Government of Sierra Leone moves to confiscate properties of former government minsters

Sierra Leone Telegraph: 31 July 2021:

Since the publication of the Commission of Inquiry (COI) reports into corruption and mismanagement of public assets by former APC government ministers and officials, and the ensuing Court hearings, questions have been asked about whether the government of president Bio is serious about ensuring that those found wanting for corruption will pay restitution.

Yesterday, the office of the Attorney General published a notice to inform the public that the properties of some high-profile former ministers will now be confiscated.

This is what the notice says:

“COI WHITE PAPER IMPLEMENTATING TEAM ISSUES NOTICE OF CONFISCATION/FORFEITURE

“The Implementing Team of the Commission of Inquiry White Paper has on Wednesday 28th July 2021 started with the issuing of Notice of Confiscation/Forfeiture, pursuant to an Order of the Government White Paper as endorsed by the Honorable Justice Simeon Alieu, published in the Sierra Leone Gazette Extraordinary No. 26 Vol. CXLXII dated Monday 24th May, 2021, on the reports of Sole Commissioner/Justice Bankole Thompson.

“These properties which are confiscated and vested in the State, six of them are in the Western Area, two in Makeni, Bombali District, North-Eastern Province and one in Koidu, New Sembehun City, Kono District, in the Eastern Province and are belongings to Leonard Balogun Koroma, Momoh Conteh, Abdul Ignosis Koroma, Dr Minkailu Bah and Hilal Toufic Kange.

“According to the notice, any person who is in possession of or in occupation of this premises is required on or before the expiration of fourteen days as of the date of these notices, to vacate the premises and hand over keys to the Office of the Attorney-General and Minister of Justice, or the Inspector General of Police.”

But critics are reminding the government of its promise to confiscate the assets of over 30 former government ministers and officials, though the list of those names have not been published.

6 Comments

  1. With all things being equal, it can be emphatically stated that, 99% of Sierra Leoneans are for the eradication of corruption in our nation. In light of this, majority with the exceptions of a few, who certainly benefit from ill-gotten wealth, will love to see those who have acquired wealth illegally through the political realm and other areas be held accountable with all aspect of the law implemented—confiscation of stolen properties, bank accounts, offshores accounts, and possible imprisonment. Such a non-compromising, nationalistic stance and policy, emanating from our policy makers, will certainly and wholeheartedly be embrace by virtually every Sierra Leoneans from all works of lives and political shades.

    On the contrary, majority of Sierra Leoneans, who have their country at heart, and love to see a peaceful and flourishing nation, will certainly never embrace half-baked policies, design to use as tools in a given time to target only a select group of citizens, while other law breakers are allow to flourish right in the open. Being cozy to such sham policies, with a the tendency to unleash a cycle of political witch-hunting and destabilization, is tantamount to undermining the very interest of the country you claimed to be seeking.
    With our past records of political instability, along with a civil war that nearly shattered our beloved nation, we as a nation MUST demand and yearn for policies that are design to foster political stability, equal justice under the law, and non biased fight against corruption.

    Make no mistake, a tense political climate comprise of our two major political parties in a vicious of cycle of witch hunting and retribution, is never in the interest of our nation. It’s in fact against everything that defines patriotism. As for the trailing of records and other offshore accounts of corrupts officials, let’s just say if the United States of America and other powerful nations on earth are unable to trace and retrieve such dubious schemes by their citizens, what makes you think a nation at the bottom of the human development index, incapable to even investigate and brought to book a common criminal caught on video tape committing a crime, will ever achieve such a herculean task. Naivety my friends!!

  2. It’s hard to follow the train of thought of some members of this forum because of their contradictory nature. One should be either for punishing thieves of the nation’s resources or let them go. If the latter is the case then our nation will never progress. Politics is a filthy game full of political prostitutes, hypocrites and creeps. This should be accepted, but it has consequences, one of which is that there will come a time when the prostitutes completely lose their value with the relentless passage of time; they suddenly find out that nobody wants them anymore even for the lowest price ; those features which once made them attractive have lost their lustre. The cruelty of time is all they now see, not their actions that brought them to grief.

    There’s always a paper trail somewhere for those who believe that they can avoid detection in their corrupt practices by taking their loot out of the country. A serious audit report, for example, should reveal why the balance sheet won’t balance because a grant or loan of millions of dollars or billions of Leones remains at large. Somebody somewhere will have some explaining to do.

    Something may remain hidden for as long as one has the power and ability to sit on it, but once that power or ability is lost, one is at the mercy of new forces which can be pitiless and perpetually destructive . I still believe that if the Bio government confiscates ill-gotten property from former APC ministers and others, a revolution is in the works. Some may escape its ravages for one reason or the other, but on the whole the casualties will set the stage for a new Sierra Leone. The Cold War between SLPP and APC is over. Direct confrontation is now unavoidable.

  3. In contrast to other views, i absolutely see no effectiveness or impact in the fight against corruption, if the best we can do as nation is to wait for the setting up of Commission of Inquiry by successive regimes hereafter, to investigate the plundering, exploitation, and massive looting by government officials, 5 or 10yrs later. With all sincerity, such notions defines the very reason why our nation will remain impoverish and might never caught up with our regional partners in terms of development. Worst of it all is to have citizens who many will consider educated falling for such ploys, with the hallmark of the highest deception, whose only success is to create an environment of unending political witch-hunts, undermining our long sought peace and national cohesion.

