Is the Financial Investigations Unit Investigating the Chief Minister?

Many Sierra Leoneans have continued to ask questions since news broke out that the country’s Chief Minister was embroiled in a controversy over USD 1.5 million allegedly lodged into his EcobanK Account.
Managing Editor, Times Sierra Leone Newspaper had sent a text message to the Chief Minister asking for clarifications on ongoing investigations by the FIU regarding USD 1.5 million dollars deposited into the Chief Minister’s account.
Fast forward we saw the arrest of the journalist on Monday by Police of the Criminal Investigations Department, using very crude and barbaric means rather than complying with the established Criminal Procedure Act of Sierra Leone which would have required them to introduce themselves and make very plain the reasons for the arrest of the journalist.
But we in this medium are merely concerned about the continuing silence of the FIU amidst this hullabaloo surrounding the Chief Minister in a government that prides itself in fighting corruption.
The credibility of our ACC Czar was also brought into question by the fact that he called the journalist few minutes after he sent the text to the Chief Minister.
His attempts to lure the journalist to bring his evidence to his commission even when the journalist was yet to publish, was suspicious.
Amidst this controversy we have seen the ACC Commissioner concluding that officials of EcobanK have told him that Chief Minister has no account at the bank, but at the same time he is also saying they are investigating as a commission.
We have also seen a release from SL Mining denying the claim by the journalist, we do not expect them to answer based on the circumstances surrounding the payment of the alleged kickbacks.
Pro-Government newspapers and media handlers have also taken up muscles to defend the Chief Minister whose office has earlier on produced a release to attempt to cover up the arrest of the journalist and the ensuing allegations.
The FIU, a covert institution that monitors the accounts of various individuals across all our banks in the country, should come out clean and say whether they are investigating the Chief Minister largely because the journalist is quoting the FIU as the basis for his allegations.
While we might not be asking for the nitty- gritty of their investigations but at least as citizens we have the right to know whether the FIU at any point in time had mounted an investigation around the alleged lodging of USD1.5 million into the Chief Minister’s account at ECOBANK.
At least a release from the FIU would lay the issue to rest.
The present social media attacks and rantings against a certain lady working for the FIU as responsible for leaking the news to the journalist, is very unfortunate and the best for the FIU to do is to come out clean and explain.
The role and nature of security institutions is becoming very transparent and accountable by the day and it is now their business to open-up their activities to the tax payers even though certain aspect of their work still remains secrete.

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