Sierra Leone’s President Julius Maada Bio Receives Reports of Commissions of Inquiry and White Papers, Assures Full Implementation of Reports

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State House, Freetown, Thursday 24 September 2020 – His Excellency President Dr Julius Maada Bio has today received the reports of the Commissions of Inquiry and the White Papers and has assured that government will fully implement the recommendations therein.

“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. I repeat, Government will implement all recommendations to the letter,” he said.

The reports of the various Commissions of Inquiry established by Constitutional Instruments Nos. 64, 65 and 67 of 2018 were officially published together with their white papers.

President Bio, who opened his address to the press with a short announcement of his return from a private visit to Lebanon in excellent health, publicly instructed the office of the Attorney General and Minister of Justice to effect the recommendations of the Commissions of Inquiry and “to recover all monies recommended to be returned to the people of Sierra Leone and to confiscate all assets recommended to be confiscated, and all other such penalties as recommended”.

He, however emphasised respect for the rule of law, adding that: “Persons and entities affected by the recommendation are guaranteed a peaceful and transparent judicial appeals process through which they can seek relief. So let me therefore caution 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 last of investigations into corruption by former leaders. The ACC and other law enforcement agencies are mandated to investigate issues that the Commissions of Inquiry did not have sufficient time to investigate. Investigations, arrests, and prosecutions for corruption will continue as long as they are permissible in the laws of this country,” he assured.

Attorney General and Minister of Justice, Anthony Yeihwoe Brewah, said that the publication fully complied with the provisions of the 1991 Constitution of Sierra Leone and that the White Papers contained the reactions of President Bio’s Government to the recommendations in the report submitted to him. He added that the publication would not only satisfy the constitutional requirements but would also seek to meet the expectations of the general public as to the outcome of the Commissions of Inquiry.

“The Commissions of Inquiry were impartially conducted as the commissioners gave the persons of interests the opportunity to defend allegations that were made against them. Regrettably, the majority did not turn up to account for their stewardship. That notwithstanding, it is trite law that unchallenged evidence is good evidence, and so the commissioners held,” he said.

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