FREETOWN, (Reuters) – Sierra Leone’s former Vice President Victor Foh and former Mines Minister Minkailu Mansaray were arrested today on corruption charges, the head of the West African country’s anti-corruption commission said.
A separate commission appointed by President Julius Maada Bio alleged on Wednesday that corruption was “rampant” under his predecessor Ernest Koroma, including the theft of state property and the funnelling of state contracts to officials’ relatives and friends.
Representatives for Foh and Mansaray could not be immediately reached for comment. Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) head Francis Ben Kaifala said both men would be released on bail on Thursday afternoon.
Koroma has not yet responded to the accusations in Wednesday’s report but his APC party dismissed it as a politically-motivated witch hunt.
Bio defeated the APC’s candidate in a national election in March, promising to tackle graft and revive an economy devastated by a slump in commodity prices and an Ebola epidemic that peaked in 2014.
The presidential commission’s report said corruption and economic mismanagement under Koroma had left Sierra Leone’s economy on the brink of collapse, with external debt equal to almost half of gross domestic product.