President of Sierra Leone comes clean

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President Ernest Bai Koroma has declared his assets to the country’s Anti-Corruption Commission. He becomes the first Head of state in Sierra Leone to do so.

The president and other public officials, under a new law, must declare their assets and revise them annually, even when they leave office. The president said the new law was a turning point, and a move to rid the country of corrupt officials.

President Koroma won elections last year on an anti-corruption ticket. ‘I believe this is a clear indication of our commitment as a government to fight corruption,’ he said during a ceremony at the State House on Monday.

Mr Koroma declared that his assets included properties, vehicles, interest on shares, and a few other items. Asked to approximate their worth, the president said that his assets would be valued in the hundreds of thousands of dollars – not millions.

Anti-corruption commissioner Abdul Tejan-Cole called the new law a ‘truly historic opportunity.’ Corruption is seen as one of the reasons for the outbreak of civil war in the country in the 1990s. It is also seen as the reason the country has been almost consistently at the bottom of the UN’s human development index, despite its huge mineral resources.

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