The SLPP opposotion presidential candidate, Julius Maada Bio, will face charges of extortion and criminal conduct, as two international businessmen inform this press of their intention to pursue private prosecution against the SLPP flag-bearer and former military dictator. The timing could not be more crucial as it means Bio will be subjected to remand in prison whilst investigators pursue the matter with already substantial and overwhelming evidence in the offing. The businessmen, (names withheld for now) are claiming that Julius Maada Bio defrauded them of huge sums of money with promises of high returns when they parted with their cash to a man they thought they could trust because of his past status as former head of state. The men were shocked to learn that Bio as Head of State had engaged in selling the country’s passports to rogue Asian businessmen in exchange for hundred’s of thousands of dollars that was then stashed away in tax-free havens under secret bank accounts.
The government cannot prevent the prosecution from going ahead as it is a private matter initiated by people who feel aggrieved after being duped by Maada Bio in big business dealings that went wrong. The businessmen said they have already contacted private prosecutors in the country and they will pursue the matter immediately after the November elections in order not to be seen as interfering in the democratic process of choosing the next president of Sierra Leone. Families of 29 people who were murdered in cold blood during Maada Bio’s tenure as head of state are also pushing for an inquest into their deaths. But the government may have been reluctant to pursue the matter because of the wider political implications as Bio is contesting for the presidency, but the possibility does exist for authorities to explore avenues for such after the all-important elections are over.
It has also been reported that the United States Embassy refused entry visa to Julius Maada Bio as it is US policy not to grant entry visa to human rights abusers. If at all Bio is even awarded entry to the US, he may also face charges of battery over outstanding issues of domestic abuse involving his estranged wife, Frances, who still resides in the country. The former Junta frontman was also reported to have been asked to voluntary leave the US after various incidents involving fracas with his wife, or face outright deportation.
Bio who has shown reckless behaviour recently by asking his rag-tag militia of thugs to prevent a presidential motorcade from access to designated routes taking the Head of State, President Ernest Bai Koroma, to official business, is a tyrant whose thirst for power can only be matched by his insatiable apetite to loot the coffers of state, and may have a lot on his plate this time, as the evil that he has perpetrated may well come and hunt him after November.