More disgrace for Sierra Leone as President Bio reneges on ECOWAS agreement to release Ernest Bai Koroma

Sierra Leone Telegraph: 04 January 2024:

President Bio of Sierra Leone has rebuffed a letter received from leaders of the West African regional block – ECOWAS, calling on the president to release the country’s former president Ernest Bai Koroma from house arrest to travel to Abuja, where the Nigerian President Tinubu has guaranteed his safety, whilst investigations and court hearings regarding an alleged coup attempt continues.

President Bio who is presently in Algeria where he is holding talks with president Abdelmadjid Tebboune, has been out of Sierra Leone since receiving the letter from ECOWAS dated January 2nd 2024, is refusing to honour the agreement reached with the high-level delegation of ECOWAS leaders with whom he held discussions about the plight of former president Koroma at State House last month.

Speaking on behalf of the government of Sierra Leone yesterday, minister of foreign affairs – Timothy Kabba whilst admitting that President Bio had received the letter from ECOWAS, went on to accuse ECOWAS leaders of misrepresenting what was agreed with President Bio.

Are ECOWAS leaders telling lies about the agreement reached with President Bio, or is the government of Sierra Leone shamelessly reneging on its agreement with President Akufo-Addo of Ghana and President Macky Sall of Senegal?

The letter “does not reflect the meeting His Excellency President Julius Maada Bio held recently in Freetown with his colleague West African leaders and the President of the ECOWAS Commission. So we will not countenance it,” said Timothy Kabba.

Former President Koroma was dragged to court yesterday by the Bio-led government, where he was charged with four counts of treason, despite calls from ECOWAS leaders for the government to drop all “legal and administrative procedures” against the former President.

The government of Sierra Leone is now at risk of losing support from ECOWAS which observers say is the reason President Bio is now on a three-day visit to Algeria to sign a bilateral agreement, which will include security assistance, including military support from the north African nation.

According to State House report in Freetown, “President Bio is in the North African country to further strengthen the collaboration between Sierra Leone and Algeria as they both take their seats on the United Nation’s Security Council, committing to collaborate on shared interest in furtherance of global peace.

“The two countries have over the years had bilateral ties and both Presidents have committed to deepening the relationship by exploring trade, social and cultural avenues for the benefit of both countries. These shared interests and the desire to collaborate to proffer solutions to regional and global emerging issues is a key consensus shared by both heads of state.”

With the treason trial now set for 17th January 2024, President Bio has made the acceptance of ECOWAS request to relocate former President Koroma to Abuja all the more complex, as this will most certainly involve embroiling Sierra Leone’s judiciary in diplomatic spat with ECOWAS. (Photo: Former President Koroma outside court yesterday, with lawyers and APC party leadership).

The Sierra Leone Telegraph understands that the decision by ECOWAS leaders to deploy ECOMOG standby force in Sierra Leone to help stabilise the country is now on hold, following President Bio’s rebuffing of the ECOWAS request for former President Koroma to be relocated to Abuja today 4th January 2023.

Speaking on AYV TV yesterday, Counsel representing Ernest Bai Koroma, Barrister Joseph F. Kamara said that the government has not come up with any evidence linking the former president to the alleged coup of 26 November 2023.

Joseph Kamara said that after 40 hours of interrogation by police, not a single shred of evidence has been put forward showing the former president to be culpable in the alleged coup plot, and accused the Bio-led SLPP government of waging a political vendetta against the former president.




  1. Like its counterpart in New York (UN) ECOWAS is a joke – too funny for laughter. Added to its clumsiness and parody is the misfortune that it’s currently led by a man ( Bola Tinudu of Nigeria) who speaks before he thinks, a shortcoming which became glaring when the Niger coup occurred. He immediately wanted to dispatch ECOMOG to that country to reinstate the ousted president Bazzoune who had been plundering the country’s resources for years. Somebody must have cuffed his ear behind the scenes to get him to think again. The forthwith formation of a military alliance between Niger, Mali and Burkina Fasso also helped the ECOWAS Chairman to ask for a cup of tea to give him the jolt which he needed to come to his senses.
    Had ECOWAS had a more circumspect chairman Bio would not have been congratulated by the body after the 24th June 2023 elections, which both local and international observers declared a disaster and fraud. Now ECOWAS can see the true colours of Bio, it may be too late, although all is not lost. ECOWAS can still withdraw its recognition of Bio and impose sanctions. According to Earnest’s leading lawyer, Joseph Kamara, investigators have not been able to come up with a scrap of evidence which ties Earnest to the alleged coup after forty hours of questioning. All SLPP wants to see is a disgraced and humiliated Earnest Koroma. Earnest Koroma’s own role in all of this mess will come up in due course, it’s full of paradoxes and extremely poor judgment.

  2. Well I do not care care if ECOWAS ends up with egg on their face over this rebuff by President Bio. It was this same organisation that massaged their report on the recent elections in Sierra Leone. Most of the organisations – local as well as international – who monitored the elections gave the Electoral Commission of Sierra Leone (ECSL) a yellow card for the conduct of the elections, and announcing the President as winner and allowing him a second term

  3. ECOWAS has failed to tackle the tremendous rise in coup d’etats in the West Africa region. Rather they are asking Sierra Leone to treat a failed coup with kids glove.

