Fighting Judicial Corruption: the Recipe for Change
Sierra Leoneans are certainly thankful for the progress made so far to ensure that the perennial issue of entrenched corruption that has been blamed for the backwardness of the country-thanks to the reforms President Koroma has been able to institute since his arrival on the boat to captain the affairs of state.
When the Anti Corruption Commission was born to combat the Â perpetual corruption that engulfed life and dispensation in the country, it was clear that many of what obtained in the commission and the government as a whole was to pay lip service to the then seemingly insurmountable hazard to the social and economic development of the country.Â
With the President Koroma regime, the laws to corruption have been changed, enhanced and empowered to serve as deterrent to the broad day corrupt practice that became the order of the day in public and state dispensation. Added to that, other administrative reforms such as the minimizing corrupt tendencies in the collection of the country’s revenue and taxes by introducing the GST (a compendium of seven taxes), goes a long way to ensuring that tax evasion and embezzlement of public money is greatly minimized.
The fact also that some public and government officials have been dismissed, placed under criminal investigation, named and shamed, is certainly the in right path under way to stamp-out this ever so tormenting issue of corruption that has impaired the needed growth and development of the country.
But with all this in place the truth and gospel truth is: not much has actually done to ensure that corruption is nipped on the bud, laid to rest and allow life and development in the country to go without having the fear that corruption comes hunting whatever effort and resources put to salvaged the country’s growth will most definitely be infected by this cancerous virus called corruption.
The problem and worries in this vein is as many other writers have time and again agreed with me stops with the judiciary. Judicial corruption as has been noted as one of the main if not the foremost contributing factors that has hung unto the development of the country. Much of the reason for the outbreak of the civil war that lasted for more than ten years was a Siamese to judicial corruption as much so is the fact that the reason why little or no head way has been seen in the way to ending the current entrenched corrupt state of the country.
Whatever the reasons are, it is just too apparent and crystal clear that our judiciary is very much the bastion and mainstay of corruption in the country. Let’s start with the fact that it is no secret that the judiciary is no different from the central government, function and operation-wise, the two are so inter-related that one can almost say there is virtually no separation of powers and functions as dictated by the tenets of democracy and civility. There is hardly any case that could be won against well placed government officials say the least of the fact that cases can be proffered against corrupt but rich government officials.
For this reason and more, our law courts are a clog of unattended cases some having been there between five and ten years. Judgments are hardly made in the courts in controversial cases where the poor man might have got a little edge of the rich and affluent. Time and again, people working in the reformation of the justice sector and officials at the Prisons Department have always pin-pointed this fact as the reason why the Pademba Road Maximum Prison has been over populated to the extent that, the very security of the jail is in jeopardy. Â
But somehow, the judiciary seems to be going about this all with apt immunity whilst this shameless state of affairs continues to lay siege to both the government’s drive to fight corruption and the country’s overall development
As such, corruption will still rein supreme, nobody with the means to hold justice at bay will fear being indicted for corrupt practices, the poor and innocent will surely continue to suffer in the hands of those that can use the judiciary intimidate the poor man and backstab justice downright.
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