Former Deputy Mines Minister’s Luxurious Makeni Residence Confiscated

By Amin Kef (Ranger)

In a significant legal development, the Court of Appeal Judges in Freetown, comprising Honourable Justices Komba Kamanda, Fatmatta Bintu Alhadi (presiding), and Tonia Barnett, issued a unanimous ruling on September 18, 2023, ordering the forfeiture of a lavish property owned by the former Deputy Minister of Mines, Abdul Ignosi Koroma, to the Government of Sierra Leone.

The genesis of this decision traces back to the establishment of the Commission of Inquiry by His Excellency Dr. Julius Maada Bio, President of Sierra Leone, under Constitutional Instrument No. 64 of 2018. The Commission, acting pursuant to Section 147 of the Constitution of Sierra Leone, Act No. 6 of 1991, was tasked with scrutinizing the assets and related matters of individuals who had served in the previous administration. Leading this investigative body was Justice Biobele Georgewill, who held the role of Chairman and Sole Commissioner.

Abdul Ignosi Koroma, a former Deputy Minister of Mines who had served in the All Peoples Congress (APC) led Government, mounted an appeal against the findings of the Commission of Inquiry, with his legal counsel, Ady Macauley, presenting ten grounds for contestation.

The Court of Appeal Judges, in their unanimous judgment, contended that the property in question, situated on Old Railway Line, Teko Road, Makeni City, Bombali District, was out of proportion with Abdul Ignosi Koroma’s reported allowances, salaries, and legitimate earnings.

“The appellant’s attempts to rationalize his actions failed to meet the evidentiary burden,” stated the Court of Appeal Judges.

According to Justice Biobele Georgewill, the assessed value of the Deputy Minister of Mines’ extravagant residence on Teko Road was determined to be Le. 6,400,000,000, a sum that exceeded what could be justified by his known sources of income, allowances, and legal earnings.

Additionally, the Commission of Inquiry uncovered that the Deputy Minister had neglected to declare his assets, a violation of the Anti-Corruption Act of 2008 as amended.

Moreover, the COI, in its March 2020 report, with specific regards to the sale of shares in Sierra Rutile Company, unearthed irregularities indicating an intent to defraud the Government of Sierra Leone. The Court of Appeal Judges upheld the COI’s findings in this regard.

Representing the State in this case was Robert B. Kowa.

Justice Komba Kamanda stated that the costs associated with the appeal would be borne by the appellant and would be subject to taxation if not agreed upon.

This ruling signifies a significant development in Sierra Leone’s ongoing efforts to combat corruption and ensure transparency in Government, underlining the commitment of the Judiciary to uphold the rule of law.


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