    The message here is clear, as a politician, you have a free pass to loot national coffers, live whatever extravagant lifestyle you ever dream of, with absolutely nothing to worry about, except of course if your political party looses power. Even with that, you may or may not be held accountable if you choose to toe the line of Alpha Khan and other former highly corrupt officials of the APC, who earlier on decides to switch tents to the ruling government for full protection. As we speak, massive looting by government officials is taking place and continues to be the order of the day.

    With this confiscation order, if indeed implement, let’s get ready for a national infrastructural drain by corrupt officials. There can be several options here. Loot and invest in foreign lands like the first lady and husband are allege to have been investing in the Gambia and Ghana, or acquire properties with family members and other relatives assign to them. Either way, we achieve nothing. Absolutely nothing in the fight against corruption. So until we have a government that is willing to deal with both present and past corrupt practices, with suspected corrupt officials drag into court and the annual audit report recommendations actually implemented, spear me the propagandist rhetoric of the fight against corruption by this PAOPA regime.

  4. This is an interesting development, but surprisingly enough no surprises at all . This we were promised will happen at the dying days of 2020 . Back then, the headline grabbing news, put out by the Bio government for former APC officials accused of enriching themselves at the back of Sierra Leoneans, to hand over their stolen loot , was thirty days. You have to pinch yourself, and think was this an April fools day prank Bio’s government is playing with us? Not so going by this report. We knew this confiscation of illegal, or unexplained wealth order was grinding it’s way through our judicial process, with Ben Khalifa the ACC commissioner, and his team taking the leading roles, as Bio, the director of the sequences, embark on a cleansing exercise to relieve Sierra Leone of the painful experiences of unchecked, and out of control cancer of corruption that has literally taken over every government institutions in Sierra leone . killing me softly was the only song the nation of Sierra Leone was singing on her death bed. That the lack of any development has to do with wide spread unchecked cancer of corruption in every sector of society. And if this is the way to tackle this cancer in our society , long may it continue. Today, the shoes is on the other foot.

    Former APC ministers accused of corruption, and found guilty of misappropriation of public funds for their use, loosing such properties, I don’t any one in their right mind should shed a tear. At the same time, Bio’s Ministers , and those in government today that are accuse of corruption,and feel they are untouchables, accusations coming from the Africanist Press, should not sit comfortably and think their day of reckoning to account for their unexplained wealth will be suspended indefinitely . I think this should keep them awake at night and figure how to come clean and confess to their sins before it is too late. My advice to them is to keep all their paper work, their receipt, their payroll slips and petty cash receipts, and banks transfer and bank statements, because you will not stay in power for ever. At some point in the future near future, an anti corruption squad, dressed like in the film Men in Black with clip boards, and computers with USB, Cameras for recording interviews will come knocking at your high wall electric gates, asking awkward questions. By then I hope you’ve hired your lawyers.

    At the end of the day what Bio started, might have look to him like a political stunt or gimmicks, but the reality of course the wheels of the justice system usually grind slowly. And governments come and go, but the State stays forever. So if this tit, for tat policy is adopted by every government that found themselves in the unlikely position of being voted in to power, and carry out this policy of confiscation of looted goods from the state, the only benefactors will be the ordinary man and woman of Sierra Leone. At long last we will say the robbers have turn on each other. And that’s what the ordinary Sierra Leoneans were paying FOR . AND FINALLY, The GOD’S HAVE ANSWERED TO OUR PRAYERS. LONG MAY IT CONTINUED.

  5. So it’s curtains. The battle has begun between SLPP and APC. If indeed the SLPP government goes through with confiscating property belonging to former APC ministers and others, Sierra Leoneans are witnessing a revolution which could serve as the ultimate force to push the country into the elusive progress which has been present for over sixty years, thanks to massive, uncontrollable and unconscionable official corruption. Monies and other resources which should be targeted at overall economic development are instead diverted to personal use. The evidence for this is all over the place – huge palaces, fanciful cars and unmatched arrogance.

    The revolution which we are witnessing has a single cause: The Bio administration is now forcing former corrupt APC ministers and others to forfeit their ill-gotten assets, what will a future APC government do, probably after the findings of a commission of inquiry? This should form the background for ministers and others to refrain from corruption because of the consequences. As much as they would hate it, they would have to do their job with clean professionalism and accountability.

    With resources finding their way to their target with precision the nation should start seeing clean pipe-borne water, sustained agricultural production, modern roads connecting the entire country, good schools and most importantly we shall cease being beggars – a national humiliation. When our more affluent friends decide to help us, like the Americans have done with the $217 million agreement for the generation of electricity, such monies will be utilised with the rarest cleanliness ever known. The snare has been sprung and has the looks of ensnaring all corrupt public officials who cannot keep their hands out of the safe. We already know those who have already lined themselves up for the snare in the Bio administration. There’s no going back. We ordinary mortals are in for a treat.

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