CARL-SL welcomes indictment of City Mayor and others
Freetown, Sierra Leone: The Centre for Accountability and Rule of Law (CARL) welcomes the indictment of eight officials of the Freetown City Council (FCC), including Mayor Herbert George-Williams, who stand accused of conspiracy to commit corruption, misappropriation of public funds, breach of procurement guidelines, among others. Two others, including a former Ministry of Heath employee and a private business man, were indicted for their role in the alleged corruption.
While we fully respect and advocate for strict adherence to the principle of presumption of innocence, these indictments should remind us about the devastating effects of collusion between public officials and private individuals in corrupt ventures on the country. Just as important is the reminder about the powers of the Anti-Corruption Commission.
“In filing indictments against these officials, the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) has once again demonstrated that it truly has the statutory powers to investigate and prosecute anyone , regardless of their status”, CARL-SL’s Executive Director Ibrahim Tommy said. CARL-SL strongly urges the Commission to exercise these powers at all times, regardless of the status of individuals involved.
The ten persons joined many other indictees facing corruption-related charges, including former officials of the 50th Independence Anniversary Committee, and we urge all parties concerned to dispose of these cases in a fair and expeditious manner. In light of this, we particularly urge theAppeals Court to adjudicate corruption-related cases on appeal without undue delay. It is about time closure was brought to some of the Anti-Corruption cases.
CARL-SL also commends the Anti-Corruption Commission for the swift commencement of investigations into the alleged timber logging for export, following the Aljazeera documentary that portrayed private individuals and government officials as accomplices. We fully support the ACC’s call for unfettered access to all persons and documents required as part of the investigations. Accountability matters!
by CARL-SL, Freetown
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