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Former President of Sierra Leone Faces Treason Charges; ECOWAS Concludes His Temporary Transfer To Abuja

Ernest Bai Koroma, the former president of Sierra Leone, has been formally accused of treason. His alleged role in the events of November 26, 2023, which led to the toppling of the Julius Maada Bio Government, is the subject of the four-count charge.

According to the State, on November 26, there was an effort by Former President Koroma to topple the government of Julius Maada Bio.

The Sierra Leone Police (SLP) called former President Koroma to report to the headquarters to help with the continuing criminal investigations into the failed coup attempt in Sierra Leone on November 26. 

The terms, as stated by the government, include that he cannot leave the house without the inspector general of police’s express consent. 

Recall that early on Sunday, November 26, 2023, unidentified persons attempted, with considerable gunfire, to infiltrate the military base. However, they were quickly repulsed by the Sierra Leone State Security Forces. 

Amadu Koita, a former security chief for President Koroma, and eleven other individuals, including former law enforcement and penitentiary officers, were accused of treason and other offenses on January 2, 2024, due to their involvement in the failed coup attempt on November 26, 2023. 

Acts of disloyalty, which frequently involve attempts to topple or weaken the established power, are referred to as treason. Because it seriously jeopardizes a nation’s stability and national security, treason is seen as a serious crime. Although treason laws differ from one state to the next, most share certain fundamental components.

LEVYING WAR: Fighting the government with force or organizing a rebellion.

AIDING THE ENEMY: Offering an adversary material or immaterial help during a conflict.

ADHERING TO ENEMIES: Putting oneself in a formal alliance with the state’s adversaries, either by assisting them or by joining their forces.

ESPIONAGE: Spying on one’s own nation and giving sensitive information to a government or organization elsewhere.

CONSPIRACY: The act of organizing or preparing to carry out treasonous deeds, even in cases where they are not executed.

Treason has serious legal ramifications that might include jail time, fines, and, in the past, the death penalty. Treason is usually defined and punished in accordance with the legal codes or constitutions of the various nations. 

The former president of Sierra Leone, Ernest Bai Koroma’s attorney, has responded angrily to the treasonous charges brought against him.

In an interview with BBC Umaru Fofanah, Cllr. Joseph Kamara expressed his shock and disbelief over the dangerous precedent that has been set. He also mentioned that a political vendetta has cast a shadow over our nation by dragging a democratically elected former head of state on false charges.

A High Court judgment freed former President Koroma on bail while he was under house arrest, and the case was postponed until Wednesday, January 17, 2024.

The temporary evacuation of former President Ernest Bai Koroma to Abuja, Nigeria, has been completed by the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), pending President Julius Maada Bio’s consent.

The ECOWAS correspondence that we have with President Bio states that on Thursday, January 4, 2024, former President Koroma will be accompanied by his personal assistant and office manager.

The correspondence further stated that the following arrangements will be implemented as planned following President Bio’s approval of former President Koroma’s departure:

i. The Sierra Leonean government will drop all legal and administrative actions taken against him.

ii. The Sierra Leonean government will also keep paying him benefits as the country’s former president; iii. The government will arrange for him to live in any of the country’s locations; iv. The government will take into account paying back any medical and travel expenses he has incurred.

Simultaneously, former President Ernest Bai Koroma was ordered by Presiding Judges of the Court of Appeal, Justice Ivan Sesay, Hon. Justice Alhaji Momoh-Jah Stevens, and Hon. Justice Adrian Fisher, to pay USD 135,000.00 to the State within seven days for causing loss to the Government of Sierra Leone (GoSL).

The Sierra Leone Anti Corruption Commission is further ordered by the Court to look into allegations of abuse of office by former President Koroma for his own gain.

According to the 19-page ruling, he also broke the rules governing national procurement.

From September 17, 2007, to April 4, 2018, the All People’s Congress (APC) emeritus political leader oversaw Sierra Leone for two five-year mandates.

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Figo Mansaray is a Liberian Journalist for over 10 years and currently working with Kukatonon Media Inc and AYV Media Empire.
Figo, a prospective Graduate at the University of Liberia can be contacted via +231777489052/+231881734014 and mfmansaray2015@gmail.com

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