Sierra Leone President Bio Suspends Minister, Others Over Corruption

Sierra Leone’s President Julius Maada Bio has suspended the West African country’s Minister of Agriculture, Dennis Vandi, and a host of civil servants who were implicated in a graft report.

Also suspended is the Secretary to the Vice President, Baba Fortune, according to information minister Mohamed Rahman Swaray.

The suspensions follow the release of a Government White Paper which accused them of corruption in their previous positions.

The graft report by a special commission of inquiry implicated several past and serving civil servants in the theft of public funds.

Minister Vandi has pleaded innocent and was allegedly not given an opportunity to defend himself by the commission of inquiry.

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All implicated have been given three months to appeal the charges.

Several former ministers and officials have been banned from leaving the country over their alleged role in corruption.

The former President, Ernest Bai Koroma, is on the list of 102 people implicated in graft scandals. Already, the Sierra Leone Anti-corruption Commission (ACC-SL) has invited Koroma for questioning under oath over allegations of corruption while in office.

President Bio has pledged to recover funds allegedly misappropriated by his predecessor.

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.

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It concerns alleged misconduct 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.

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