Yankuba Kai-Samba: Sierra Leone Telegraph: 23 December 2020:
In the light of the historic corruption scandal uncovered by the 2019 audit report in Sierra Leone, President Bio should now seriously consider dissolving his government and call a mid-term election.
A president who said he is fighting corruption but his government is now being hunted for the worst ever corruption recorded in the country’s history, doesn’t deserve a second term, as his supporters have called for on social media.
President Bio must take full responsibility for this historic corruption scandal as a personal failure of his leadership, and dissolve his government to seek a new mandate from the voters, as the country has lost confidence in his leadership to fight corruption.
Anyone who will vote for this Paopa SLPP administration in 2023 will be giving them more time to rob the country of every penny, safe in their knowledge that they cannot be prosecuted whilst in office.
But even if there was immunity from prosecution whilst in office, that doesn’t prevent the ACC from investigating their culpability based on the audit report.
The Israeli prime minister is being investigated for an alleged corruption and if found wanton, he will be forced to leave office, to be followed by prosecution.
Immunity for criminality in office encourages more wrongdoing that leads to impunity.
My view on how to fight corruption effectively is legendary – that to win the fight against corruption, it must be done proactively and not posthumously – that is leaving those in power to steal untouched and chasing them after they have left power and hidden their loots in unknown destinations is counterproductive.
Political criminals have ingenious ways of covering their tracks and hide their stolen wealth.
Nigerian financial crime unit officers found a whopping 43 million dollars hidden in a house belonging to a former oil minister.
The deposed Sudanese president Omar Bashir, had passed a law that only 5,000 dollars is allowed into the country. But a search at his home after he was removed from power by the army, a coup that was precipitated by mass protest, found over 100,000 dollars hidden there.
Other ways by which political thieves launder money and take stolen money out of their country is by investigating in secretive offshore banking, through a third party or company set up and run by people not known to have any link or connections with them.
Only highly sophisticated intelligence and technological capabilities available in countries like America and UK — such as the CIA, FBI in America, SOCA and NCA in UK can trace and locate stolen wealth from Africa, involving political criminals and their surrogates.
The 2019 audit report on Sierra Leone government’s financial mismanagement is without precedent. It is shocking, scandalous and it shook the very foundation of Sierra Leone.
The eyes of the world are on the Anti-corruption commission led by Mr Francis Ben Kaifala to hold those responsible for this despicable plunder of the country’s resources.
There should be no whitewash or smoke screen in holding culprits to account. Start from the top with the big fishes.
Francis Ben Kaifala, as the ACC boss, is eminently qualified. A brilliant lawyer with strong instinct for social justice. He has received several awards for the work he has been doing. He can get a better paid job in the international community without the hassle of politicians breathing over his neck. So, his handling of this major impropriety should not be constrained by a perceived fear of losing his job. I expect him to go after them – all of them, past and present.
The people of Sierra Leone will stand by the ACC to punish those who brought poverty, suffering and misery on them by stealing the nation’s wealth.
Sierra Leone is watching. The country’s development partners are watching. We will not rest until the ACC indicts all those who have shamed our country, irrespective of their status or political connections.