  4. Is it now that ECOWAS are realising that all is not well in Sierra Leone? Where is their so-called early warning system? I guess things are just simmering and festering with the boiling point not yet achieved.
    Sooner or later, we, the powerful people of Sierra Leone, will set aside any statute of limitation, if existent, and probe every real coup, crime and corruption ever committed in Sierra Leone by whoever, from any of the four corners of Sierra Leone and bring the perpetrators to swift justice.
    We are not going going to use forced confessions, photo-shopped pictures, deepfakes or AI chatbots as evidence to secure convictions.
    Maada Bio, is on record of taking part in a 1992 and 1996 military coup as well as a 2023 coup surely will be in our cross-hairs. History, as they say, is cyclical.
    In the mean time, see for yourself how far down Maada Bio has brought Sierra Leone to her knees and to an economic abyss. That is the new direction he meant all along – down, down and down.
    see below his abysmal record:
    2018.           2023
    Exchange rate.  $1=Le6000   $1:Le24000
    Inflation rate.    16% 54%
    GDP/capita         534          415      
    Debt per GDP.      69%     100%
    Debt pet Capita.   $359 $460
    That flying debt level is approaching the highest ever which was accrued during Bio’s NPRC days. It sounds familiar? It is so sad by an anomalous African dictator with a score card of 3Fs -Peace F, Security F, Economy F.

  5. Truly speaking, ECOWAS should wait for the Court to pass their verdict and to properly investigate the former president EBK. I am not saying that he is guilty of the charges alleged against him, but our country is an independent nation where we have the judiciary. Even the judiciary knows the status of the former president, but that doesn’t mean he is innocent or guilty. Lets wait and see the end of this investigation. No country will be happy with such things that are happening in sierra Leone.

  6. The answer is no, this is not a disgrace to President Bio as some indicated. Is Ernest Bai Koroma better than the other accused Koita and the others? They are all bona-fide Citizens of Sierra Leone. I would like ECOWAS to think twice without double standards.

    Ernest should face the full essence of the law in Sierra Leone. Why seeking asylum in Nigeria? He was once a lawmaker, parliamentarian making the law, before he became President or leader of the country. Can someone dispute that? Do you understand what Koita’s family is going through right now? May his dad’s gentle soul rest in peace – Alhaji Sheku Taylor. This guy just messed up his life.

    I believe the west have fed ECOWAS with promises of silver spoons. We are watching President Bio’s actions toward this. Ernest respects no Nigerian leaders. Does he remember 2015, when both H.E. Jonathan Goodluck and his First Lady traveled to Sierra Leone just to plead to Ernest on behalf of Vice President Sam Sumana, when he was sacked unlawfully? He ignored and refused their request.

    ECOWAS, if you really wanted to achieve something in reality, please go convince General Abdourahamane Tian of Niger. Koroma should know better.

  7. The relevant and statutory authority somehow deliriously presenting the case suggesting significant signs of indefinable allegation.

  8. How is the Sierra Leone government refusing ecowas request of asylum and dropping such serious charges against former president Koroma, a disgrace to president Bio?
    Ecowas made a request, not a mandate, as ecowas itself does not have the authority to mandate any independent country to drop such serious charges against any official within that country”s judiciary.
    This has not at all broken the good relationship between Sierra Leone and Ecowas. Like any other individual in Sierra Leone, the justice system in Sierra Leone should be fair and impartial to the former president

  9. The sovereignty of Sierra Leone as a nation-state; its membership and relationships to international organizations such as ECOWAS is at a testing point.
    Firstly, International organizations advocates for individual rights, whilst the overarching responsibilities of government’s is state survival and the welfare of its citizens.
    What we are seeing here is an over-reach of ECOWAS trying to influence public perceptions and the internal political wrangling’s of a nation-state.
    In truth, ECOWAS can take a multilateral legal action to a government but cannot force them to make favorable or unfavorable outcome of such requests.
    The prerogative of veto lies in the executive arm of that nation-state; to some it may sound convenient and satisfying for a regional body to step in as an intermediary to mitigate potential internal conflict with spillover effects.
    However, the conditions enclosed in the asylum request sounds little suspect in that it favors the accused and in essence exonerates him from alleged involvement in the coup and ACC charges.
    Let’s assume EBK is innocent but without the confirmation of the courts will cast doubt on our statehood, mockery of our judiciary system and the laws of our land.
    To take an objective stance though, the burden of proof of EBK’s involvement lies squarely on the government.
    To remain credible, the government should put out details of his involvement at every level and stage of the planning of the coup to the public. Without doing so will strengthen public perception that it is an attempt to liquidate the opposition.
    We are at a critical stage in our democracy, for us to mature as a nation-state we should put away our emotions and biases.
    In my view, I think the ECOWAS request is premature and they should allow our state to exercise it laws and the accused should be given fair trial in an open court for all to see.
    In the event he is culpable let him face the full force of the law, but if he’s exonerated the government should restore all damages including his dignity and after five years Maada Bio will account for his stewardship of our nation-state.

  10. This allegations and counter allegations of political vendetta is the more reason why I think the rule of law should be allowed to roll on. I think that it is premature for ECOWAS leaders to ask for all charges to be dropped against President Koroma without regards to the people of sierra leone who wants to know the truth and most especially to the families of the victims whose lives were ended prematurely. Africa should be seen to be serious with the exercise of the rule of law without prejudice to the status of anyone. In the absence of formal judicial proceedings is truth and reconciliation proceedings
    None of these is on the table from few ECOWAS leaders who deliberately are trying to blackmail the government of sierra leone.

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