Sierra Leone Telegraph: 9 July 2018:
President Julius Maada Bio of Sierra Leone has today announced steps to be taken by his government in implementing the recommendations of a 124-page report on the abuse of office and unbridled corruption in the former APC government of president Koroma.
The report which was produced by the Governance Transition Team, concludes that: “An astonishing level of fiscal indiscipline and rampant corruption by the former APC Government of President Ernest Koroma, had led to the near-collapse of Sierra Leone’s economy”.
The people of Sierra Leone are now expecting president Bio to take immediate action against those named in the report as either directly involved in corruption, or aided and abetted in acts of corruption and malfeasance.
President Bio has wasted no time mauling over and deliberating on the report, which he commissioned in April and was presented to him by his Transition Team last week for implementation.
Many policy analysts are now saying that, by today announcing the actions that will now be taken in implementing the recommendations of the report, president Bio will be achieving in just 100 days in power, what former president Koroma could not achieve in ten wasted years in office.
So, what are the actions announced by the president today? This is what the statement from State House says:
“UPDATE ON THE GOVERNANCE TRANSITION TEAM REPORT: NEXT STEPS
“On Wednesday 4th July 2018, His Excellency President Julius Maada Bio received the Report of the Governance Transition Team 2018, presented by the Chairman, Professor David John Francis.
“On receiving the Report, His Excellency thanked the Team and reiterated his commitment to the fight against corruption, which he described as not only a governance issue but also a national security threat.
“Following the launch of the Report, His Excellency the President convened an Emergency Cabinet Meeting on Friday 6th July 2018 to discuss and adopt the Report as a basis for further action. The Office of the Press Secretary now wishes to inform the public as follows:
“1. That Cabinet, as the highest decision-making body of the Government, has endorsed the Report of the Governance Transition Team, 2018; approved the Recommendations of the Report and authorized the Chief Minister, in consultation with the Attorney-General and Minister of Justice to lead the implementation of the
“Recommendations of the Report in a timely manner.
“2. That His Excellency the President has directed the Secretary to the President to engage the Auditor General, Audit Service Sierra Leone, to immediately consider a Special Audit of all MDAs including the Sierra Leone Commercial Bank and Rokel Commercial Bank.
“3. That His Excellency the President has directed the Attorney-General and Minister of Justice to immediately lead on the establishment of a judge-led Commission of Inquiry as provided for in section 147 of Act No.6 of 1991.
“The Commission will consist of a Chairman who will be a judge of international repute and another renowned judge of national repute. The names of the judges will be announced shortly. The Commission will be mandated to conduct the necessary Inquiry within a stipulated time.
“4. That His Excellency the President has directed the Financial Secretary to write to the Managing Directors of Sierra Leone Commercial Bank and Rokel Commercial Bank instructing that all unpaid loans owed by Politically Exposed Persons (PEPs) and Financially Exposed Persons (FEPs), as stated in the World Bank Funded Audit of Sierra Leone Commercial Bank and Rokel Commercial Bank, be paid within 30 working days or face litigation.
“5. That His Excellency the President has directed the Minister of Finance and the Attorney-General and Minister of Justice to pursue action with respect to Stolen Assets Recovery Initiative (StAR). It is important to note that, the Stolen Assets Recovery Initiative supports international efforts to end safe havens for corrupt funds.
“Additionally, the Stolen Assets Recovery Initiative works with developing countries and financial centres to prevent the laundering of the proceeds of corruption and to facilitate more systematic and timely return of stolen assets.” (End).
Since the publication of the report last week, several senior former government ministers including former president Koroma, have published statements denying their involvement in corruption and other financial wrongdoing.
The police have instructed those named in the report to handover their passports to the authorities and to refrain from leaving the country. (Photo: President Koroma receiving a cheque from the former CEO of Sierra Rutile – John Sisay).
The Sierra Leone Telegraph understands that the UK Serious Fraud Office (SFO) is closely watching events in Sierra Leone and studying the report, to ensure that those named in the report have not been using the UK to launder their stolen funds and to accumulate unexplained wealth.
Several former ministers and officials in the APC government have properties and other investment assets in the UK, and it is understood that the SFO will be taking a look at those.
You can watch the public’s response to the GTT report here: