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Abdul Tejan-Cole’s ACC wins attention in Jamaica

Abdul Tejan-Cole’s ACC wins attention in Jamaica

The conviction of Sierra Leone’s former Health and Environment minister, Mr. Sheku Tejan Koroma on corruption charges has been quoted by the Contractor-General of Jamaica, Greg Christie as one that should serve as a lesson for Jamaicans to emulate. The Contractor General in Jamaica is the corruption Czar whose duties like the ACC, seeks to ensure transparency, efficiency, impartiality and integrity in the awarding of government contracts, licenses, permits and other concessions. (Photo: Greg Christie, Contractor-General of Jamaica)

According to a newspaper article titled “Corruption Strangling Ja” which was published in the Jamaica Observer newspaper on March 12th, 2010, “Contractor General Greg Christie has described corruption as a scourge that is strangling Jamaica to death and used the conviction yesterday of Sierra Leone’s former Health and Environment minister on corruption charges to urge journalists to focus on breaches of trust in relation to the Government’s contract procurement process.”

In an e-mail pointing the media to the conviction of Sheku Tejan Koroma, Christie said it should encourage the press to “focus upon, and give deep thought to, similar issues with which we are currently faced here in Jamaica, particularly as they relate to matters which have to do with public procurement and government contracting and the abuse of office on the part of those in whom the Jamaican taxpayer has reposed his/her confidence”

He pointed out, as well, that the story spoke to the fact that no one, including ministers of government, are considered to be above the law, and “the fearlessness and forthrightness with which those who are entrusted with the responsibility to lead the State’s anti-corruption, law-enforcement and prosecutorial institutions get their jobs done… without fuddling, without making excuses, and without fear and without favour”.

It is further reported that Christie also said that the success story in Sierra Leone highlighted “the unbelievable expedition with which matters, such as corruption offences, which are deemed to be gravely inimical to the public interest, are dealt with in other jurisdictions which are demonstrably serious about tackling corruption”.

The conviction of Sheku Koroma and now the 17 count charges levied against the Minister of Fisheries and Marine Resources, Haja Afsatu Kabba and her Permanent Secretary, Mr. Paul Sandy should not be seen as a surprise move by the ACC. These two lessons will prove to detractors of ACC that the business of corruption is no longer business as usual under the helm of Abdul Tejan-Cole. 

By Christian F. Sesay, Texas

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