Over Assets Declaration… APC Heads For Court

A very disgruntled National Secretary General of the main opposition All People’s Congress (APC), Ambassador Alhaji Dr. Osman Foday Yansaneh has pronounced that they as a political party would be taking the ruling Sierra Leone People’s Party (SLPP) Government to court over the issue of the Commissions of Inquiry (COIs) Secretariat’s directive to officials of the erstwhile  APC Government, including the President, Vice Presidents, Ministers and their Deputies, Chairmen and Heads of Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs), to declare their assets to the Commissions.

Ambassador Alhaji Dr Osman Yansaneh fumed that the directive for former APC officials to declare their assets is not supported by law. He challenged that the COIs Secretariat should have started with investigations into their assets before it would issue such directive. As such, he said, Persons of Interest (POIs) that have been invited to face the Commissions have four rights that must be respected – that they can choose to remain silent; that they have the right of being presumed innocent except otherwise proven by law that they are guilty of any corruption offenses; that they have the right to be protected from self-incrimination; and, that the onus of proof of whatever allegations have been made against the APC POIs lie with the COIs and not on the accused.

The COIs failing to take the above rights of the POIs into consideration, Ambassador Yansaneh said, is a violation of their rights, adding that the APC has sought the advice of their lawyers and would therefore take the matter to court.

The APC National Scribe denied emphatically that the party wants to frustrate the Government’s investigations into corruption, stating that the former APC Government officials have nothing to hide.

He maintained that if the investigations are not politically motivated, then the APC has nothing to fear and will cooperate with the investigations. He however feared a repeat of what he said happened during the NPRC military junta rule when people were falsely accused, arrested and imprisoned, as well as their properties seized.

Amb. Alhaji Dr. Yansaneh furthered that all of them had declared their assets to the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC). He therefore asserted that if people are saying that some erstwhile government officials have 200 houses and other claims, the COIs Secretariat can go to the Administrator General’s Office where title deeds for all properties in the country are lodged and find out those that belong to former APC Government officials.

Referencing the allegations made in the Governance Transition Team (GTT) Report which, according to the APC Secretary General, targeted only former APC officials leaving out civil servants, he opined that this latest move by the government is an attempt to demonize the former President, his Ministers and other officials that served under him that are already under investigation by the COIs. If this is the case, he said, it will make the country very insecure.