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/ 8 May 2008

Court chases $375m from Charles Taylor’s banks

Prosecutors for Sierra Leone’s war crimes court are trying to track down -million they say vanished from two United States bank accounts held by former Liberian President Charles Taylor when he was forced from power in 2003. But lawyers defending the former warlord challenged prosecutors to produce evidence that Taylor had salted away state funds for his personal use.

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/ 24 April 2008

Rising food prices leave Sierra Leoneans bitter

As Sierra Leoneans prepare to celebrate the 47th anniversary of their country’s independence on Sunday, the mood is not festive, but bitter, as people find it more difficult to put food on the table. Rising food prices have swept the West African state, and have also raised expectations on the government to act to soften the blow for consumers.

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/ 15 March 2008

Sierra Leone hopes to ‘downsize’ army

Sierra Leone’s military chiefs are working on means to downsize from its current 10 000 soldiers to 8 500, Defence Minister Palo Conteh said on Friday, according to a state radio report. ”We cannot allow a large army …We have to downsize to a lean army that can react quickly to a given situation,” he said.

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/ 21 December 2007

Sierra Leone faces different kind of battle

Sierra Leone’s economy has, over the years, relied heavily on the mining sector in general and diamonds in particular. However, between 1991 and 2000 the country was comprehensively destroyed in a brutal civil war that engulfed the West African state. Seven years after the war was declared over, the country is still struggling to reactivate economic activities from yesteryear.

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/ 16 November 2007

S Leone leader promises ‘zero tolerance’ on graft

Sierra Leone President Ernest Bai Koroma promised ”zero tolerance” on Thursday for corruption in his country after a leaked government report said rampant official graft had swallowed up donor funds. Speaking at his formal inauguration in Freetown, the 54-year-old former insurance executive called for a change of attitude in the West African state.

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/ 14 October 2007

New Cabinet list finalised for Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone’s recently elected leader on Saturday released a complete list of his 20-strong government ministers, consisting mainly of technocrats and his party’s stalwarts. Three women — heading the foreign affairs, energy and social welfare portfolios — are on the list that is still subject to parliamentary approval.

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/ 25 September 2007

Sierra Leone arrests Guinean ‘pirates’

Sierra Leone arrested eight Guineans, including military personnel and fisheries inspectors, whom it accused of carrying out a pirate attack on two locally licensed fishing vessels, officials said on Monday. But Guinean authorities rejected the piracy charge, saying the men were on a legitimate fisheries protection patrol.

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/ 17 September 2007

Koroma wins tense Sierra Leone poll

Sierra Leone opposition leader Ernest Bai Koroma won the West African country’s presidential election after a tense run-off vote marred by some cases of fraud, the National Electoral Commission said on Monday. Koroma, a 53-year-old candidate of the opposition All People’s Congress, was declared the winner with 54,6% of valid votes.

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/ 14 September 2007

Sierra Leone presidential frontrunner vows war on graft

Sierra Leone opposition leader Ernest Bai Koroma, who looks set to win the West African country’s presidential election, says he will wage an implacable war on corruption and work to revive the war-scarred economy. With just over three-quarters of the votes counted from last week’s run-off poll, Koroma, of the All People’s Congress, has a commanding lead with 60%.

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/ 11 September 2007

Sierra Leone poll rivals squabble over results

Opposition leader Ernest Bai Koroma said he had won Sierra Leone’s presidential election but the ruling party accused him of trying to ”steal” the poll as more results were due on Tuesday from the tense weekend vote. Partial official results from just over a fifth of polling stations showed Koroma, of the All People’s Congress party, leading with 64%.

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/ 8 September 2007

S Leone chooses president under shadow of violence

Voting began calmly in Sierra Leone on Saturday despite a turbulent campaign for a presidential runoff vote meant to consolidate peace after a civil war. Rival groups of former combatants have clashed with guns and machetes in the former British colony since the first round on August 11 in which opposition candidate Ernest Bai Koroma of the All People’s Congress led with 44%.

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/ 5 September 2007

Sierra Leone calms media ahead of high-stakes poll

Sierra Leone media authorities are trying to tone down party political broadcasts alleging executions and machete attacks to try to defuse tensions ahead of a presidential run-off vote on Saturday. The poll, the culmination of the first elections since United Nations peacekeepers left, pits opposition leader Ernest Bai Koroma against Vice-President Solomon Berewa.

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/ 3 September 2007

S Leone poll contenders agree non-violence pact

Sierra Leone’s rival presidential contenders will lead supporters in a joint peace march to cement a pact against violence following clashes ahead of a run-off vote, their parties said on Monday. Opposition frontrunner Ernest Bai Koroma and his ruling party rival, Vice-President Solomon Berewa, agreed the deal in talks on Sunday.