Another public official in Sierra Leone agrees to repay stolen funds

Sierra Leone Telegraph: 11 June 2019;

Hardly a week goes by these days, without news of a public official in Sierra Leone entering into an out of court settlement with the country’s Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) to repay stolen public funds.

Whilst some of the monies involved may be fairly small, for many ordinary Sierra Leoneans it is not the sum involved that matters but the principle of holding public officials accountable, which they say the ACC is now doing very well.

And if this trend continues, before long the culture of corruption in public life and impunity in high places, could significantly reduce in Sierra Leone – a country classed as one of the most corrupt in Africa.

Yesterday, the ACC issued a statement that it has entered into out of court settlement agreement with a Coordinator of the country’s national cleaning programme, to repay 40 Million Leones of misappropriated funds. (Photo above: President Bio launching national cleaning day). 

“The Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) wishes to inform the general public that it has entered into settlement agreement with Mr. Hamid Emoneh, in respect of misapplied funds meant for the National Cleaning Exercise,” the statement says.

Following the agreement reached with the ACC, Mr. Emoneh has now fully paid the Forty Million Leones (Le 40,000,000) that was misappropriated.

The ACC said it will return the recovered sum to the Mayor of Freetown, as the funds were meant to be used to pay stipends to one thousand youths in the cleaning exercise at the end of April 2019, but was instead converted to personal use by the Coordinator acting in concert with other persons, while the workers went unpaid.

The ACC says it has also cautioned Mr. Hamid Emoneh, whilst his file is kept open, should there be a recurrence of such attempted corrupt use of public funds.

But the ACC is being accused of encouraging the very act it is trying to eradicate, by failing to recommend that the Coordinator be sacked, though saying it “wishes to reassure the public of its commitment to protecting government revenue at all times”.

Forty Million Leones may not sound like a lot of money, but it is the principle of holding public officials to account and for justice to take its course that matters, irrespective of the sum involved.

The ACC cannot afford to be seen to be inconsistent or flaky in its fight against corruption. So, the editor of the Sierra Leone Telegraph asked the Anti-Corruption Czar to explain why in this case the ACC has not recommended that the Coordinator be sacked.

The ACC Czar – Francis Ben Kaifala (Photo above) said: “Because it is administrative. Now that we have brought out the facts, the institution (Freetown City Council) can now take administrative steps. We have too many cases. We can’t prosecute all.”

Sierra Leone Telegraph: “Do you need to prosecute before recommending sacking?”

Francis Ben Kaifala: “Yes. Our laws only allow us to recommend sacking after conviction.”

Sierra Leone Telegraph: “Is this anomaly in the current ACC laws among the changes you put forward to parliament in the Amendment Bill? And what is the current status of the Amendment Bill in parliament?”

Francis Ben Kaifala: “It is one hundred percent among the changes the ACC has put forward to parliament in its ACC Amendment Bill. These are all things that the Amendment is geared to correct. Regarding the status of the Bill in parliament, it has gone through three readings. One last one, then final passing soon.”

13 Comments

  1. Traveller immortal,do not be appalled,
    Eternal wisdom has finally heard your call,
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    And there you have it, my answer to you Sahr Matturi, If this will not suffice, then I will be expecting a challenge of wits from you,any time you are ready to do so….Rising Sun Will Rise Again.

  2. Mr Saidu Conteh is ‘OUR MAN’ at the moment! It is nice to have a character like Saidu Conteh (aka The rising sun) on this forum. Please don’t disturb him – more talents would come out, presumably. Keep it up, Mr Conteh.

  3. Mr Thomas – Its always a pleasure to have your honorable presence in the arena of political gladiators, whenever you find it convenient to do so. I am fully aware that the word Czar has been and is still being used in diverse situations, specifically when addressing individuals wielding tremendous power, control and influences over the affairs of institutions created by governments, to tackle widespread communal or societal challenges and problems. But does that make it right? Absolutely not!

    The word Czar or Tsar itself is of Balkan origin, having no links or ties whatsoever to the English language. It was adopted by the Russian Emperor Ivan from Hadrian Caesar who just like him, was also a brutal, merciless mass murderer – I ask you, how then can someone appointed to correct the ills and problems prevalent in our societies be respectfully referred to and addressed through the use of such a reprehensible, contemptuous name?

    Is it right and proper for someone or anyone to use their unwashed filthy hands to eat cooked, delicious food? I don’t think so! A thief cannot be addressed as “Your Honour” neither can a loose woman be addressed as “Her Majesty. “Everything in our lives have their rightful places!

    Similarly, I respectfully insist, using an abominable titl ,or name to refer to someone entrusted with the responsibilities of a lofty, admirable ideal is totally repulsive, unacceptable, improper and out of place. Hear me out sir, just because the English and Americans have it in their simplistic, superficial dictionaries as references and meanings to situations, instances and events that suit their self-centered conveniences doesn’t make it sensible, logical or right.

    The origin of the word Czar Will forever have the imprints of injustice,and brutality written all over it! Again, I thank you for clarity on this discussion, but before concluding, let me ask you this: Why didn’t the SLPP with all their competent, knowledgeable men brimming with intelligence not throw a word of caution at you, not to use such a questionable title\name when addressing one of their own? I think they saw it and ignored because it suited their mean-spirited agendas very well.

    Disagree if you want, its alright with me, Its fine, but be kind and professional enough not to delete my comment! (Laugh) Rising Sun will Rise Again.

