Sierra Leone Telegraph: 28 December 2018:
Sierra Leone’s Anti-Corruption Commission’s (ACC) policy of concentrating on seeking out of court agreement for corrupt officials to repay every single cent they have stolen, seems to be yielding good returns for the country’s taxpayer.
In the past eight months, the ACC has recovered millions of dollars from corrupt former government officials.
Yesterday the ACC announced that the former director of finance of the country’s Electoral Commission – Victor W. Samuels, entered into an out of court settlement with the ACC to pay back almost one hundred thousand dollars (Le 822 million) he had embezzled from the commission, by June 2019.
According to the ACC, Samuels had a fraudulent syndicate which he used as a means of making false staff leave payment claims, spanning several years,
Samuels has escaped prosecution, and in return for his freedom he has agreed to repay over Le 822,000, He has so far paid back Le 200 million to the ACC.
But there is growing fear that although out of court settlements may be yielding short-term cash for the government to pay for vital public services – such as health and education, there is a sense that those lucky enough not to have been caught stealing public funds, will regard out of court settlement as a necessary minor inconvenience, as well as a means of avoiding being branded a criminal by the court.
Good work ACC. This message is for the Chief Minister and HE our President of Sierra Leone. I paid for land through my Lawyer who is now one of your Ministers costing $33,000 in 2016. The Lawyer did not pay for the Land and has not refunded my hard earned money.
I contacted the ACC and was informed that it is more an issue for the General Legal Council for misconduct by a Lawyer. You cannot fight Corruption only in the Government. Corruption starts from our homes,schools, and businesses. Our President, please fight for all Sierra Leoneans.
ACC is setting a wrong precedence by playing the role of Prosecutor and Judge at the same time.
It is quite bizarre that the Anti Corruption Commission [ACC] seems to be too eager to reach out of court settlement with corrupt former government officials without letting the public know the amount of money these people actually embezzled in the ten years that the All Peoples Congress [APC] were in office.
Ten years is a very long time and fortune amassed during such a time span could last a life time.Deducting a tiny fraction from it to settle with ACC would have very minimal or no impact at all, even if there is a display of outward emotions such as crying;tears so shed would be crocodile tears.
In reality the embezzler would inwardly be making a little holiday in his/her heart.We shall witness this when the whole issue comes to a close when those who now appear to be punished not only reveal the mansions they built during the APC era but the fanciful cars which they ordered from overseas as well.
There is an important question ACC have to answer forthwith :how much time are the criminals given to pay up? Ben Kaifala and his gang must understand that they are dealing with very clever criminals who cannot only tell the time but quite deft at reading the calendar with the capacity and capability to run both of them out.Unless they are given an unyielding time line within which to pay up,the next election would be upon us and woe unto us if APC were to capture State House once again.
Four years may seem a long way off but it is not;in another nine months we shall start seeing a jockeying for power in both APC and SLPP for the 2023 general elections – President Bio will have been almost two years in office and may well start using the power of incumbency to jump start his second presidential bid.
May ACC continue to bring down the untouchables.
I think a crime must be a crime and no matter what, the law must take full effect. Such public officials must still stand trial to serve as a bright national example to even future leaders and must be barred from public office, if truly the current administration wants to make corruption a zero tolerance.