The ongoing saga between the Honourable Minister of Transport & Aviation, Balogun ‘Logus’ Koroma and popular radio journalist David Tam Baryoh, has been dubbed as the “7 for 7” battle. This is as a result of fact that the complaint of the minister to police, caused the journalist to be dumped into a dark, stenchy police cell for some seven hours detention.Upon his release, in returning fire, the errant journalist took to the radio airwaves to angrily babble and ramble non-stop for a period of complete seven hours. From 9pm until 4am the next morning, a barely coherent and audibly disoriented Tam-Baryoh ranted and raved at Logus and many others he perceived as being unsympathetic to his seven hours spent inside a tight police cell.
Please see below.
David Tam-Baryoh’s Statement on his Criminal Actions against Logus that dumped him in Police Cells for 7 Hours
By Dr. David Tam-Baryoh
Free Town, January 3, 2014
On January 2, 2014, at 10:00am, I got information that senior police personnel of the Criminal Investigations Department in Freetown were looking for me. Surprised that I was being ‘wanted’ for doing no wrong, I went to the CID with my assistant, Mr. Silas Gbandia. Upon arrival, Senior Police and head of the CID, Mr. Koroma said I was needed to make statement on an allegation of defamatory libel complaint brought against me by Mr. Balogun Logus Koroma, Minister for Transport and Aviation. Minister Koroma said in his statement to the police a day earlier that I had sent him a text message through his cellular phone asking whether it was true that he had told a lady friend of his that he, (the minister) was threatening to “deal” with me. In my four-hour (sixteen-page) statement to the police, I answered in the affirmative-that indeed I had sent such text to the minister with a view to clarify if the claim was true that he was angry with me for, among other things as alleged by my informant, interviewing on my radio program, too many high brow opposition politicians of the Sierra Leone People’s Party, SLPP.
I also told the police that I had said to Mr. Logus Koroma in my text message that his threat was coming at a time when some people in high places were threatening to burn down my radio station. Reading through his statement, the police posed several questions to me. For example, “Dr. Baryoh, Mr. Logus Koroma said that because he was in the camp of the vice president but now that he has moved to the President’s camp, people want to use you to tarnish his political record. What do you say to this?”
I told the police, in my statement, that I thought that the government of Sierra Leone was a UNITY and that the issue of camp did not exist. I also told the police that I never accused the minister of planning to burn down my radio station and that he may have misunderstood my text. Several portions of Mr. Balogun Logus Koroma’s statement to the police were read to me so that I can adequately respond to the allegations of defamatory libel based on the text I sent him. To the best of my knowledge and based on the truth I know about the entire issue, I responded to the questions posed to me by the police to the best of my satisfaction; explaining how he, the minister had even sent me two text messages denying that he was behind any plan to “deal” with me. After my interview at 6:00pm, the police told me that they had orders from above to confiscate my phones and detain me. I was detained until 12:56am of January 3, 2014. While being released, the police also told me that I was equally being investigated for seditious libel. The chief police officer of the CID said that I have not fully cooperated with his men during investigations but that they will call me when they need me. Police also asked me for documents which they think I have that bothers on state security. I told them I could not produce what I did not have, and that the question that I had been given sensitive state security documents by a faceless person, does not even arise.
Generally speaking, I am hurt, feels disadvantaged and unfairly treated by both the police and Minister Balogun Koroma. I have neither committed defamatory nor seditious libel against Minister Balogun Logus Koroma and the state of Sierra Leone respectively, and so should not have been detained in the first place. I deserve an apology from Minister Balogun Koroma and I advise that the police should be fair, continue to be professional in their performance, especially in dealing with journalists being reported by politicians.
May I categorically state that my detention was precipitated by Minister Balogun Logus Koroma’s unnecessary and incorrect interpretation of my genuine text of concern for my personal security, as well as the extraordinary exuberance of the Sierra Leone police to satisfy politicians; hope my case will be the last among many of such situations where people’s freedoms are haphazardly treated by the police, with careless abandon.
