A judge of Nigeria’s Appeal Court Justice Biobele Abraham Georgewill has been appointed by the Sierra Leone Government to head one of three Commissions of Inquiry into financial deals carried out before it came to power.
The other two Commissions will be headed by Justice William Anaam Atuguba of Ghana and Justice Bankole Thompson of Sierra Leone. This is in response to a number of allegedly irregular financial activities that were uncovered by a transitional committee that was put in place to manage the handover from the past administration.
The decision to establish the judicial commissions to investigate the allegations was tabled in the Sierra Leone parliament shortly after the new government was inaugurated last year and became law when the legislature ratified the proposal after twenty one days. The Commissions are expected to commence sitting in Freetown after being inaugurated by President Julius Maada Bio on the 29th of January 2019.
The Commissions of Inquiry were set up by the New Direction of President Maada Bio to inquire into alleged unprecedented egregious corruption of the erstwhile government of President Ernest Bai Koroma who had governed Sierra Leone from 2007 to 2018. The three judge-led Commissions are headed by senior Judges drawn from Nigeria, Ghana and Sierra Leone and will sit concurrently starting from January 2019.
The Commissions will be empowered to investigate and call for evidence over financial transactions that were approved by the past government but which have been characterised as being irregular and inimical to the best interests of the Sierra Leonean people.
Supporters of the decision to appoint non-nationals to head two of the commissions describe the decision as “a sound example of interregional co-operation based on a desire for the fair and impartial deliverance of justice.”
Despite the vigorous challenge mounted by the main Opposition All Peoples’ Congress (APC) in the hung Parliament of Sierra Leone, in which they had 68 seats as against 49 for the ruling Sierra Leone People’s Party (SLPP) out of a total of 146 seats, Parliament passed into law the seminal Instruments establishing three Commissions of Inquiry on 22 October 2018.
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