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Sierra Leone court orders opposition leader’s arrest for suspected graft

SIERRA Leone’s Court of Appeal has ordered the arrest of the opposition candidate who was runner-up in presidential elections this year for suspected corruption linked to the sale of government shares in a mining company, it said in a statement.

Samuel Kamara was the candidate for the opposition All People’s Congress Party (APC) in 2018 and in June.

He was indicted in 2021 for alleged graft involving a separate matter when he was foreign minister. The trial is ongoing and he denies wrongdoing.

The Court of Appeal on Tuesday ordered Kamara to be arrested and handed over to the anti-corruption commission for questioning over a “shady” deal involving the 2012 sale of government shares in a local mining company, Sierra Rutile Limited. Kamara was finance minister at the time.

His legal team had appealed against the commission’s accusations, citing lack of evidence. But judges dismissed the appeal, saying there was no documentation on the sale and that the former government was not aware of it.

They ordered Kamara to refund the current government around $727,000 within two weeks or provide evidence of the contrary.

The head of Kamara’s legal team, Ady Macauley, said the judgment was “perverse” and that they had they had taken the case to the Supreme Court.

President Julius Maada Bio set up a commission of inquiry after he was first elected in 2018 to investigate alleged state corruption under the previous administration. His predecessor was an APC candidate.

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Kamara in 2021 was among six officials charged with various counts of graft involving $4.2 million meant for the renovation of Sierra Leone’s chancery building in Manhattan.

The anti-corruption commission at the time said Kamara had misappropriated public funds amounting to $2,560,000 meant for the chancery building’s reconstruction when he was foreign minister.

By The African Mirror