President Julius Maada Bio has announced the dismissal of Lahai Lawrence Leema from his role as the Deputy Minister of Internal Affairs, The President has subsequently named Mr. Moriba Koroma as the new Deputy Minister of Internal Affairs.
The dismissal of Leema comes in the wake of allegations surrounding Leema’s purported involvement in the extra-judicial killings of citizens during the curfew hours of the August 10th protests.
Earlier reports had surfaced, indicating that the former Internal Affairs Minister had been excluded from the 2023 election campaign team due to his alleged role in the August 10th protests.
These allegations led to his subsequent invitation to appear before the Special Committee, a body instituted by President Bio to investigate the events of August 10th. The Committee, however, noted that Leema failed to attend the scheduled meetings, despite multiple invitations extended to him.
In response to the accusations, Leema explained that he had not been properly informed about his inclusion in the Committee. He stated that he received a last-minute call from Rtd. Colonel Njoto, informing him of his required presence at the Committee meeting. Leema further elaborated that he had notified the caller of his lack of prior notification and indicated his unavailability due to other commitments. He assured that he would be willing to participate if the meeting was rescheduled.
Leema vehemently denied receiving any subsequent communication from the Committee until he was contacted by the Coordinator of the Office of National Security (ONS), who accused him of deliberately evading the Committee’s inquiries.
The former minister expressed his disappointment at the lack of direct communication from the Committee to discuss the events of August 10th. He characterized the situation as an unfortunate attempt to tarnish his reputation both among Sierra Leoneans and in the eyes of the President.
Senior members of the party reportedly advised Leema to step away from his role due to the mounting allegations against him. His name had been implicated in numerous controversies, leading to concerns about his suitability for a prominent position within the government.