President Bio vows to set up special anti-corruption court
President Julius Maada Bio has vowed to set up a special anti-corruption division in the High Court of Sierra Leone to promote judicial specialization and expeditious trial of corruption cases. He made the statement on Thursday at the State Opening of Parliament.
The policy outlined by the President is in line with calls by civil society organisations and the Commissioner of the ACC Ady Macauley Esq. for the Government to dedicate a special court within the Criminal Division of the High Court of Sierra Leone in a bid to ensure a speedy trial of ACC cases. The ACC Commissioner recently made reference to the stockpile of cases, especially the 50th Independence Anniversary, which have been in court for a very long time.
The President, while outlining his policy to tackle corruption in the country, described the scourge as being rife in Sierra Leone, rebuking acts in the past when Government ministers were made to serve in public offices after being convicted for acts of corruption. “My Government will treat corruption not only as a governance issue but also as a national security threat. It will therefore leave no stone unturned in its fight against corruption,” the President added.
President Bio also said his administration will review section 119 of the 1991 Constitution of Sierra Leone and the Anti-Corruption Act 2008 to strengthen the ACC’s investigative and prosecutorial mandate, with respect to the audit reports tabled before Parliament by the Audit Service Sierra Leone. This, he said, is to ensure that the Commission can investigate issues in the audit reports without recourse to wait for parliamentary investigations.
The President also said his government will ensure the full implementation of the recommendations of the annual audit report and “adopt a new framework to ensure accountability and transparency in the public sector in the form of a public sector transparency and accountability initiative to subject the public sector to more scrutiny.”
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