September 25, 2020
By Mohamed M.Sesay
Recommendations in the Justice Bankole Thompson’s Commission of Inquiry in in line with government’s white paper, have yesterday confirmed the confiscation of property owned or suspected to be owned by former President Ernest Bai Koroma, including his permanent residences in his home town of Makeni and Freetown respectively.
Yesterday, the government launched the White Paper on the reports of the Commissions of Inquiry which indicted several former government officials of corruption.
President Bio’s New Direction administration has accepted the said recommendations in the White Paper and promised to promptly confiscate property situate at Spur Road, Blue Bell Drive in Freetown; property situate at Gbangba Yilla, Hill Station Freetown; property situate at No 6 and 8 Femi Turner, Goderich and property situate at Robureh Street in Makeni.
All the above mentioned properties are suspected to be owned by former President Koroma.
The report indicates that property situate at Femi Turner Drive, Goderich and Makeni should be confiscated and forfeited to the state on the grounds that they were purchased during President Koroma’s tenure of office, and that he failed to disclose them in his Assets Declaration.
It states that the said structures are worth thousands of dollars and that there has not been any explanation for such an extraordinary wealth, evidencing the incommensurability and disproportionality between the former president’s assets and that of his official emoluments.
Ascertaining his government’s position to implement the white paper to the letter, President Julius Maada Bio instructed the Office of the Attorney General and Minister of Justice to effect the recommendations of the Commissions of Inquiry in order to recover all monies recommended to be returned to the people of Sierra Leone, coupled with all assets recommended to be confiscated.
He said persons and entities affected by the recommendations are guaranteed a peaceful and transparent judicial appeals process through which they can seek relief.
He, however, cautioned and reminded Sierra Leoneans that the rule of law is supreme and that all those who may wish to incite or engage in unrest and violence in order to obstruct the process of implementing the full enforcement of the recommendations would be subjected to the full force of the law.
President Bio noted that the Anti-Corruption Commission and other law enforcement agencies are mandated to investigate issues that the Commissions of Inquiry did not have sufficient time to investigate, affirming that investigations, arrests, and prosecutions for corruption would continue as long as they are permissible in the laws of the country.
‘’Government has carefully looked at the reports of the Commissions and the recommendations. The White Paper documents and the recommendations has been has accepted by the government in the interest of the people of Sierra Leone. Unlike other Commissions, citizens are assured that this government will fully implement all recommendations. I repeat, Government will implement all recommendations to the letter,’’ he promised.