Sierra Leone Telegraph: 6 April 2018:
Since his swearing-in two days ago as the new president of Sierra Leone, Julius Maada Bio is faced with the enormous task of safeguarding the peace and security of all of the people of Sierra Leone, irrespective of tribe and regional origin, after rampaging mobs took to the streets of the capital Freetown and Kenema.
The urgency with which president Bio must deal with the public disorder and violence which erupted yesterday and the previous night, cannot be overstated.
But most importantly also, is the priority that the president must now give to protecting the national and international public assets – including finances, of which the outgoing APC government has been the custodian.
Already, there are reports of senior officials and ministers in the outgoing Koroma government, having looted and carted away huge amounts of public property, including vehicles, furniture and cash – running into millions of dollars.
It is very important that this illegal behaviour is stopped immediately, and those caught made to face justice for their crimes.
But in order to achieve this, the SLPP government has a big task of taking stock of all the public assets that the Koroma government has been managing on behalf of the people, to ensure accountability and transparency during this transition phase.
To ensure that the transition process is smooth and effective, president Julius Maada Bio has today appointed a Governance Transition Team chaired by professor David J. Francis from (Photo) Bradford University, UK.
In 2007, when president Koroma won the elections, he formed a transition committee with sweeping powers to carry out an audit of all government assets.
But the difference this time is that president Maada Bio has not ordered any government minister or official to hand in their passport until such time that the audit is completed, as Koroma authorised in 2007.
According to a statement from State House, the terms of reference of the transition team is to “serve as focal point for the interface with the outgoing APC Government of former President Ernest Koroma and in-coming Government of President Julius Maada Bio
“Conduct an immediate stock taking exercise of the state of affairs of Government Ministries, Department and Agencies (MDAs)
“Submit an overview of the current state of affairs of Government Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs)
“Submit a comprehensive Report to the President and Vice President for immediate consideration
“Composition: Professor David J. Francis: Chair of Transition Team; Dr. Abass Bundu; Dr. Morie Manyeh; Mrs. Kona Koroma; Mr. Jacob Jusu Saffa; Alhaji Kanja Sesay; Dr. Alie Kabbah (Photo); PC Charles Caulker; Mrs. Melrose Kargbo; Hon. Suahilo Koroma; Mr. Umaru Napoleon Koroma; and Dr. Denis Sandy: Secretary to Governance Transition Team.”
It is not certain how long the transition team have been given by the president to complete their task, but it may not be unreasonable for their report to be published in the next four weeks, if not sooner, assuming that the outgoing ministers and senior officials will efficiently and promptly comply with this State House directive.