Matthew Mendy a 41-year-old Gambian national allegedly caught with a shotgun at the Freetown International Airport appeared before Magistrate Sahr Kekura at the Pademba Road Court No.1 on Friday 19th April 2024.

Mary Finda Ngawuja the aviation security supervisor attached to the Westminster section of the Freetown International Airport and second prosecution witness, testified before the court.

Ngawuja told the court that she was on duty on Monday 29th January 2024, and was doing a normal routine checkup together with her personnel at level three of their check (scanning) point when she discovered an object via a screen, which appeared to be a shotgun and immediately called on other security apparatuses as the normal procedure, and upon checking they realized the suspected luggage bore the name of the accused.

She continued that she called on the accused to conduct a physical search on his luggage, which the accused accepted. She stated that the accused was asked if he was the owner of the luggage and if he was the one who packed the luggage and the accused answered both questions with a yes and he was ordered to open it and remove every item from the luggage one at a time.

The shotgun she stated was discovered in a soldier’s boot, and was asked if he owned the shotgun he said yes but it was given to him to repair in the Gambia, which prompt them to look at his passport and discover he was a Gambian National and handed him over to the Sierra Leone Police, where she (the witness) also made a statement regarding the incident.

The witness during cross-examination by Lawyer Chernor Kamara admitted that the luggage had already gone through levels one and two of the search process before the shotgun was discovered and she was in charge of levels one, two, and three and that it was at level three she discovered something like a shotgun in the said luggage.

She also disclosed to the court that she took the luggage to the search room when the accused was not around and after which, the accused-was called upon for the physical search.

Third prosecution witness Police Corporal Fanta Fofanah also testified that on the same date she was on duty at the cargo unit of the airport when she was called upon by the Crime Officer of Freetown International Airport Police Division, Assistant Superintendent Septimus Juana Kamanda to obtain a statement from the accused. She said they obtained a statement from the accused.

She also told the court that a knife with a brown handle was also shown to her in relation to the accused, but that the accused said he was not the owner of the said knife.

The matter was adjoined to April 26th 2024 and the accused remanded at the Male Correctional Center in Freetown for further hearing.