Sierra Leone Telegraph: 4 October 2020:
The U.S. embassy in Freetown, Sierra Leone today published a security alert advising its staff and American citizens to avoid the central districts of Freetown the country’s capital, and Makeni in the north – hometown of the former president Ernest Bai Koroma.
According to the US embassy, “Former President Ernest Bai Koroma will be questioned by the Anti-Corruption Commission on Monday, October 5. Street closures and spontaneous demonstrations are possible. U.S. Embassy personnel have been advised to avoid the area and remain alert while travelling.”
Last week, the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) wrote to former president Koroma (Photo), inviting him to the office of the ACC in Freetown to help the ACC with their investigation into alleged corruption and abuse of office by the former president, which according to the report of a Commission of Inquiry runs into millions of dollars, including the acquisition of unexplained wealth.
But tonight, there were uncertainties as to whether tomorrow’s meeting with the former president will go ahead as scheduled, or indeed whether the former president will travel to Freetown to meet with investigators.
Speaking to the Sierra Leone Telegraph, a source at the ACC said that their meeting with the former president which was scheduled for tomorrow, has been cancelled and will now take place on Thursday, 8th of October 2020.
“On the request of Ernest Koroma and his lawyers, we have decided to shift the questioning to Thursday,” the source told the editor of the Sierra Leone Telegraph.
The Sierra Leone Telegraph understands that this new arrangement is to allow the former president and his lawyers sufficient time to properly prepare for the meeting with the ACC.
But it is still not certain where the meeting will take place, as this is still subject to negotiation between both parties.
Last week, some supporters of the Koroma-led opposition APC put out notice on social media, calling on supporters of the president to form a mass convoy that will escort the former president to the capital Freetown from Makeni for his meeting with the ACC.
But the police in Freetown say they have not received any application for mass demonstration by any group.
Street demonstrations involving large crowds without police permit in Sierra Lerone is unlawful and usually dealt with harshly by the police, using tear gas and sometimes live ammunition.
The last time mass demonstration was quelled by the police, was in Makeni in the north of the country a few months ago, which led to the shooting dead of five youths.
Although the police would no doubt try to avoid a repeat of the Makeni incident, the police say that they will respond harshly to any mass demonstration that has not received police clearance.