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Cablegate: Sierra Leone: Icao Assembly Demarches Delivered

VZCZCXRO3702
PP RUEHMA RUEHPA
DE RUEHFN #0424 1971438
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 161438Z JUL 07
FM AMEMBASSY FREETOWN
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 1202
INFO RUEHZK/ECOWAS COLLECTIVE
RUEHMT/AMCONSUL MONTREAL 0003
RHEFHLC/DEPT OF HOMELAND SECURITY WASHDC
RHMFIUU/TSA HQ WASHINGTON DC

UNCLAS FREETOWN 000424

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

DEPT FOR AF/W, IO/T, EB/TRA
AMCONSUL MONTREAL FOR US MISSION TO ICAO
FAA NATIONAL HEADQUARTERS WASHINGTON DC FOR JIM FILIPPATOS
AND DI REIMOLD
TSA HEADQUARTERS WASHINGTON DC FOR JILLENE MACCREERY

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PREL EAIR ECON ETRD SL
SUBJECT: SIERRA LEONE: ICAO ASSEMBLY DEMARCHES DELIVERED

REF: A) STATE 77572 B) STATE 83246 C) FREETOWN 355

1. On July 2, PolOff met with Mohamed Bangura, Acting
Director for the Sierra Leone Civil Aviation Authority, to
deliver Reftels A and B demarches soliciting support for USG
positions at the September ICAO General Assemby in Montreal.
Bangura said he would take the points under consideration and
share with the appropriate officials in his office and the
Ministry of Transportation and Communications.

2. The Ministry of Transportation and Communications and the
Civil Aviation Authority recently underwent a personnel
shakeup following the June 15 arrests of the Minister and the
Permanent Secretary of Transportation and Communications, as
well as the Director and the Deputy Director of Civil
Aviation. The Minister of Transportation andCommunications
subsequently resigned from office on June 20. All four
individuals were arrested as part of the ongoing
investigation into the June 3 crash of a helicopter operated
by Paramount Airlines that killed 23 people (Reftel C). It is
alleged the four officials took bribes to reinstate Paramount
Airlines' helicopter services following its January grounding
after two near crashes. Bangura said the Government has hired
an independent consultant to investigate the crash. All four
officials have been released on bail. The Government has
grounded all helicopter services indefinitely.
HULL

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