An order for the arrest of the former head of Sierra Leone’s immigration service – Mr Kholifa Koroma, has been issued by police in Sierra Leone to INTERPOL.
The order for his arrest comes amid accusations of widespread fraud and corruption at the immigration service under his watch, including the unlawful issuing of Sierra Leone diplomatic passport to non-authorised government officials and private individuals.
An official at the Sierra Leone’s Anti- Corruption Commission (ACC) told the Sierra Leone Telegraph that the ACC has launched what he referred to as Operation “Eagle Claw” to help root out corrupt officials in various government departments.
Over a dozen people involved with producing and issuing service passports for people who are not in government service have so far been arrested.
Those arrested as part of president Julius Maada Bio’s drive to tackle corruption in Sierra Leone, include officials in the Immigration Service, Internal Affairs, Foreign Affairs, Administrator General’s office and private individuals.
In October 2014, Kholifa Koroma announced that 20,000 (Twenty thousand ) passports had arrived in the country from the United Kingdom, and will be made available to the public.
According to the ACC, an order for the arrest of Mr Kholifa Koroma was made after a government report published by the Governance Transition Team (GTT) recommended that “the issuance of Diplomatic passports be urgently reviewed and that the former Chief Immigration Officer, Kholifa Koroma, be investigated for his alleged complicity in the issuance of Diplomatic passports to hundreds of ineligible holders.
And that, “If sold to outsiders, the diplomatic passports could fetch millions of dollars. The former Chief Immigration Officer must be made to account for those passports.”