Sierra Leone prepares for UNCAC implementation review
The United Nation Convention against Corruption (UNCAC) Implementation Review Mechanism ensures compliance and implementation of the UNCAC resolution 58/4 by state parties to the Convention, Sierra Leone will be one of the countries to be reviewed by representatives from UNCAC. This information was disclosed by ACC at a one day seminar at the implementation review of UNCAC, (Sierra Leone) Country Review held at the Hill Valley Hotel in Freetown.
The aim of the UNCAC seminar was to review state parties’ compliance to the Convention and implementation of the UNCAC resolutions. Sierra Leone has been selected to be reviewed by Thailand and Benin.
Giving an overview of UNCAC, the Chairperson, Mrs. Neneh Dabo, Director, of the Systems and Processes Review Department, said that Corruption is a multifaceted social, political and economic observable fact that affects all countries. Mrs. Dabo stated that Corruption undermines democratic institutions, slows economic development and contributes to governmental instability. She reiterated that UNCAC is the only comprehensive global framework against corruption. She noted that before the UNCAC there had been several attempts by other national and international agencies in the fight against graft. The Director opined that as we now live in a global village there was need for cohesion in mapping the way forward in implementing the Convention. Mrs. Dabo informed the audience that regardless of political convictions on the side of the state, Sierra Leone is represented clearly when it adopted and negotiated this convention. She added that the convention is a comprehensive framework which clearly stipulates how state parties should engage in formulation of policies by looking at the legal framework in ensuring effective implementation of UNCAC. She concluded by stating that the fact of the strategy should not be left to the ACC but all other arms of government including Finance, Police, Procurement, Civil Society, the Media, and Information among others are there to give credence to the progress of Sierra Leone in the implementation o f the provisions of UNCAC.
The Executive Representative of the Secretary General (ERSG), Michael Schulenburg, representing the United Nations Peace building office in Sierra Leone (UNIPSIL), expressed appreciation for the country’s effort in implementing the UNCAC resolutions. Mr. Schulenburg said the scourge of corruption is responsible for the high level of poverty in the country. The ESRG informed the gathering that many efforts have been made in the past including of course national and international bodies to fight corruption. He said before the UNCAC was adopted by the United Nations general Assembly by a Task Force in 2003 Sierra Leone was a signatory to that Convention and subsequently ratified the convention on the 30th November 2004. Following the ratification, the Convention came to force in December 2005. The review mechanism instituted is to ensure that certain provisions are implemented to guarantee that strong, efficient and effective measures are in place in the implementation process . The ESRG informed the audience that the essence of the day’s meeting was to raise awareness on the review mechanisms and to prepare our partners for the reporting process that is under way. Mr. Schulenburg said that the review process is to identify successes and challenges encountered by Sierra Leone and the fulfillment of how the instrument was implemented as well as good practices adopted in the implementation issues of UNCAC. He maintained that the report should be transparent, inclusive and impartial. He concluded by calling on the audience to take keen interest to see that Sierra Leone achieves international recognition in the fight against corruption.
Mrs. Ebun Jusu, Deputy Minister of Foreign, Affairs and International Cooperation in her presentation said that the stance of government is zero tolerance to orruption. One of the recommendations of the convention highlighted was the need for the establishment of the Review Mechanism that would enable the UNCAC to move from words to deeds; and further build the momentum required to make progress to overcome corruption amongst member states.
The essence of the review process should not be over emphasized bearing in mind that Sierra Leone is a post war country with great potential for socio-economic growth. The essence of the implementation review, Mrs. Jusu noted, was to focus on key areas that the government needs to strengthen especially preventive measures, international cooperation and Asset Discovery. She called on all stakeholders to concentrate on developing modern good practices as a priority. These she added include implementing legislations, laws and administrative procedures as well as ensuring that they are disseminated to the public. She emphasized that these priority areas should be noted as a result of public concern about corruption. In conclusion, she said that this review process should be transparent with pportunities for participation by Civil Society, Government institutions and the private sector.
Speaking on the theme “A Country Update on UNCAC” Mr. Joseph Fitzgerald Kamara, Commissioner of the Anti Corruption Commission, revealed that Sierra Leone is among the first countries to have signed and ratified the Convention. Speaking on the importance of the ratification, the Commission said that the essence is to promote and set measures in preventing and combating corruption, promote and facilitate international support of cooperation and assistance and promote integrity, accountability and proper management. The Commissioner said it is highly significant when a state ratifies a convention and moves another stage further to implement that legislation. He stated that there are three stages in implementing the Convention i.e. Public education, criminalization and international cooperation. He revealed that the Anti Corruption Commission (ACC) is one of the most effective Anti Corruption body in the world; because of the Anti Corruption Act of 2008 which empowers the ACC of Sierra Leone not only to investigate but also to prosecute without the interference of the Attorney General and Minister of Justice. He assured the audience that Sierra Leone has made so much progress in the fight against corruption yet we are not appreciative of ourselves.
The commissioner further informed the audience that the Commission has published codes of conducts, service charters and lots of policy initiatives for government Ministries, Departments and Agencies. He spoke on the first phase of decentralization of the activities of the Commission with the presence of District Coordinators in all the twelve districts in the country. Highlighting the successes made by the Commission, Mr. Kamara revealed that the ACC has the highest number of prosecution in Africa. He reported that in the last four years the Commission has prosecuted 70 cases. Mr. Kamara said that the fight against corruption is a collective responsibility which includes other institutions in the both the public and private sectors as well international partners and cooperation. Mr. Kamara concluded by calling on all stakeholders and other pillars of integrity for their support in the anti corruption drive in Sierra Leone.
Statements were also made by representatives from the Sierra Leone Transparency International National Chapter and the National drug law enforcement agency.
Stay with Sierra Express Media, for your trusted place in news!
© 2011, https:. All rights reserved.