Sierra Leone's ex-president fails to honour summons in graft probe

Saturday November 21 2020

Ernest Bai Koroma, Sierra Leone's former president, is wanted for questioning over corruption allegations. PHOTO | AFP


Former Sierra Leone President Ernest Bai Koroma failed to show up for the third time on Thursday for questioning over corruption allegations.

Koroma, alongside more than 100 former officials who served in his administration, is being investigation over money laundering and unexplained wealth.

He and his All People’s Congress (APC) party, the main opposition, have dismissed the allegations as a ploy to tarnish his image.

The Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) was expecting him at its headquarters in Freetown on Thursday as had been agreed with his lawyers.

But his lawyers said Koroma was concerned about his security and safety and he wanted assurance of his security before he left his northern home town of Makeni, where he has been living since he retired in 2018.

Koroma’s lead lawyer Joseph Fitzgerald Kamara also said that the former head of state decided not to travel as there had been build-up of events on social media that they suspected could lead to protests.


Kamara, a former Justice Minister in Koroma’s regime, told reporters that the former president did not want to take responsibility for what happens without proper security in place.

He said authorities had sent a letter to Koroma, warning him that he could be held responsible should anything go wrong.

However, Francis Ben Kaifala, the head of anti-graft agency, said they are considering their next step, which could include issuing a warrant of arrest for the former president.

Last October, his supporters in Makeni prevented ACC agents from taking him in for questioning. The incident heightened an already tense political atmosphere in the country.

In the run-up to Thursday, the government issued a public statement warning of drastic action against anyone who tried to prevent law enforcement agents from carrying out their work.