ACC Commissioner tells stakeholders about the cost of corruption to Sierra Leone
The Commissioner of the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) has told stakeholders in the fight against corruption countrywide about how corruption has adversely affected the development of Sierra Leone. Francis Ben Kaifala Esq. was speaking during his maiden regional tour of Bo, Kenema, Makeni and Kono respectively where he met with ACC staff and other stakeholders in the fight against corruption. (Photo: ACC Commissioner Francis Ben Kaifala Esq. addressing stakeholders)
The stakeholders include the police, military, local councils and other ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs) of government, paramount chiefs, civil society activists and the media.
Addressing stakeholders in Bo, the ACC Commissioner said the country has lost so much as a result of corruption. “Those businessmen who look at transparency indices before they can invest in countries will not come to Sierra Leone because of corruption.”
Mr. Kaifala also made reference to the $500 million Millennium Challenge Corporation grant which the country has failed to secure as a result of the country’s failure to pass the control of corruption indicator.
In Makeni, Mr. Kaifala told a jam-packed hall at the Makeni City Council that the fight against corruption is not about region, tribe or party; but a fight to save the soul of Sierra Leone.
In Kono, the ACC Commissioner said in little over a decade from now, the country will be celebrating the centenary anniversary of the discovery of the first diamond in the district. He said it is however sad that the diamonds have not manifested in the infrastructure and well-being of the people of the district.
“Corruption is a menace and a problem. But every problem has a solution,” he said in Kenema.
He said that is why he has declared a war on corruption; a war that the Commission will certainly win. He described the battle against corruption as one that will be “fierce but fair”. He called on stakeholders to be on the side of the Commission and work to minimize corruption, if not eradicate it.
The Commissioner told stakeholders in the regions about the steps he has taken to strengthen the fight against corruption including the setting up of a special court to try corruption cases at the premises of the former Special Court for Sierra Leone. “It is my fervent hope that the place that brought the war to an end will help to end corruption in this country,” he said.
The Commissioner also informed his audiences about his vision to expand the investigations and prosecutions arms of the ACC, so that cases will be handled efficiently and effectively. This, he said, will also help the Commission to provide answers to those questions people have been asking about certain cases.
He said the ACC will give some priority to preventive regimes by building the systems and processes of MDAs in a bid to ensure effective service delivery.
Mr. Kaifala also spoke on the need to review the Anti-Corruption Act 2008 and address some of the challenges in the assets declaration regime, especially the area of exit declaration by public officers, which he referred to as unfair to anti-corruption efforts.
The Deputy Commission of ACC Shollay Davies, who accompanied the Commissioner and chaired the meetings, told the stakeholders that the idea behind the Commissioner’s tour is for him to inform them about his plans and vision to fight against corruption in the country. Mr. Davies said the Commission now needs partners more than ever before in order to win the fight against corruption.
John Tarawally, ACC
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