Sierra Leone’s president Julius Maada Bio’s Anti-Corruption hammer has finally fallen on the family of his predecessor. The Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) said on Tuesday it had reached an out-of-court settlement with a brother of Ernest Bai Koroma who was found wanting for tax evasion.
Thomas Koroma, a businessman and younger brother to Bai Koroma, was ordered to pay over Le1billion (US$127, 547) which the ACC said was for unpaid taxes. As Managing Director of the privately run T&S Company, a firm that provided consultancy services, the younger Koroma was contracted to construct a building for the National Telecommunications Commission (NATCOM). The ACC said in a statement that Mr Koroma has agreed to pay back the money in full within eight months.
ACC Commissioner Francis Ben Kaifala was quoted on Wednesday saying the issue of Thomas Koroma is just a minute part of a larger investigation involving the NATCOM, which regulates the telecoms sector. This is all part of ongoing clampdown on corruption by the new anti-graft tsar who assumed office seven months ago. He has adopted a practice of reclaiming monies through out-of-court settlement, which has raised eyebrows in some quarters.
But the Commission insists that these agreements are going alongside prosecutions. According to latest statistics, the ACC has claimed some US$1.5m in the last seven months.