    • There you are Mr Conteh – your comment has not been deleted. Happy? May I kindly point out that the Sierra Leone Telegraph has used the term Czar to refer to every Commissioner of the Anti-Corruption Commission that has served successive governments in Sierra Leone, including the former Judge, Barrister and legal luminary – Joseph F. Kamara, for whom I have great respect.

      Thanks for being the first reader to raise objection to the use of the word Czar. We respect your opinion to which you are entitled. Thank you and happy reading.

  4. Mr Wiecha – What a fantastic question! The Czars or Tsars of Russia were Emperors, totalitarians, who claimed it was their divine right decreed by God to rule over the Russian people. They bestowed upon themselves, abilities and powers resembling those of frightening, devastating hurricanes that were unstoppable and could wreck havoc, take and destroy lives as, and when they see it necessary, without showing any empathy and remorse at all.

    Sounds familiar presently to me! They lived in opulence and luxury while the Russian masses suffered and languished in extreme poverty and hunger. Same thing happening here today! The origins of the name and title itself is totally despicable, not to mention the gruesome, horrific, bloodstained history attached to it.

    It just clearly shows the mindsets of our new government, they can arrest, harass, intimidate, blackmail and persecute, hardworking citizens without being held accountable by anyone. Rings a bell about those frightful, dreadful days in Russia doesn’t it?

    Someone may dismiss it as being insignificant, but not me; Nope, for I am fully aware that in little things, monstrous things can be hidden; craftily disguised and lurking like Vampires in the night, hell – bent on quenching their insatiable thirst and lust for blood at the expense of the poor masses.

    It is a deliberate act Monsieur Wiecha – so many other words befitting of such a position, they could have chosen from, but they settled consciously for the word CZAR. A thief doesn’t wear a mask just for nothing sir, it is a device used to disguise himself. Now to the second part of your question, Czar Nicholas 2nd, together with the Romanovs were murdered after they fell out of favor with the Russian public.

    I am just praying, and hoping the curse of the imperial Russian family doesn’t turn around like a catastrophic Monsoon rain and descend, heavily and unrestrained with all its might, vengeance and wrath on my beloved Country,Sierra Leone. Strange times these are, but level-headed, discerning, thoughtful men will always have the edge and advantage over these dullards, whose only goals are to violate and trample on the rights of others – blatantly disregarding due process, the rule of law and formidable rights guaranteed by the Constitution of our nation. Rising Sun Will Rise Again.

    • “It is a deliberate act Monsieur Wiecha – so many other words befitting of such a position, they could have chosen from, but they settled consciously for the word CZAR.”

      Please note that the title of Czar is commonly used across the world to refer to someone leading a public campaign to tackle a problem. A Czar is a person appointed by government to advise on and coordinate policy in a particular area. For Example: “the former British drugs czar”.

      Reference to the Commissioner of Sierra Leone’s Anti-Corruption Commission as Anti-Corruption Czar, has been used in that context by the Sierra Leone Telegraph, not by the government of Sierra Leone.

      The official job title of the Head of Sierra Leone’s Anti-Corruption Commission is: Commissioner. Please take note. Thank you.

    • I should have my say in this discussion. No way. To you Saidu, why is the word CZAR used by both SUPER POWERS (RUSSIA and AMERICA) differently? Am I right to call it the SUPER POWER WORD? – Don’t laugh at me please.

      Thanks.

  5. The Sierra Leone lawmakers must have their heads buried in the Sand when passing these nonsensical laws. How on earth can anyone who gets caught or admits to embezzling public funds, just have the option of repaying the money without facing any other consequences, termination and/or jail time?

    These relative inactions only foster an environment for further corruption. The chance of recidivism is high when these rogues are not held accountable. Leaving this man in the same position, he may be better at covering his tracks next time.

  6. I don’t condone CORRUPTION. But at the same time, it is the government that is opening the gates to these types of problems and corruption. Why not to what is right to close those corrupt loop holes for heaven’s sake? Keeping FREETOWN and all the 12 DISTRICTS clean is not magic for any government. You have the different councils and the ministry of health to do the job.

    This is what in my view should happen. Carry out the monthly cleaning exercises for three months. Then, increase the budget of all the district councils to employ KEEP THE CITY CLEAN WORKERS and provide the councils and workers with the necessary tools and equipment.

    By doing so, we will maintain the CLEANLINESS done in the past general cleaning exercises forever. Finally, increase the budget of the health sanitation department to employ health inspectors and sanitation workers.

    Sometimes, our governments just have to use common sense to solve simple issues as keeping our CITY and DISTRICTS CLEAN. Bottom line, people will have JOBS and the country will be GLITTER CLEAN. Is that not COOL? I hope the authorities will listen.

  7. Please tell me why you call Mr. Francis Ben Kaifala the ACC Czar? Do you know about the Russian Czars and what happened with them?

  8. Thank you ACC and S/L Telegraph for what you are doing in that country. We hope to return someday to a country that is less corrupt. Bravo to HE Bio.

    Mark from Liberia.

  9. Please stop publishing these ridiculous ACC inconsistent drama. They are irritating to say the least. Are they applying the rule of law or their rule of personal discretion when judgements are passed on these corrupt and heartless kleptomania. They committed crimes punishable by jail time and fine/restitution. “You do the crime, you must do the time.”

  10. Please stop publishing these ridiculous ACC inconsistent drama. They are irritating to say the least. Are they applying the rule of law or their rule of personal discretion when judgements are passed on these corrupt and heartless kleptomania? They committed crimes punishable by jail time and fine/restitution. “You do the crime, you must do the time.”

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