FREETOWN (Reuters) – Sierra Leone’s anti-corruption commission has indicted six officials on corruption allegations, including an opposition frontrunner for the 2023 presidential election.

Samura Kamara was the presidential candidate for the opposition All People’s Congress (APC) party in the 2018 election and is their presumed candidate for the 2023 election.

The others include the head of the chancellery and the former and current financial attachés of the country’s mission to the United Nations in New York.

The six are charged with various corruption counts involving $ 4.2 million intended for the renovation of the Sierra Leone Chancellery building in Manhattan.

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According to a statement released Thursday evening by the commission, Kamara is charged with two counts, including embezzlement of public funds in the amount of $ 2,560,000 intended for the reconstruction of the chancellery building.

He was Minister of Foreign Affairs at the time of the alleged wrongdoing.

Kamara said his legal team was studying the indictment. His campaign team denied any wrongdoing in a short statement, saying his “forty years of public service, his unblemished character have never been called into question either nationally or internationally.”

Hundreds of Kamara supporters accompanied him when he was questioned at the anti-corruption commission headquarters in Freetown earlier this month, saying the charges were politically motivated. The supporters clashed with the police who used tear gas to disperse them.

The six men are due in court on December 10, according to the commission’s statement.

(Reporting by Umaru Fofana; Editing by Nellie Peyton and Michael Perry)

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