Sierra Leone Telegraph: 8 September 2019:
Sierra Leone’s Anti-Corruption Commissioner scored another big confidence booster with the public yesterday, after his investigators intercepted a major exams fraud in Freetown.
At 9:30 am yesterday morning, the ‘Scorpion Squad’ of the Anti-Corruption Commission supported by the Sierra Leone Police, raided Fatibu Technical Secondary School at Peacock Farm in Wellington, far east of the capital Freetown, where the general mathematics private WASSCE exam was being conducted with answers fed to private students taking the exam.
Most of those taking the private WASSCE exams are former school pupils that had failed the exams previously and now doing a repeat. Many of the schools are merely being used as examination centres and may not be directly involved in the private examination fraud.
According to ACC report, “the ACC received Intelligence that the Principal of the School and teachers were collecting Le1,000,000.00 (One Million Leones) from willing pupils to facilitate them to be spoon fed answers while exam was ongoing. Those who complied and paid were taken to the Staff room where they would then have answers replicated by teachers and transcribed.
“Those scripts would be collected and compiled with those of the other students in the normal exam room. The Principal coordinated and kept men at strategic locations to avoid any one approaching to thwart their cheating scheme which apparently has been going on for years.
“The ACC Scorpion Squad struck with precision, arresting all the pupils and the teachers responsible, including the Principal of the School. One female pupil collapsed and has been taken to the hospital. Others who broke the ceiling of the staff room so as to escape, were similarly rounded up and detained but some escaped.
“They had a tray with already solved answers, a photocopier and a transcription system for easy redistribution of answers completed by teachers. All will be detained at CID forthwith pending further investigations.”
A similar raid was carried out at a private residence in Aberdeen in Freetown in December 2018 by the ACC, where they arrested 71 persons.
Yesterday’s bog scoop by the ACC, came as report of a 95% failure rate by Sierra Leone at this year’s WASCE examination went viral last week, to the disappointment of citizens, as the ACC fights hard to disrupt the culture of corruption in education which has been helping students to pass their exams through bribery.
Speaking to the Sierra Leone Telegraph about yesterday’s breakthrough by the ACC, the ACC commissioner – Francis Ben Kaifala said: : “In this fight, there are no tigers. We are going after corruption wherever it is and expose the schemers for all to see, without fear or favour.”
Last Thursday, 5 September 2019, the Anti-Corruption Commissioner and his staff presented their 2018 Annual Report to president Julius Maada Bio in accordance with Section 19(1) of the ACC Act of 2008.
ACC Commissioner – Lawyer Francis Ben Kaifala, said that by all indications 2018 has proven to be very good for the fight against corruption in Sierra Leone.
The ACC boss highlighted key areas covered by the 52-page report, including the increase in conviction rate, increase in the revision of systems and processes to entrench prevention activities in the country, increase in a lot of activities done by the Commission, especially public education and progressions in the indexes that control corruption across the board.
“This report covers half of the time which the New Direction took over to run the campaign against corruption; and that period itself has been most successful in terms of the results we have produced. We are thankful for the support we are having from the President, his government and the people of Sierra Leone. We are pleased with the will that is coming from the President and assure you of our determination to win this fight,” Kaifala said.
Receiving the report, president Julius Maada Bio thanked the ACC team for adhering to their statutory obligation. He commended them for their hard work and diligence to the fight against corruption in the country. He said the ACC had done quite a lot since the new leadership took over for which he is pleased, and further encouraged them to do more.
“The fight against corruption is a fight we will fight and win. Too many people suffer when corruption takes the centre stage and chokes up the development process and that had been the situation in this country. We have never really benefitted a lot from our natural resources because of corruption. If we are serious about development, then we must be serious about the fight against corruption, so I want to commend you for the good work,” president Bio said.