• October 19, 2023

COUNTING THE COST OF COI  

COUNTING THE COST OF COI  
Share on

By Donstance Koroma

 

Findings from President Julius Maada Bio’s Commissions of Inquiry that was chaired by Justice Biobele disclosed that 223 Billons of Leones that was then equivalent to $94 million misappropriated by persons of interest.

 

Out of the heaps of one hundred and twenty-six (126) persons of interest, the commission of enquiry was able to indicts only eighty-four (84) notorious among the lots was the former president Dr. Ernest Bai Koroma, former ministers and deputies, Secretary to President, Bank Governors, Members of Parliament and Permanent secretaries, Directors Generals among others.

 

7 Persons of Interest where also investigated by Justice Biobele Records also have it that the said Commission of Enquiry discharged only twenty-six Persons of Interest.

 

Among the 14 Persons of Interest investigated for unexplained wealth only three were discharged. According to the commission’s report all those that failed to declare their asset should serve an imprisonment for six months or pay the sum of Thirty million Old Leones which stand separate from monies the commission request them to refund.

 

Properties and accounts own by Persons of Interest that is within their earnings were also discharged and given access to their properties and accounts.

 

“All properties acquired by Persons of Interest indicted for funds beyond their means of income are products of unlawful and unjust enrichment”, the report states.

 

As a result, properties of those Persons of Interest would be forfeited forthwith to the Government and people of Sierra Leone.

 

All forfeited properties should be sold to any interested person in Sierra Leone on a fair value, and that monies should be remitted immediately to the Consolidated Revenue Fund of the Government of Sierra Leone.

 

Monies in bank accounts of persons indicted that are beyond their means of earning must be forfeited to the Government of Sierra Leone, within 30 days from the date the recommendations are ratified.

The Bio government during and after the commission of enquiry had on countless instances assured the nation that the commission of inquiry will bring more money into the country’s consolidated fund that will help in stabilizing the economy, even though many citizens were doubtful of the said assurance.

 

Speaking during the official opening of the Biobele Commission of Enquiry President Bio said in 2019; “In May last year during my inaugural address, I launched three peaceful democratic wars: first, a war on indiscipline; second, a war on corruption and third, a war on poverty. Today, we are here to affirm that the peaceful democratic war on corruption is unstoppable, unmistakable and winnable”.

Corruption remains the single most critical deterrent to the development of Sierra Leone. It impedes human capital development which is the most critical driver of development in every country, he said.

 

“And we must also be very clear that when people who occupy public offices steal public monies or engage in other forms of corruption, they do not do so on behalf of their tribe, their region or their political party. Rather, they do so as individuals or a group of individuals and they must be held accountable”. Bio said.

 

With much rumour making the rounds that the upcoming dialogue between the incumbent Sierra Leone People’s Party (SLPP) and the main opposition All People’s Congress APC will definitely take the formula of a give and take, that has left many wondering what will the Bio’s government ready to offer to the opposition for durable solution into the political dispute.

 

Sources from the passageways of both the incumbent SLPP and the opposition APC have it that the Bio government among other things stands willing and ready to scarify the Biobele findings and recommendation report of the commission of enquiry for the sake of peace and national cohesion.

 

Upon such a rumour, many critical minded Sierra Leoneans at home and abroad are longing to know whether the said decision to scarify the COI report and recommendations has left the country in a state of profit or lost taking into account the allege lucrative salaries of six billion old leones paid to each to the three justices excluding other staff of the COI.

 

With the salaries of the tree justices amounted to eighteen billion (18B) Old Leones the actual cost of the commission of enquiry still remains unclear for close to an appreciable amount of years.

 

Many well minded citizens are longing for clarification on the total amount of resources lavished on the CIO which according to close sources President Bio is now willing and ready to render toothless for political compensation to the main opposition for stolen the June 24 general elections that saw President Bio resurfaced to State House criminally to the displeasure of the international community and other observer missions.

 

If speculations from both the corridors of the incumbent SLPP and the opposition APC about the willingness of the Bio government to drop all cases of the COI and the appeal court against the opposition are anything to go by, it stands prudent for the government to have informs the public about the truism of the CIO.

 

The habit of governments expending public funds without any reports or public awareness on the reason as to why the monies was or will be expended is deeply rooted in the DNA of past and present government of Sierra Leone.

 

What about the houses confiscated to the state, are the sold to persons of interest as per the COI’s recommendation? If yes, for how much?

 

What is the true status for the estimated five billon old Leone State of the Art heart diagnosis centre in the west rural district of Sierra Leone.

 

Radically minded citizens that spoke to FORUM NEWS SL attributed the decision of the Bio administration to trade the Biobele commissions of enquiry to just to retain power is an advantage to the incumbent SLPP and the opposition APC but a very big lost the nation for the current and future generations.

 

Sierra Leoneans in doubt as to whether the president won the election or not has been laid to rest by the recently publish European Union report on the 24th June election revealed that either President Bio or Dr. Samura Kamara met the threshold of 55%, however the report categorically stated that APC Samura was leading the vote.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *