Former S Leone VP, minister held for alleged graft


FREETOWN: Sierra Leone’s former vice-president and an ex-minister were arrested on corruption charges on Thursday, a day after a report alleged “rampant” graft in the previous regime.
Victor Bockarie Foh, who served as former leader Ernest Bai Koroma’s deputy till April, and former mines minister Minkailu Mansaray, were held at the anti-corruption commission (ACC), the body’s head said.
“We have indicted the former vice president Victor Bockarie Foh on four charges over misuse of public funds,” Francis Ben Kaifala told reporters.
“This is a war against corrupt officials.”
On Wednesday, a report commissioned by the new government said “rampant corruption” in the former administration had led to the “near collapse” of the West African nation’s economy.
President Julius Maada Bio took office in early April after a tumultuous election campaign in which he targeted corruption, ending a decade-long rule by the All People’s Congress (APC).
The APC said the arrests were a “witch hunt” and were meant to distract the public from the “complete failure” of Bio’s first months in office.
One of the world’s poorest nations despite huge mineral and diamond deposits, Sierra Leone’s economy is still recovering from war and disease and remains fragile with investors slowly returning, while corruption is widespread.