The Government of Sierra Leone yesterday informed Journalists at State House that the much awaited Commission of Inquiry will start next month.
The Commission of Inquiry which seeks to bring past government officials to account for their stewardship during the ten years rule of the All People’s Congress led government, was supposed to have started immediately the Government Transition Team submitted its Report in June this year.
But according to the Attorney General and Minister of Justice, Priscilla Schwartz, the existing courts in the country cannot afford to host the sittings due to overcrowding of other matters.
Justifying why the use of containers instead of the Special Court building, Dr. Schwartz said that the estimated cost presented to her for the renovation of the Special Court Building came up to Eight Hundred and Eleven Billion Leones which she described as unaffordable.
Giving a time line for the Inquiry, Dr. Schwartz said that it is scheduled to last within three months, but if there is any need for an extension, it will be extended to six months to exhaust every avenue of fairness and transparency.
On the salaries of Judges, Dr. Schwartz said that the three Judges will be paid Ten Thousand United States Dollars each per month and the government will also be providing their housing facilities, fuel allowances and other remuneration so that they will not be influenced by anyone.
The Chief Minister, Professor David Francis informed Sierra Leoneans that the Inquiry is finally here to lay speculations to rest as the President is committed to fighting corruption with all available means.
Dr. Francis said that it is not going to be a
witch-hunt because it will also set the pace for their administration to be accountable since they are now in governance.
Dr. Francis said that International Instruments such as the World Bank Stolen Assets Recovery Program and the United Kingdom Government Serious Fraud Office are in place to help trace stolen investments overseas as their involvement will seek to establish facts, rather than witch-hunt.
The Minister of Information and Communications, Mohamed Rahman Swarray said that fighting corruption has always been part of President Bio’s agenda even before winning the elections. He said that it is better to communicate to the public to clear all assumptions so that they will be kept abreast of the processes involved in the Inquiry.