Kholifa Koroma was declared wanted by the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) and the Sierra Leone Police
Sierra Leone and UK signed an extradition agreement in 1974
New President Julius Maada Bio campaigned on a platform of fighting corruption
The Sierra Leone government says it has requested UK authorities to extradite its fugitive former immigration chief to answer charges of corruption.
Mr Alpha Kholifa Koroma is among about a dozen officials of former President Ernest Bai Koroma’s administration who have been accused of corruption.
The former immigration chief is wanted for his alleged involvement in a syndicate that illegally issued diplomatic and service passports to undeserving people.
Nine people, including a former Sierra Leonean UN envoy, Mr Allieu Kanu, who until recently served as head of the Independent Media Commission, were detained in a controversial sting operation involving officials of the US embassy in Freetown last month in relation to the issue.
Gone into hiding
Mr Kholifa Koroma was declared wanted by the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) and the Sierra Leone Police in August after it emerged that he had gone into hiding.
The Director of Outreach and Communication at ACC, Mr Patrick Sandi, last week said the issues were related to the Commission’s investigations at home.
“We are in touch with the agency and we are working on the necessary modalities for him to come to Sierra Leone and answer to charges and the other aspects will be addressed later,” Mr Sandi said.
Mr Kholifa Koroma, according to reports, was released on a three week’s bail ahead of his appearance in a London court.
Fulfil the promise
Sierra Leone and UK signed an extradition agreement in 1974 covering persons suspected of involvement in murder, bribery, money laundering, among other offences.
Mr Kholifa Koroma lived and worked in the UK before he was appointed by former President Koroma as Chief Immigration Officer in 2008. His term came to an end earlier this year following the March General Election.
New President Julius Maada Bio campaigned on a platform of fighting corruption. He has strived to fulfil the promise with the arrest of several former officials, including a former vice-president who was currently in court facing charges of misappropriation of public funds.
But President Bio’s critics, especially the main opposition All Peoples Congress (APC), have accused him of embarking on selective justice.
Sourec: The East African
By Kemoh Cham