I take this opportunity to thank all my professional colleagues, friends, relatives, compatriots and the diplomatic community for standing by me at these trying times. The struggle for freedom and true democracy should motivate us all!!
Dr. David Tam-Baryoh, journalist.
Hon. Logus Koroma did not tell Police he moved from the VP’s Camp to President Koroma’s Camp.
A Facebook Update of Dr. Sylvia Blyden
JANUARY 3RD 2014
Contrary to claims floated on wall of lawyer Emmanuel Saffa Abdulai, I knew NOTHING about this Logus TamBaryoh matter until late in the night yesterday AFTER it had already appeared on social media.
However, in a bid to better understand the issue, I spoke to my colleague, Hon. Balogun Logus Koroma just now and we both agree that it is important his thoughts are put out which I am now doing in this update of mine. He has dismissed the claims in David Tam Baryoh's press statement issued tonight that he, (Logus) told the police that he has moved from the Vice-President's camp to the President's camp.According to Logus Koroma, there are no camps in the APC "except in the minds of the brothers, sisters and close relatives of the Honourable Vice-President, Alhaji Sam Sumana". He further explains why this is so.
Logus says when he first got the SMS text from Tam Baryoh, he was bemused and wondered at the contents which he initially found to be "totally outlandish". He said he drafted a reassuring response to Tam Baryoh by SMS text to reassure him that APC party and LOGUS could not be a party to such sinister plots against Tam Baryoh to extent of burning down his radio.
A while later, Logus said he learnt to his shock that Tam Baryoh was actually with the Vice-President in Kono alongside the Vice-President's sisters and brothers at the time Tam Baryoh drafted the SMS text and sent it to him with a copy sent to the personal mobile phone number of His Excellency President Koroma. Logus said he then recalled how last year during the APC mini-convention in Kono, he was attacked and his vehicle stoned in Kono by the VP's sisters and brothers in the presence of the Attorney General Frank Kargbo and for which, there is video evidence all handed over to the Tankoro Police station.He said on that occasion when he was physically attacked and verbally insulted by the sisters and brothers of the VP led by one FENGAI SAM-SUMANA, they told him he had betrayed their brother Hon. V.P. Alhaji Sam Sumana by supporting APC Kono executive candidates preferred by Diana Konomanyi and by extension, President Koroma over the ones preferred by the Vice-President. He said then they first made mention of him leaving VP camp for President's camp.
Therefore, Logus says when he learnt that such sinister false claims were now being texted to both him and to President Koroma by Tam Baryoh who was then with the Vice-President and the VP's siblings in Kono, he decided not to take any chances but to ask the Police CID to investigate the claims.
"These people, the VP's blood sisters and brothers and VP's henchmen are desperate and can even burn down their own radios and set fire to their abodes or even wound themselves and turn around and blame the APC so I cannot take any chances. That is why I went to the Police. Let the police investigate and if there is no truth to the assertions of Tam Baryoh against me and highly placed APC members, let the law take its course. No one is above the law," Logus said.
He said his statement to the Tankoro police station last year during the APC Kono mini-convention clearly and boldly stated what he alleges to be comments of the VP's sisters and brothers that he was a traitor by not supporting Sam Sumana candidates. This is what he told the CID that when he learnt Tam Baryoh had actually sent the text whilst with the VP in Kono, he decided to be proactive and go to the police than wait for Tam Baryoh's radio to catch fire or something untoward to happen to Tam Baryoh.
According to Logus, the Vice-President's blood sisters and brothers are very angry with him as shown when they attacked him physically last year in Kono with stones. It can be recalled that faeces (human excreta) were also used as "weapons" by perceived sympathisers of the VP in Kono during those APC mini conventions in Kono last year March/April 2013.
Logus also asked folks to analyse the SMS text sent and they would see from Tam baryoh's text that it was not a clarification being sought by Tam Baryoh as is now being claimed in his press statement but it was rather an insistence on an assertion of dubious plots or plans which have now been proven to have NO MERIT. He said the allegations were presented as direct accusations and not as questions seeking clarification.
