Another big success for Sierra Leone’s Anti-Corruption Commissioner Kaifala

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.

9 Comments

  1. Late Foday Sankoh said that the main reason they took up arms was to fight against CORRUPTION. You people need to use your God given sense and stop politicizing and tribabalising even such methods to curb corruption. Democracy does not mean to encourage bad practices and turn blind eye to them.

    lt is stated in the books that when evil occurs, try changing it with your hand, your tongue and your heart/mind. Like minded Africans like those, deserve such example. So if you didn’t play with smelly stuff, you do not need to smell your hands. It seems like such comments mostly come from former corrupt officials and co.

  2. There was once a greedy magician,who also wanted to become as rich and famous as an unequaled Funambulist,that entertained Tourists daily,by walking with great ease, across the highest peaks of Everest and the Himalayas,on a mile long tight rope. The greedy magician was not satisfied with his meagre earnings,and desperately wanted more. So he challenged the unmatched Funambulist in the presence of hundreds of Tourists to a Tight-rope contest. He swore that he could outperform,and outshine him with great speed across the rope,on any of the highest unconnected points over Everest.

    So the contest began,the Funambulist went first,finished quickly,and his time was recorded. Then came the greedy magician’s turn. He had barely walked ten steps across the rope,when suddenly it began to break,and unwind itself – strings,and pieces of threads,were loosening swiftly,and crawling hastily across the length of rope like a giant snake hurriedly shedding its skin.

    The Magician cried for help,but there was nothing anyone could do,he was so far up above. The rope kept on doing its thing – quickly unwinding,untying,undoing itself,until it snapped loudly,like the trigger of a loaded gun,firing the magician directly against some nearby rocks, shattering many of his bones to pieces. His last words were; “Why didn’t you tell me the rope was old,and not secure?” The Funambulist smiled,and replied; “The rope was strong until you walked on it without skill,finesse,and mastery. You thought it was easy,bragged it was simple,now see what has happened to you! ” And he turned around and walked away.

    Friends,this is the APC story – A story,sternly warning us to be wary of Pride,and envy,the trademarks of the ruling SLPP…Its a story about the consequences of Jealousy,and Greed,and why such attitudes must be avoided. This unskilled government thought governance was an easy thing,just like the greedy magician above, anxious,and thirsting for fame,and riches; It ain’t that easy!

    Now their eyes are becoming clearer, they are finding out the hard way. The 95 percent failure rate of students belongs to them – they own it like the rest of their miserable, paltry achievements. Leave the APC out of this – Two years in power,and you’ve learned nothing of value, and substance,except how to stoke the fires of Tribalism,and Discord…Let me reiterate; 95 percent failure is theirs,it belongs to the SLPP – they OWN it….Rising Sun Will Rise Again.

  3. The fight against corruption must be won. Francis Ben Kelfala has done an excellent job in exposing the internal contradictions of the nebulous and useless former APC government. It has now become crystal clear that over an eleven-year period of atrocious and crummy governance, everything that the Chairman for Life touched either died or was left on life support.

    Tellingly, the few good results that Sierra Leone’s secondary schools produced at the WAEC examinations during the presidency of Chairman for Life were a mirage. Principals and teachers operated a syndicate that charged students a fee for correct answers to questions that had been prepared in advance of the exams.

    In fact, it has been said that what was called a “Special Room” existed at all exam centers specifically for higher paying students. And the APC high command knew about all this but did nothing to stop it. But how could they when the APC mindset is one that is nourished with the belief that hard work and fair play gets nobody anywhere. It is precisely this mindset and philosophy that has carefully guarded all APC operations – rigging elections, blatantly lying to Sierra Leoneans through propaganda, unleashing thuggery and violence upon gullible citizens, etc.

    Enter president Julius Maada Bio and Francis Ben Kelfala and the optical illusion that Sierra Leone’s schools can compete with other schools in the West African sub-region is exposed. The ACC raiding exam centers since last year and arresting principals, teachers and students for cheating has shaken the foundations of the exam syndicates that flourished under Chairman for Life. Is it then surprising that Sierra Leone could only achieve a 5% pass rate? The cheating government is gone. There is a new sheriff in town. Henceforth, hard work and honesty are the only determinants of success.

  4. Well President Bio has said it: ‘the result dem bin don bad o, nar de blankit nomor we pull en expose all tin…..now allman dae hala’. He is right. The results have been bad for many years, because the children don’t study and have been given the exams papers and answers in advance by unscrupulous teachers for large sums of money.

