The Sierra Leone Anti-corruption Commission (ACC-SL) has invited a former president of the West African Country, Ernest Bai Koroma, 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 is Bio’s latest move to call to account the previous administration that he claimed took the country to the brink of economic collapse.
It concerns alleged wrongdoing in connection with mining, construction and procurement contracts, and follows an order on Tuesday 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.
“The former president’s chief security officer received the notice on his behalf this morning at his residence in Makeni,” anti-corruption commissioner Francis Ben Kaifala told Reuters.
Koroma had been ordered to answer questions from the commission – which has prosecuting powers – in person on Oct. 5, he said.
Koroma has denied any wrongdoing in the past and said corruption allegations are part of a long-running smear campaign.
The former ruling All People’s Congress party, which Koroma still leads, has rejected the inquiry’s findings as “politically motivated, legally flawed and procedurally defective”.
It plans to challenge it at the Court of Appeal.
Koroma’s Makeni property is among assets worth $200 million. The government has ordered Koroma and the officials forfeit or repay after the inquiry released its report last Friday.
An earlier report commissioned by Bio accused the previous administration of exploiting an Ebola outbreak in the West African country for personal gain.
Sierra Leone, recovering from a decade of civil war that ended in 2002, saw its economy contract more than 20% in 2015 due to a slump in global commodity prices and the Ebola epidemic that had peaked a year earlier.