Sierra Leone Telegraph: 9 January 2019:
The Commissioner of the Anti- Corruption Commission (ACC) – Francis Ben Kaifala and his Directors, yesterday met with the newly appointed Chief Justice – Justice Desmond Babatunde Edwards, at his Law Court Buildings in Freetown, to strengthen ties between the ACC and the office of the Chief Justice.
The ACC Czar said the Commission has relied heavily on the Judiciary over the years to successfully carry out the ACC mandate.
Kaifala spoke about high expectations of a restoration of public confidence and trust in the justice system, and a justice system that works for every Sierra Leonean.
“We at the ACC look forward to a very good working relationship, where we can work in complementary and supportive roles to see what positive and lasting impact we can make collectively for the good of Sierra Leone,” Commissioner Francis Ben Kaifala said.
The ACC chief also brought to the attention of the new Chief Justice, matters which he said the ACC has been working on with his predecessor – Justice Charm, prior to his resignation, such as the identification of Judges for the soon-to-be established Special Court for Corruption —which is at an advanced stage.
He said that the setting up of a Special Court for Corruption is a campaign promise to the people of Sierra Leone by president Julius Maada Bio.
“The former Chief Justice was magnanimous enough to have identified the main Special Court building to house the Special Court for Corruption. However, we had funding constraints and the requirements to bring that building to standard for it to be used as a judicial building was so heavy that we had shelved it whilst we carry out the pilot phase of having the specialised judges deal with corruption cases.”
The Commissioner spoke about the backlog of anti-corruption cases before the courts, and expressed hope that the new Chief Justice will “inject new experience, ideas, and vision” in the fight against corruption. (Photo above: Left to right – Justice Browne-Marke, Chief Justice Desmond Babatunde Edwards, and Justice Sengu).
Kaifala also made a firm commitment that the ACC is ready to work with the Judiciary in a bid to winning the war against corruption– a war declared by president Bio.
In his response, the Chief Justice thanked the ACC delegation for the courtesy visit and registered his complete willingness to work with the ACC in the fight against corruption.
“It is of course necessary that our two institutions work closely together, and I want to give you that assurance that we will work together…we are here to compliment your efforts,” Chief Justice Edwards said.
“The idea of a specialized Anti-Corruption Court is very welcoming, and it is within the mandate of the Chief Justice to set up divisions in special areas as is stated in section 131(3) of the 1991 Constitution of Sierra Leone. The Anti-Corruption Court will be one division,” he said.
Also present at the meeting were Justice Nicholas Browne-Marke and Justice Sengu Koroma, both senior Justices of the Supreme Court of Sierra Leone.