Former President Koroma in Coup Probe: Agreed Restrictions in Investigation

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By Amin Kef (Ranger)

During a Press Conference held by the Ministry of Information and Civic Education on Tuesday, December 12, 2023, the Minister, Chernor Bah, provided a detailed update regarding recovered weapons and ongoing investigations. Highlighting the scale of the situation, 47 AK47s were reported stolen, with 29 successfully recovered and 18 still unaccounted for. Additionally, 7 RPGs were stolen, 5 have been recovered, while 2 remain outstanding, along with 100 empty magazines still at large.

The Inspector General of Police, William Fayia Sellu, disclosed that 80 suspects are currently in custody, encompassing various ranks and affiliations, including Military and Police Officers, civilians, and former President Dr. Ernest Bai Koroma. Of the detained individuals, 68 have already provided statements, which have been forwarded to the Attorney General’s Office for further action. Twelve suspects are still undergoing questioning as part of the ongoing investigation.

In a notable development, it was revealed that an agreement had been reached with the legal representatives and party executives of former President Dr. Ernest Bai Koroma. While the former President will not be held in a cell, he will be confined to his residence, with restricted visitation rights limited to family members and lawyers. His movements will be subject to approval by the Inspector General of Police, emphasizing his status as a suspect in the ongoing investigation related to the failed coup.

Furthermore, Minister of Trade and Industry,  Ibrahim Alpha Sesay, unveiled plans for the privatization of the Standard Bureau to bolster global standards. Stressing the need for enhanced capabilities in testing local produce for global markets, he assured the public of establishing a standardized laboratory soon to certify food items for export. Additionally, he projected a significant impact on cement and plywood prices with the imminent launch of two local cement factories next year, promising decreased prices due to increased domestic production.

He highlighted the collaborative efforts between the Ministry of Trade, Ministry of Finance, and National Revenue Authority aim to streamline import processes by establishing a unified platform for clearing goods at the Port, simplifying procedures for business entities.

Recognizing the significance of partnerships in fostering successful entrepreneurship, Isatu Harrison, the Founder of Creative Hub Africa, emphasized the pivotal role played by business collaborations, particularly with other organizations and Government bodies, in sustaining businesses over time.

Expressing gratitude to citizens for their cooperation, both the Minister of Information and Civic Education and the Inspector General of Police urged continued vigilance among the public to aid law enforcement in capturing fugitives. To incentivize participation, a reward of Nle50,000 was announced for any individual assisting the Police in locating these fugitives.

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