November 10, 2020
By Isatu Nanah Bangura & Alfred Koroma
Principal Legal Consultant in the Office of the Attorney-General and Minister of Justice, Lahai Momoh Farma, has disclosed that about 58 Persons of Interest have filed in appeals against the recommendations of the Government White Paper on the Commissions of Inquiry.
He disclosed that some persons of interest have started paying monies they embezzled as directed by the white paper, but could not provide their names nor the total amount paid.
Mr. Farma commended the leadership of the Ministry of Information and Communications for widely popularizing the Government’s White Paper throughout the regions.
He stated that the white paper contains directions as to what should be done by the AG’s office, adding that the recommendations are what government responded to completely under the directives of President Julius Maada Bio.
“The White Paper contains orders that give directions, for example; payment of monies, confiscation of properties, and other assets that may not be land, shares etc,” he said.
Mr. Farma also outlined the three stages of the process of implementation, namely; implementation of directives given to the Attorney General to carry out, response to the appeals made by aggrieved persons and enforcement of the orders.
Also, Information Minister, Mohamed Rahman Swarray, emphasized the commitment of government in ensuring that the directives of the COI recommendations are fully implemented.
He assured that the names of those that have so far paid stolen monies will be made public “at the appropriate time”.
The three Commissions of Inquiry were established by Constitutional Instruments Nos. 64, 65 and 67 of 2018 to carry out thorough, independent, fair and impartial investigations into the allegations of corruption and abuse of public office by ministers and other public officials in the past administration.
The three commissions started their work in 2019 and submitted their report, which included findings and recommendations to the president in March 2020.
A total of 126 persons of interest were investigated by the Justice Biobele Commission of Inquiry with eighty-four (84) public officials, including former President Ernest Bai Koroma. Billions of Leones were found to have been misappropriated or embezzled by members of the past administration.