later in the evening, he was transported on board a Prison truck to the Pademba Road Correctional Services, where he was ordered to change into all blue prison attire, which he did.
Around 6pm. that same evening, he was told to get changed back into his civilian attire as the Prison officials had received instructions he would be granted bail. He subsequently went back to his flat the same evening, which he realized was still unlocked as the police had refused to allow him to lock the front door. He discovered that the sum of $US24, 000 (Twenty Four Thousand Dollars) and Le50, 000,000 (Fifty Million Leones) were missing from the flat. He had also lost his wedding ring costing 650 (six hundred and fifty pounds) sterling.
It has been revealed that the former Executive Director of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency had been persistently accusing the hierarchies of both the Sierra Leone Police and the Transnational Organized Crime Unit (TOCU) over the past several years for knowingly and unlawfully violating several provisions of the National Drugs Control Act, 2008. The said Act, which is a brilliantly written piece of legislation, is the Agency’s Parliamentary mandate, but the Drug Agency has never been provided with the capacity to prosecute a single case on drug and drug-related offences in the courts of this country.
The key reason is that powerful and influential figures are involved in the country’s illegal drugs trade, especially the illicit trafficking of cocaine from South America and the illegal export of cannabis (diamba) to the Middle East, Western Europe and the United States. So the Drug Agency has deliberately not been made operational and has,as a result, become a white elephant ever since it was established by government over 14 (fourteen) years ago. Thus, the Agency found it impossible to deliver on its Parliamentary mandate. In fact, the Agency is the only drug law enforcement agency in the entire ECOWAS (Economic Community of West African States) region, and in Africa for that matter, that is not operational.
The most revealing and disgraceful thing for IG Munu is that all three police officers who were supposed to give evidence in court as prosecution witnesses in relation to the case refused to make an appearance on the two occasions the matter was called up in court. In the case of the female police officer, she flatly told the prosecuting police officer and the senior police officers who were involved in the conspiracy that her leg had never been broken by Retired Colonel Sim Turay. As a result, no one was going to get her to testify in court as a prosecution witness in the matter. She also made it quite clear that she would never get herself involved in a fabricated case against the former Executive Director. The two other police officers also took a similar position.
It is heartening to know that there are thousands of decent police officers in the Sierra Leone Police. In fact, the female police officer was so adamant she was withdrawn on the first occasion of the court hearing, and the offence of her leg being broken by Retired Colonel Sim Turay was reluctantly dropped by the prosecution. What a shame on corrupt police officers.
Retired Colonel Sim Turay is strongly convinced that his unlawful arrest and detention, and degrading and humiliating treatment in the hands of the police are definitely connected to his unequivocal stance at the time he was Executive Director of the Drug Agency against the hierarchies of both the Sierra Leone Police and TOCU for knowingly and unlawfully violating several provisions of the National Drugs Control Act, 2008, the Agency’s Parliamentary mandate with impunity. He is also certain the above incident is also connected to the attempt on his life at JOYS Night Club and Restaurant on the night of Thursday 15th December 2016 by the police. The fact of the matter is that a weak and ineffective National Drug Law Enforcement Agency meant that the Agency’s Parliamentary mandate was usurped by the Sierra Leone Police and the Transnational Organized Crime Unit (TOCU), as these institutions were knowingly and unlawfully violating several provisions of the National Drugs Control Act, 2008, with impunity as already highlighted. The Agency was simply starved of operational resources by the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development by design rather than omission, resulting in the exacerbation of the illegal drugs trade in Sierra Leone. It was this intolerable situation, which was exacerbated by a culture of impunity perpetuated by the Sierra Leone Police and the Transnational Organized Crime Unit with regard to sincerely addressing the country’s deteriorating drugs problem that Retired Colonel Sim Turay inherited when he took over as Executive Director of the Agency on 20th December 2010.
Upon his appointment, it did not take long for him to realize that the illegal drugs trade in Sierra Leone was seriously out of control and that the Sierra Leone Police and the Transnational Organized Crime Unit had over the years fully exploited the non-operational status of the Agency. It was also apparent to him that the aforesaid institutions had usurped the Parliamentary mandate of the Agency and was determined to maintain the prevailing status quo at all cost because of the massive financial reward they were getting from the illegal drugs trade. These institutions had also organized and were running an “illegal drug protection ring”, with the full cooperation of the Customs and Excise Department, the purpose of which is to protect illegal drug dealers engaged in the cocaine and cannabis trade, in particular, in return for protection money. Retired Colonel Sim Turay was fully convinced the country’s illegal drugs trade had to be addressed by government as a matter of urgency, so he made the position of the Agency known to the Ministry of Internal Affairs and the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development, appealing for sufficient government funds to make the Agency operational and for the Sierra Leone Police and the Transnational Organized Crime Unit to respect the National Drugs Control Act, 2008.
