Anti-graft Investigators Prevented From Questioning Ex-Sierra Leone Leader, Koroma

Investigators attached to the Sierra Leone Anti-corruption Commission (ACC-SL) claimed supporters of a former president of the West African country, Ernest Bai Koroma, prevented them from questioning him at his home.

The investigators said hundreds of supporters blocked roads and threatened violence, a situation Koroma’s opposition All People’s Congress (APC) party has dismissed as untrue.

Koroma and more than 100 officials were barred from leaving Sierra Leone last week, when an inquiry accused them of enriching themselves with tens of millions of dollars during his 11-year presidency, which ended in 2018.

He says the accusations are an unfounded smear campaign against him.

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Following the allegation, the ACC-SL had invited the former president for questioning under oath over allegations of corruption while in office.

Current President, Maada Bio, has launched a crackdown on graft. The summons served on Koroma was Bio’s latest move to call to account the previous administration that he claimed took the country to the brink of economic collapse.

It concerned alleged wrongdoing in connection with mining, construction and procurement contracts, and followed an order to bar Koroma and 111 officials from leaving the country after a judge-led inquiry alleged that they illicitly enriched themselves during his 2007-2018 tenure.

Koroma had been ordered to answer questions from the commission – which has prosecuting powers – in person on October 5.

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An earlier report commissioned by Bio accused the previous administration of exploiting an Ebola outbreak in the West African country for personal gain.

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