January 13, 2020
By Hassan Gbassay Koroma
Legal Consultant at the Office of Attorney General and Minister of Justice, Lahai Momoh Farmer, has stated that eighty five (85) Persons of Interest who have lodged appeals in the Appellate Court may be banned from holding public offices, if they lose their appeals.
He was yesterday speaking in an emergency press conference at the Ministry of Information and Communications conference hall where he updated journalists about the implementation of the Government White Paper on the Commissions of Inquiry.
He said although President Bio had stated that nobody should be banned from holding public office, but noted that Government would have no option but to ask those 85 persons of interest to pay instantly with interest and subsequently ban them from holding public offices, should they lose their appeals.
He explained that they have three main stages in the implementation of the Government white paper including the confiscation of real assets-buildings with land and land without building-according to the investigations and recommendations from the reports of the three Commissions of Inquiry.
He said they have exhausted twenty of those orders and took them to court and have been heard with fifteen rulings already delivered, adding that they were now putting those rulings in the form of order for the signature of the Master and Registrar of the High Court.
He said the second stage is to recover the misappropriated money government had ordered to be refunded to the state by persons of interest, stating that those refund orders were granted against one hundred and thirty six (136) persons of interest.
He said the Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU) and the Anti-Corruption Commission were very active to helping in the recovery of those monies by freezing of bank accounts belonging to persons of interest.
He said all the commercial banks in the country are operating under the regulations of the Bank of Sierra Leone and that if the persons of interest refuse to pay, all the monies in their account will be turned over to the government account.
He said if the money in their account is not sufficient government would go after their other property and sell them.