‘We’ll implement all COI recommendations to the letter’-President Bio assures
By Ibrahim Tarawallie
President Julius Maada Bio has assured of his government determination and readiness to implement all recommendations contained in the Commissions of Inquiry report to the letter.
“Government has carefully looked at the reports of the Commissions and the recommendations. The White Paper documents the recommendations the Government has accepted in the interest of the people of Sierra Leone. Unlike other Commissions, citizens are assured that this Government will fully implement all recommendations,” he assured.
He was speaking at State House on Thursday September 24, 2020, during the presentation of the White Paper on the recommendations of the Commissions of Inquiry by the Attorney-General and Minister of Justice, Anthony Y. Brewah.
The three Commissions of Inquiry were established by Constitutional Instruments Nos. 64, 65 and 67 of 2018 to carry out thorough, independent, fair and impartial investigations into the allegations of corruption and abuse of public office by ministers and other public officials in the past administration.
The three commissions started their work in 2019 and submitted their report, which included findings and recommendations to the president in March 2020.
A total of 126 persons of interest were investigated by the Justice Biobele Commission of Inquiry with eighty-four (84) public officials, including former President Ernest Bai Koroma. Billions of leones were found to have been misappropriated or embezzled by members of the past administration.
In his statement, President Bio stated: “We have had several Commissions of Inquiry in post-independence Sierra Leone. But Sierra Leoneans seem to have learnt little to nothing from those past Commissions of Inquiry. We are determined to make this the last Commissions of Inquiry in this country.”
The president instructed the Office of the Attorney General and Minister of Justice to effect the recommendations of the Commissions of Inquiry by recovering all monies recommended to be returned to the people of Sierra Leone, as well as all assets recommended to be confiscated.
He assured that persons and entities affected by the recommendation are guaranteed a peaceful and transparent judicial appeals process through which they can seek relief and cautioned every Sierra Leonean that the rule of law is supreme.
“Those who may wish to incite or engage in unrest and violence in order to obstruct the process of implementing the full enforcement of the recommendations will be subject to the full force of the law. This is not the usual charge, convict, levy tepid punishments, and restitute or reinstate as soon as citizens turn the other way. Once and for all, we are determined to draw a line. Public officials must serve with integrity and they must be above reproach at all times. These Commissions were indeed about transparency and accountability and nothing else,” President Bio added.