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Aftermath of Makeni incident… HRCSL wants speedy police investigation

By Ibrahim Tarawallie

The Human Right Commission of Sierra Leone (HRCSL) has called on the Serra Leone Police to speedily investigate and bring to book those who deliberately refused the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) access to interview former President Ernest Bai Koroma in Makeni on corruption allegations.

On Thursday October 8, 2020, hundreds of irate supporters of former President Koroma, many carrying sticks- took to the streets of Makeni in demonstration against the ACC attempt to question him over allegations of corruption.

They mounted roadblocks on major streets leading to the residence of the former president, who is the Leader and Chairman of the main opposition All Peoples Congress (APC), thereby denying investigators of the country’s anti-graft agency access to his residence.

The ACC had wanted to interview Mr. Koroma in relation to findings and in accordance with recommendations of the Commissions on Inquiry, which looked into alleged corrupt practices of former public officials who served in his government between 2007 and 2017.

However, in a press statement signed by its Chairperson, Patricia Narsu Ndanema, the HRCSL roundly condemned every act of lawlessness as was clearly evident in Makeni at the Ernest Bai Koroma Avenue on Thursday 8th October, 2020.

“HRCSL wishes to inform the general public that the obstruction of due process/justice; and the insult on public officials and the President of the Republic while executing their lawful duties is unacceptable and unlawful and this amounts to bad citizenship and runs contrary to section 13 of the Constitution of Sierra Leone, Act No. 6 of 1991,” the release stated.

The commission called on former President Koroma as a statesman who led the country for nearly eleven (11) years to formally distance himself from such act of lawlessness and indiscipline exhibited by persons on the said date.

During the incident in Makeni, the country’s national human right body observed that masquerades were flaunted on the street leading to the residence of the former President and such display amounts to a violation of the ongoing ban on the activities of secret societies.

“HRCSL continues to call on every citizen to internalize and abide by the duties of the citizen as enshrined in section 13 of the Constitution of Sierra Leone Act No.6 of 1991 with particular reference to paragraphs (b) & (j) which provide as follows: Every citizen shall “cultivate a sense of nationalism and patriotism so that loyalty to the State shall override sectional, ethnic, tribal or other loyalties”; and “render assistance to appropriate and lawful agencies in the maintenance of law and order.”

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