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.