Sierra Leone Telegraph: 30 October 2019:
Sierra Leone’s Anti-Corruption Commissioner – Francis Ben Kaifala, yesterday ordered his ACC Scorpion Squad to arrest border officials running the entry and exit post at the border between Sierra Leone and Liberia, after a video showing two white men complaining about extortion and bribery by the border health officials.
The video which can be viewed below, sent shock waves across social media, as the two tourists complained of attempts by the officials to administer dangerous – possibly fatal vaccine, in a scam that could have cost their lives.
Yesterday’s swift and decisive action by the country’s Anti-Corruption Commissioner to arrest the border health officials, will go a long way to help rebrand Sierra Leone, as the country’s notorious corruption image continues to drive away credible foreign investors and tourists from entering the country.
Sierra Leone is losing hundreds of millions of dollars to corruption, and both president Bio and the ACC boss – Francis Ben Kaifala, have pledged to do whatever it takes to fight against corruption. (Photo: President Bio – right, receiving cheque from the head of the ACC – Francis Ben Kaifala).
This is what a statement by the ACC said about the arrest:
“Following a widely circulated video from two American Tour Bloggers about Ministry of Health Staff attached to the border crossing with Liberia extorting $150 from them in a fake scam about Cholera Vaccine, the ACC’s Scorpion Squad have this morning arrested and detained three identified staff, including the gentleman seen in the video processing the tourists, for further investigation.
“The Scorpion Squad were immediately invoked by the Commissioner after reviewing the video last night and they moved in and set an intelligence perimeter around the border crossing point from at night. They then moved in with precision to arrest the said staff as they came in this morning for work having confirmed their identities and locations.
“They are being transported to the Commission in Freetown by the ACC team stationed in Bo to answer for the shame and disrespect they have brought to the country and its people should the investigations confirm their alleged actions.
“The ACC is currently taking steps to locate the tour bloggers so they can assist with the investigation and have the money taken from them refunded. We will be grateful if they, or anyone who knows their whereabouts, can contact the ACC before they leave for Guinea.
“The ACC assures the Public that it will leave no stone unturned to help launder the image of the country and to hold the corrupt responsible for their actions and crimes.”
Following the publication of this statement by the ACC, the two tourists have been alerted. They have posted another video on social media, this time praising the government of Sierra Leone and the ACC for their swift action in arresting the rogue officials.
Sierra Leone needs to develop its tourism industry and encourage foreign investments in key sectors of the economy, if it is to end poverty. But it cannot achieve this until it can change its corruption image.
Yesterday’s action by the ACC will most certainly go a long way in rebranding Sierra Leone, and create a conducive climate for business to grow and thrive.
Following the publication of the ACC statement and a personal apology sent to the two men by the ACC Commissioner, the two men then posted this follow-up video:
There is a lot of cleaning up of the mess and chaos left behind, after decades of unpatriotic and selfish leadership. The schools, the hospitals, the immigration, customs you name it… … CORRUPTION, EMBEZZLEMENT, MISMANAGEMENT, UNPATRIOTIC MINDSET – the list can go on and on with no relief for poor SALONE!!!
We are at our best creating political confusion, political sycophancy, zero tolerance towards other minded citizens, and the belief that by saying Amen thousand times a day will cure us. There is a lot of work to do, that’s why I keep on calling for our political parties to have progressive and smart leadership, instead of ‘good-for-nothing, half-backed political idiots’. I wish the government and us all the strength and wisdom necessary to continue the fight to eradicate this cancer in SALONE!
This is amazimg but with great satisfaction. Sierra Leoneans will now begin to believe that the new direction government is willing to curb corruption at all levels in the country. Kudos to the Anti-Corruption Commissioner and team! May God bless you all!!
I will hold my breath until the matter has been investigated and prosecuted. The ACC can do its job. But what about the Judiciary which is where I think the problem still lies in Sierra Leone. You would wonder why it took the judiciary two years to come to the conclusion of the SLFA corruption case. And of course, it was delayed until the regime that indicted the culprits were booted out of power.
Why has it taken almost two years to complete the HAJJ case against former VP Foh? I will not celebrate this as a success until the judiciary comes clean.