President Bio apologises for public shaming of teachers suspected of corruption

Sierra Leone Telegraph: 10 September 2019:

President Julius Maada Bio has this afternoon tendered his unreserved apology to the teachers and principal, who were yesterday publicly paraded and disgraced for what the Anti-Corruption Commission says was their alleged involvement in examination malpractice.

This apology from the president comes after an overwhelming condemnation of the action of the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) to publicly disgrace the suspects.

This morning on radio the ACC Commissioner, said that his investigators last weekend caught the education officials red-handed at an exam centre in Freetown, where they were  involved in selling examination answer papers to students.

He said his aim yesterday in parading the suspects, was to implement the new Anti-Corruption Strategy which was launched three weeks ago by the vice president, which is all about enforcing the law.

The Commissioner said that he has used section 7 of the ACC Act, which he said gives him the power to take all necessary steps to fight corruption in Sierra Leone.

He told listeners that yesterday’s action was a test of the nation’s ‘sensitivity and acceptance’ of such action by the ACC, no matter how unpalatable.

Lawyer Yasmin Jusu Sheriff who was also speaking on the radio programme this morning, said she was appalled at the decision to parade and shame suspects without due process of law.

She strongly condemned the ACC and demanded strong action by the Human Rights Commission in support of the suspects who have now lost their right to fair hearing in the courts.

Ms Jusu Sheriff said that the ACC cannot use section 7 of the ACC Act to break the law, especially section 23 of the country’s constitution, no matter the objective of the ACC.

Speaking for the Human Rights commission of Sierra Leone, Mr Victor Lansana also condemned the ACC and said they were wrong in parading the suspects without due process of law.

Public display of suspects he said risks the safety and security of the suspects to incitement by an angry public who may want to take violent action against the teachers.

Lansana said that the ACC has misinterpreted section 7 of the ACC Act and must therefore apologise to the suspects whose human rights have been violated.

In response, the ACC Commissioner – Kaifala was adamant. He said the ACC did nothing wrong and sees no reason for an apology.

This afternoon, speaking at an event at State House to mark the International Day of Literacy, president Bio tendered his apology on behalf of the ACC.

But the question now remains, what happens to the suspects? One legal experts told the Sierra Leone Telegraph he believes that the suspects have been punished and suffered enough without trial, and cannot be put on trial again in a court of law for the same crime.

“Furthermore their case has been jeopardised by the extensive public discussion of all the evidence gathered by the police which have not been presented to the court.  It is now highly likely they will be freed,” the legal expert said.

In the meantime, reactions to president Bio’s apology this afternoon, have been very positive. Many Sierra Leoneans are happily surprised that the president has apologised and is seen to be on the side of justice and fairness. “The president has shown true statesmanship today, and long may this continue to bring political stability to Sierra Leone”, one commentator said.

11 Comments

  1. For the fight against corruption to be successful in Serra Leone,the human right officials must also stand firm in order to prevent human right violation, as we have started experiencing some things contrary. Put Salone fors.

  2. Such behavior put up by the ACC commissioner is a violation of human rights; it is a very scandalous. Other government parastatals have done more wrong doings that those poor teachers but were never treated like that. Why set example on teachers?It is a very big disgrace to the sierra Leone teachers at large, even Bio’s apology is worthless because the deed has been done.

    Presently there is a good number of teachers out there who are not on salaries but are tirelessly working to ensure that education does not go down the drain.

  3. Thank you very much President Bio, you have shown leadership charisma by apologising to the nation. But at the same time, these people must be prosecuted and whosoever is found guilty must face the law. I do not regret shaming these human beings in the hope the rest will learn lessons from this. Thank you Mr. President

  4. The teachers, although shamed, must be prosecuted, charged, fined or sent to prison if convicted. But President Bio should later pardon them because of what happened (GROSS HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATIONS by the ACC GENTLEMAN BOSS). It is possible because, President Bio has the power to PARDON. This will signal to everyone that, such acts of corruption/crime is unacceptable and will not be condoned.

    Also, the ACC GENTLEMAN BOSS must be INVESTIGATED for ABUSE OF OFFICE/POWER. That must happen for every fairness. Bottom line, the VICTIMS(the teachers) of this GROSS HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATIONS must be prosecuted and given PRESIDENTIAL PARDON afterwards. Also, this ADAMANT ACC GENTLEMAN BOSS must be INVESTIGATED and DISMISSED if found guilty of any wrongdoing. GROSS HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATIONS in Sierra Leone is unacceptable. PERIOD. Shame on those who are engaged in such BARBARIC and INHUMAN acts.

    No BLANK CHECK for anyone. Moreover, criminal acts must not be condoned in Sierra Leone. Also, no one should be engaged in any HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATION activities. GOD BLESS SIERRA LEONE.

  5. What I find despicable is the overwhelming support for criminality and the systematic destruction of our education sector. Ben Kaifala should be commended and not condemned. I hope for the sake of justice those thieving teachers are dealth with to the fullest severity.

  6. Today again marks one of the most happiest day in Sierra Leonean’s lives as the number one gentle man has apologised to his subjects which shows one of the leadership qualities. May the lord guide and protect him and powered him to do more good for our nation.

  7. Let me first of all thank President Bio for doing the right thing. He has just proved that, he can show true LEADERSHIP if he wants to. Thank you very much Mr. President for apologizing. I want the President to go even further by, SUSPENDING the ACC GENTLEMAN BOSS, sending him on LEAVE and TRIGGERING an INVESTIGATION which will lead to him being fired if found guilty of ABUSE OF OFFICE.

    Let me say it again, the ACC GENTLEMAN BOSS is not the PERSONAL ASSISTANT to the IG, nor the PERSONAL ASSISTANT to the HIGH COURT JUDGES or the ASSISTANT to the HEAD CORPORAL at CID. He does not have the right to do the jobs of others. PERIOD.
    Finally, I will urge the ACC GENTLEMAN BOSS to get information on HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATIONS and TORTURE.

    This tells everyone why the confirmation of the ACC GENTLEMAN BOSS in parliament was very controversial. Now that the President is at the forefront of this issue, the ACC GENTLEMAN BOSS will face the consequences of his behaviour. SAD, for the ACC GENTLEMAN BOSS to treat his fellow Sierra Leoneans like TERRORISTS. GOD BLESS ALL the accused who have been treated like SLAVES/TERRORISTS. GOD BLESS President Bio for his timely apologies. AMEN AND AMEN.

  8. President Julius Bio has apologized for an ACC treatment that has been condemned by even die-hard supporters of the SLPP. It is time to move on. I hope the teachers that have been shamed should in all fairness be free of any prosecution. Any court trial is tantamount to double jeopardy.

    • Nope. Sierra Leone has to be made to see just what hampers progress and development. Where are your sentiments for the destitute and suffering which is a direct outcome of unfairness, wickedness and daily abuse of the man in the street?

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