ACC boss talks tough
In an exclusive media coverage by this press at the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC), Commissioner Francis Ben Kaifala Esq asserted that the ACC is the peoples’ Commission, after dilated on the fact that people have to be involved in the fight against corruption, as Sierra Leone is at its cross roads. He vehemently erupted that the line has been drawn against corruption, adding that it is a malaise, it is a wrong, it is a disease. In another tone, he affirmed that a lot of efforts have been made over the years continuing to fight this societal threat and that corruption should not be business as usual.
However, Ben Kaifala elucidated NASSIT, EBOLA funds, Youth Farm, NATCOM and other institutions alleged of corrupt practices, but investigations are ongoing. On the issue of EBOLA FUNDS, he reiterated that high profiled public official would be exposed and persecuted if found guilty. In a rather vigorous tone, he uttered that and I quote “The Youth farm investigation has been completed. Drivers’ Union investigations have been completed, awaiting legal action. NATCOM investigations are half way successful as someone has paid $ 40,000.00 on Wednesday 7th November, 2018. Passport investigations have been completed and will certainly go to court. Investigations that touched the survival of Sierra Leone will not be negotiated. Abdul Barrie, deputy minister of works established a business enterprise in the name of his wife and was awarding contracts to that same business. He was arrested and imprisoned for seven (7) days. Trials on conflicts of interest matters will not be settled at all. They must go to court and Mr. Barrie is still an accused person”.
On tax issues, ACC Boss asserted that tax makes the country survives and it is their mandate according to Section 48 of the Anti- Corruption Act to investigate tax liabilities. To further substantiate that statement, he said failing to pay tax for Two (2) years, the defaulted business should be closed. According to Ben Kaifala, Saint Mary’s super market and Fawaz building materials predominantly topped the chart in terms of tax liabilities, among others. Kaifala took collective credence on the 71% ranking given to Sierra Leone in treaty to the robust fight against corruption, after urging Members of the Forth Estate and CSO’s that the fight against corruption is a collective responsibility. Though he did not respond to a question posed by a seasoned Journalist satisfactorily, as to the current standing of DSTV publication, in a rather relaxed mood he boasted that his institution has enjoyed 95% of positive media coverage, but that does not mean that they should not be criticized where they will act unprofessionally.
A Media Representative, Abu Bakarr Sheriff of the Concord Times Newspaper opined that the Commission has been driven with renowned energy to fight corruption. Sheriff laid emphasis on the right to access information, whistle blowing, training Journalists on ACC Acts and procedures, recovering of wealth amassed from public coffers of the past and current government officials considered significant in the fight against corruption, declaration of Assets by those in the public service and perpetual provision of diligent services by the Media.
Moses Mambu, been the Representative of Civil Society Organizations (CSO’s), hypothesized that CSO’s have a broader platform in the fight against corruption. He swiftly asked for basic training to be facilitated to community people, as they have been working assiduously to take ACC right across the country. In an excited mood, Mambu made an outburst that his organization wants to tap into the resources of the ACC as there is a synergy in partnership. That well attended conference came to an end after the chairman kindly craved the indulgence of Media Practitioners to embark on investigative Journalism.
By: Allieu Badara Kamara
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