Ex-Sierra Leone president Koroma finally questioned over graft
Tuesday November 24 2020
Sierra Leone’s Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) finally questioned former President Ernest Bai Koroma on Monday over suspected involvement in corruption, after several past attempts.
The ACC said an “interview” of the former president was conducted at one of its “safe houses”. The anti-graft agency did not disclose its location.
Last week, Koroma failed to show up for questioning, citing security concerns.
Sources say Monday's meeting was made possible following the intervention of a foreign diplomat.
The ACC, in a statement, said the “interview” would continue as agreed between its agents and Koroma’s lawyers. It, however, did not disclose the date for the next meeting.
The ACC is investigating him for alleged involvement in corruption during his 10 years (2007-2018) reign as president of the West African country.
Koroma is wanted alongside more than 100 former officials who served in his administration. They were named in reports written by a Commission of Inquiry set up by his successor, President Julius Maada Bio.
Among the charges they face include embezzlement, unexplained wealth and abuse of office.
Koroma and his All People’s Congress (APC), the main opposition, have denied any wrong doing, accusing the Bio administration of seeking to tarnish his image and that of his party.
Monday’s breakthrough followed three failed attempts by the ACC to question the ex-president. In one instance in October, agents of the ACC were prevented from accessing his residence in the northern district of Makeni, where he has been living since his retirement in 2018.
Last week another attempt to get Koroma to drive to the ACC headquarters in Freetown failed. His lawyers cited security concerns.
Koroma later tweeted, reaffirming his commitment to defend his name.