Logus Koroma said as a Kono man, he had decided to let bygones be bygones and not follow up on the matter of the blood sisters and brothers of the Vice-president stoning him in Kono which case was now pending at Tankoro Police station for many months now but he said: "it looks like these people are determined to destroy me politically because Tam Baryoh was right there with the VP in Kono when he sent that dangerous text of lies about burning down his radio and plans to deal with him. He sent it to me and the President when he was with the VP. So I will now press for that violent attack and stoning of me last year during the APC mini convention by the Vice-President's blood brothers and sisters, to be charged to court as well. We do not have camps in the APC. It is the Vice-President's people who want to make camps in our party but we will resist it."
FOLLOWING ARE THE SMS EXCHANGE:
TAM-BARYOH TO LOGUS: Mr. Balogu Logus Koroma, i just heard from a lady friend of urs that u plan to 'deal' with me because, according to u, i am an slpp and dat i am pretending. Ur reason is dat i always interview more slpp people on my program. My brother, walls have ears. Ur threat is coming at a time that a few people in high places are mechanising plans to burn down my station. Well, i may be unassumingly helpless, but i am not without terrible info on such and many other plans. Am shocked at ur new plans against me. However, i am at liberty to trust our mutual friend, d president, 4 my security. By copy of this text he is duly informed. Thanks. Dr. Tam Baryoh.
LOGUS TO TAM-BARYOH (1st text response before he learnt Tam was in Kono with the VP and the VP's sisters and brothers):-- Brother Dave Tam Bayoh, I am surprised at your unfounded allegations . Apart from the fact that you are my Kono brother, as A.P.C. Elections Coordinator for the 2012 elections in which my President and party emerged victorious in the 1st round; you aired all my interviews from every part of the country and gave me air time on your popular programme whenever i needed it. I expect you to do the same for me in 2017/18, so why should I have anything against you.
Your information is far from the truth; in fact FALSE.Who is this lady friend who gave you such false info that you have not in your trade mark style tried to corroborate? Please continue to be professional: you are, and will remain my friend and brother. As advised by you, I have also copied my response to H.E. the President, my Boss. I will call you later today.
Logus Koroma, M.T.A.
LOGUS TO TAM-BARYOH (2nd text response AFTER he learnt Tam was in Kono with the VP and the VP's sisters and brothers when sending text):-- My brother David, as indicated in my earlier text message, I wanted to call and have a one on one meeting with you with a view to understanding where you are coming from by associating me with people you claim are planning to "burn your radio station".
However, I understand you are with the Hon. Vice President in Kono, and on your return, taking into consideration the seriousness of your allegation, I want you to corroborate it by calling forward the so called Lady friend of mine who told you that; I am sure she is alive and you can bring her name forward.
You have always been a professional journalist and I am sure you want to maintain that position; except if you have an agenda against me by making such wild allegations.
NOW, ON A TOTALLY DIFFERENT AND PERSONAL NOTE, FOR ME AS SYLVIA BLYDEN, I AM AMUSED WHEN I READ IN TAM BARYOH'S PRESS STATEMENT OF TONIGHT THAT HE WAS QUESTIONED BY CID POLICE ABOUT "STATE DOCUMENTS" BEING SURREPTITIOUSLY IN HIS POSSESSION. I LAUGH BECAUSE I RECALL TAM BARYOH'S NASTY & MALICIOUS OPEN LETTER ABOUT ME HAVING SECRETED STATE DOCUMENTS INTO MY POSSESSION FOR WHICH THE STATE SHOULD "BEWARE OF SYLVIA BLYDEN". THE IRONY IS SWEET... WHAT A WONDERFUL GOD I SERVE INDEED. Goodnight all. (January 3rd 2014)
#from Dr. Blyden’s Facebook wall.
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Newspaper in Freetown, Sierra Leone.