he also made the deteriorating situation and its devastating consequences known to the Parliamentary Oversight Committee on Internal Affairs and State House. These are reflected in the Agency’s yearly status reports to State House and Parliament which have been detailed and comprehensive. As the situation remained unchanged, the matter was eventually brought to the attention of the media and the general public. No doubt, his unequivocal stance has been for good measure as it serves the best interest of the state and the people of Sierra Leone. Furthermore, apart from the damaging social, economic, political and cultural ramifications associated with the country’s worsening drugs problem, there is an unwavering consensus across the political divide in a deeply polarized Sierra Leone for government to effectively address the drugs issue. This is an incontestable fact as public opinion has remained overwhelmingly in support of an operational National Drug Law Enforcement Agency ever since the seriousness of the country’s drugs problem was brought to the attention of the general public. Thus, Sierra Leoneans have condemned the corrupt role of the Sierra Leone Police and TOCU in tackling the illegal drugs trade as it has been counter-productive and has resulted to the serious escalation of the drugs problem in Sierra Leone. The fact of the matter is that the people of this country regard the approach adopted by the Sierra Leone Police and the Transnational Organised Crime Unit to tackle the country’s drugs menace as morally and ethically reprehensible. They have also found it impossible to understand why the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency has not been made operational for over 14 years of its existence in spite of the country’s worsening drugs problem. This is why it should now be recognized that the brazen violations of the National Drugs Control Act, 2008, with impunity by the aforesaid institutions have to come to an end and that the Agency should be made operational within the next two to three months. This is certainly feasible.
Moreover, the former Executive Director has reiterated time and time again that the resource problems of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency are not of the Agency’s own making and do not in any way whatsoever warrant the Sierra Leone Police and TOCU to openly and knowingly violate the National Drugs Control Act, 2008. What is fundamental here is that the will of Parliament must remain supreme at all times and must, therefore, not be fettered by the role or actions of the Sierra Leone Police and TOCU. In other words, the provisions of the said Act have legal supremacy over the agenda or unlawful acts of the aforesaid institutions, in so far as drug and drug-related matters are concerned and must, therefore, be judiciously and unquestionably respected by these institutions. Considering the above, the former Executive Director holds the view that the continued violation of a Statutory Act of Parliament by the Sierra Leone Police and TOCU is inexcusable. Besides, Sierra Leone is a constitutional democracy that is governed by the rule of law. This means that every citizen, every institution, etc., that is operating or doing business within the jurisdiction of Sierra Leone must do so within the framework of the laws of this country. The Sierra Leone Police and TOCU are no exception, they are certainly not. Additionally, the aforesaid institutions are not the solution to the country’s drugs problem but rather the problem to the solution of the drugs issue. The fact of the matter is that the former Executive Director has a Parliamentary responsibility to uphold the National Drugs Control Act, 2008, at all times and to ensure that it works in the best interest of the government and people of this country. Thus, the role and actions of the Sierra Leone Police and TOCU with regard to drug and drug-related matters within the jurisdiction of Sierra Leone must be condemned as they do not only demonstrate the total disregard and disrespect for a Statutory Act of Parliamentary but also amount to an affront to Parliament, which must not be allowed to avail. Therefore, the people of this country must now speak out on the matter as they have a legal right to do so. No doubt, the undying determination exhibited by the above institutions is seriously contributing to the continued escalation of the illegal drugs trade in Sierra Leone. The Sierra Leone Police and TOCU are, therefore, not the solution to the country’s drugs problem but rather the problem to the solution of the drugs issue. The question now is: should IG Munu still continue to hold onto his job after such a scandal? Should LUC Reuben Shyllon and ASP Patrick Kamara, alias ‘Bigger’ also continue to hold onto their jobs after such a disgraceful conduct? This is now a very serious matter for public debate because in any Western society today, these police officers would definitely be relieved of their jobs. Sierra Leone is no exception. After all, we are a civilized democracy governed by the rule of law. Besides, Retired Colonel Sim Turay is a highly respected personality in Sierra Leonean society with an impeccable track record; someone this country should be proud of and respect.
To goggle the memory of those who were old enough at the time, it was Retired Colonel Sim Turay who stood up against the NPRC military coup in 1992. If only President JS Momoh (deceased) had agreed to order him to attack State House, the NPRC coup would have been crushed. And Sim Turay lost all his properties and life savings as a result of the NPRC coup, and had to start life all over again during his 18-year stay in the United Kingdom. It was again the same Retired Colonel Sim Turay who crushed the Minah/Kaikai coup attempt when he led the attack at Waterloo Street and got Kaikai and the coup plotters arrested.
How then is the present APC government not saying a word or doing anything about increasing police brutality, especially by notorious police officers like ASP Patrick Kamara, alias ‘Bigger’ and LUC Reuben Shyllon of Lumley Police Division. These officers still have the temerity to continue behaving badly to law abiding and decent citizens and in the process seriously damaging the government’s image. I am sure the majority of the people of this country need some answers.