    This is not new in Sierra Leone. I remember the days of GCE exams – now called WASSCE. In those days 1 (one) = very good and 9 = fail. Unfortunately my friend’s mum was illiterate and did not understand the scoring system. When she told her mum that she had 9 in each subject, mum was so happy and told the whole neighourhood. No one corrected her.

    But things like that and such bad results were rare in those days. Today it is the order of the day. Pupils and their parents are complicit and ready to cheat to pass exams. Maada Bio and the ACC have now blocked all those avenues and exposing the chronic deceit. This is why you now have lawyers and other professionals in the country who cannot speak or write properly. They have cheated their way to the top.

    This is also why Sierra Leone cannot attract investors to help the economy and provide jobs. We lack an educated workforce to compete in today’s world. English is the way of the world and if you cannot write or understand and pass foundation exams, there is no hope. I hope now is a turning point in the right direction for our education system.

  5. The ACC under the young leadership of Mr. Ben Kelfala has definitely stand tall among the many government institutions. In all the appointments made so far by president Bio, Ben Kelfala and David Sengeh, are my most admirable ones. These 2 young professionals are doing everything that is expected from our policy/decision makers. My prayer is, they continue to enjoy the support and be provided resources needed from the powers that be.

    Like so many other aspects of our society, corruption, bribery, sex for grades, exams malpractices etc, have infested our learning institutions. The situation has got so bad that, it has been transformed into a business entity across our educational institutions. I know a young lady who was attending our only medical institution — College of Medicine and Allied Health Sciences (COHMAS) where I was shock to know that these practices are endemic in such a prestigious institution.

    All across our nation, our citizens have lost a sense of pride and dignity. All parties involved — parents and educationists, are aware of this menace in our society, yet they either turn a blind eye or embrace it fully. I really don’t understand how we can develop as a nation when we lack the tools that are necessary to do so. The saddest part of it all, our future generation is being groomed to have a lazy mentality — cheating their way out of anything in life.

    Our nation’s educational dilemma should not be looked at via political lens. This is an issue that will make or break our nation for generations to come. So support should be given to the current leadership championing a change of the status quo in our educational institutions.

  6. The SLPP still cannot understand why the horse that pulls the heavy load has be positioned in front of the cart, instead of behind it. (lol) Priorities of this government has never been in order and foresight, unwavering commitment and competence are also totally missing. I mean seriously, what they should have done in the initial stages of preparations for their Free Quality Education Programme is what they are scrambling to do now – arresting people who have been practising corruption, right under their running noses.

    Hasty decisions are never sound decisions. This government should have used at least 16 months to carefully and thoroughly study the educational environment in our country, examining very nook, crevice and cranny for liabilities, cracks and vulnerabilities, that may later compromise the credibility of the project at hand. Hasty decisions are never smart decisions – they need to scrap their Free Quality Programme completely and start all over again from scratch, laying solid, proper and sustainable foundations. If they arrogantly refuse to do so and continue patching and filling cracks here and there, the whole educational system will eventually, someday, crumble like sandcastles, built by the hands of little children for fun.

    Now, I ask you – how many people are you going to arrest to clean up our education system? And how long will that take? And what measures are you putting in place to address the genuine fears and financial concerns of teachers and educators? And what plans do you have to educate parents about the consequences of their involvement in corrupt practices on behalf of their children? So many questions – I could go on forever!

    It is clear they have no credible answers to these critical problems at all. Easier to swoop down, like eagles on crowds of innocent children, harass, intimidate and arrest them isn’t it? That’s the cowardly way out – the SLPP way is to focus on the disease and force it to vanish, without looking for its underlying root causes. No wonder they have failed miserably in governance already. Yep, a bunch of failures, that is who they are, overseeing a 95 percent student failure rate( lmao) ….Rising Sun Will Rise Again.

  7. We are waiting for you guys’ comments. I know you are good at it. The free quality education means, you have to earn it with all your effort and hard work. Stop selling your bodies for exams and no more bribe.

    We came to know most of our friends today have travelled abroad claiming that they graduated from Fourah Bay College and yet most of them cannot even express themselves in simple English. May God bless H.E. Bio.

  8. This is the most effective ACC of our time. I am so proud and commend the entire team for all the effort they have exerted so far. I hope for the better.

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