Abraham John: Sierra Leone Telegraph: 22 September 2020:
The attention of the Office of the Chief Minister (OCM) has been drawn to an Awoko Newspaper headline titled: “Office of the Presidency” 3rd most corrupt institution published on the 16th September, 2020 based on a so-called Afrobarometer Report published by the Institute for Governance Reform (IGR).
The OCM is informed that the wider Office of the President were not accorded the respect to be served copies of the report nor were they contacted to corroborate the survey findings that touched on the highest office of the land – The Presidency.
This so-called survey was done in blatant disregard of the very basic principle of research information dissemination especially when the Office of the Presidency was a survey target. Notwithstanding, the OCM formally wrote to the IGR on Thursday 17th September 2020, requesting a submission of the copy of the Afrobarometer Report before close of business.
Up to the time of publishing this Press Release, the IGR have not had the courtesy to even acknowledge receipt of the letter from the OCM.
It is evidently clear that the IGR is ill informed of what even constitute the Office of the President. The wider Office of the President includes: Office of the Vice President, Office of the First Lady; Office of the Chief Minister, Office of the Secretary to the President and other key agencies including the Anti-Corruption Commission, Public Service Commission, Cabinet Secretariat, Ombudsman, Directorate of Science, Technology and Innovation (DSTI), Office for Presidential Initiative and Infrastructure (OPII), National Asset Commission, National Monitoring and Evaluation Directorate (NaMED) and Presidential Advisers.
It was therefore unhelpful and disingenuous on the part of the IGR to lump and label the numerous offices and institutions with diverse mandates, levels of intervention that constitute the wider Office of the Presidency as the 3rd most corrupt institution in the country.
This gross generalization about the office of the President clearly shows that IGR cannot even undertake a credible research let alone a perception survey.
A credible perception survey should disclose in detail, the research methodology including a composite of the sample size, frame and stratification, coverage area and weights. The questions should be free of ambiguity, so that the respondents should have the same understanding of the questions and timeframe. Therefore best practice requires corruption perception surveys to indicate corruption indices and should further include the scope and the aspects of corruption for an institutional survey target like the Office of the Presidency.
Furthermore, where indices are not listed to provide clarity to the respondent, the researcher should probe the response with “WHY.” This substantiate the response which signals to the researcher/interviewer whether the respondent understand the question. Unfortunately, the IGR have not disclosed these variables and therefore brings into doubt, the veracity of their survey findings and conclusions.
The OCM wishes to remind the public about the impressive strides taken by the Office of the President in the fight against corruption in Sierra Leone. This is reflected in the recent assessment of Sierra Leone by Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) in the fight against corruption which shows an 8 percent leap from 71 percent in 2019 to 79 percent in the recent scores for 2020.
In addition, the President has shown strong political will towards the review and amendment of the Anti-Corruption Act, now considered to be one of the toughest in West Africa. In much the same vein, the Office of the President supported the Office of the Chief Justice to create an Anti-Corruption Division within the High Court of Sierra Leone with 5 dedicated Judges to speedily deal with corruption matters.
The public is assured that the Government remain committed in the fight against corruption.
About the author
Abraham John is the Director of Ministerial Coordination and Cabinet Follow-up at State House, Freetown.
The credibility of some of these institutions that are conducting surveys are now facing serious challenges.They are trying to destroy the integrity of our institutions that have been transformed for the past 2 years under the New Direction government. They claimed that they surveyed people around the country even though majority of our citizens don’t even have access to basic radio or television to access news about the activities of our Parliament or government institutions.
Most of our citizens only care about two colours or symbols, which is Green or Red, or the Palm tree or the Red Sun.
The international community has offices and representatives in our country and they are aware of the developments and that is why the credibility on corruption is at almost 80% within 2 years and financial support and development are favorable in towards our country.
Even the current parliament under the leadership of our Honourable Speaker Dr. Abbas Bundu is the best in recent history, based on the fact that even the leaders from all the opposition parties are now having heated and honest debates which will help develop our democracy. I personally don’t even believe that Honourable Chernoh Bah of the APC or Honourable Kandeh Yumkella of the NGC or Honourable Sahr Emerson Lamina will even entertain the idea of receiving “Brown Envelopes” from our no nonsense President Maada Bio.
I hope and pray that some of these civil society organizations will start differentiating the past corrupt APC government from the new direction government by conducting these bogus surveys, because the reality is, for the first time in history, Sierra Leone is the least corrupt country in West Africa and a Sierra Leonean Honourable Sidi Tunis is the Speaker of the ECOWAS parliament.
In general when these surveys are carried out, the Sierra Leone public don’t need any explanation about what comprise the office of the president. The whole office of the presidency is rotten to the core and is not fit for purpose. Its rather disingenuous for anyone to attempt to disregard the facts about what the survey is really about, which is whether this Bio presidency is serious in fighting corruption. Anyone who argue otherwise is trying to insult the intelligence of ordinary Sierra-Leoneans that took part in the survey or the wider public in general.
More like we Sierra Leoneans don’t have the mental capacity to think for ourselves and draw our own conclusions, especially on matters that affect our lives. Which ever way the survey is conducted, whether you stop people randomly with a clip board in the streets of our towns and cities, or by phone or SMS messages, the vast majority of Sierra Leonean know our political classes are corrupt to their bone marrow. And this Bio government is doing nothing about it. Corruption is not only about stealing eye watering sums from the state. Corruption comes in all shapes and sizes. From that traffic police officer at UP GUN TURNTABLE asking for “small thing” from the Okeke driver, to the Minister using his powers to seize the lands of ordinary citizen because he is a friend of president Bio.
The president might be saying he is fighting corruption, you try telling that to the victim of land seizure by one of Bio ministers. The victim will think you are barking mad. The Bio government might be committed in fighting corruption, but some victims of his Mugabe style land grab do not see it that way. LETS END CORRUPTION IMMUNITY IN SIERRA LEONE. OTHERWISE OUR COUNTRY WILL NEVER DEVLOP.
The Institute for Government Reform has its own authentic methods of conducting its surveys, and investigations, and uses diverse ways to validate its fundamental, ultimate findings; And to be frank, they are under no obligation whatsoever to abide by any of the basic principles, techniques and strategies usually employed in research information dissemination as the complaining writer is demanding above. The IGR has done a fantastic job, and needs to be highly commended – most Prudent and discerning minds will agree with me that their findings were not only precise, but clear-cut and meticulously done. It seems to me that the SLPP government is living in denial.
Instead of re-examining their attitudes and failing priorities, as always they are quick to point fingers, sling mud in an attempt to discredit anyone that disagrees with their obsolete, backward ways of doing things. Who cares about the ways one uses to get to MECCA when there are numerous roads to get there? The end result of such an arduous journey is really what matters, and there has never been anyone that climbed rugged mountains or crossed a scorching desert that has reached that glorious destination and had any reason to complain. Similarly, it doesn’t matter how the IGR got the job done – the roads that lead to the final destination are of no consequence, as long as those who choose to use them tread cautiously and ethically, without malice, and in utter good faith. To the Institute of Government Reform we say – Bravo for a job well done!
Shiioorrrrrr, we already know this, what else? We are still waiting on your proper response to the report. Just forget about the process sir.