Sierra Leone Telegraph: 17 August 2023:
There are unconfirmed reports making the rounds on social media, claiming that Francis Ben Kaifala – head of Sierra Leone’s Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) has been sent on study leave to retirement from the ACC.
These reports come, following a tweet posted on social media by Kaifala himself, reporting that President Bio has endorsed a US Harvard University grant of $100, 000 to enable Kaifala to study at Harvard University.
The controversial ACC chief who many accuse of nepotism, partisanship, and tribalism in dealing with corruption cases and investigations has been chasing and prosecuting opposition politicians and former government officers, whiles allowing his ruling SLPP cronies to go scot-free.
There have been several calls for Kaifala – who is one of the highest paid public officials in Sierra Leone, to be sacked in order to bring sanity to the fight against rampant corruption in Sierra Leone, especially among those occupying the highest offices in the country – including State House and the office of the wife of the President where millions of dollars are alleged to be unaccounted for and misappropriated.
Though Kaifala is a public officer occupying what is expected to be one of the most sacred offices in the country, his umbilical link with the ruling SLPP as chief patron, has seriously damaged his credibility and impartiality.
Photo: Kaifala discussing his departure with ACC staff as the country awaits an official statement from President Bio about his replacement.
Writing on Twitter, the ACC chief said: “HARVARD UNIVERSITY has come Calling with a $100,000 bursary Package and President Bio has graciously APPROVED for me to divide my time between Work as Commissioner and studies at Harvard Law School for next 9 months. . .I explained to my team how this was going to play out. . .”
But critics are not convinced. They say that Ben has been fired by the President as pressure mounts on Bio to curb government spending and take an impartial stance towards the fight against corruption.
One of the responses posted on Twitter after Ben’s announcement reads: “Ben’s going away on study leave is coming just after Ben presented and handed over a Le 10 billion check contribution from ACC to president Bio. I believe, Bio and the people of Sierra Leone would have respected Ben more if Ben had uphold an uncompromising principles to pursue the fight against corruption.
“After Bio’s 5 years term with those terrible Auditor General’s Report which got less attention from Ben, Ben’s credibility was seriously challenged. Many people don’t have much confidence in Ben’s work from what they experienced during the last 5 years of Bio.
“Ben didn’t worry, you have done your best. We hope you will return back to work with strong principles.
“This is not uncommon of Bio. Strasser was shipped to London to study after Bio overthrown him, former bank governor and Lawrence Leema disappeared with unknown deals. Now Ben is going on Le 100,000 scholarship.”