Sierra Leone Telegraph: 21 March 2019:
Sierra Leone’s Anti-Corruption Czar – Francis Ben Kaifala has vowed to go wherever evidence of corruption and bribery leads, in an effort to win the fight against corruption which has been declared by president Julius Maada Bio.
Yesterday, the ACC conducted an unannounced investigation at the country’s Judiciary Accounts Department, where it is believed hundreds of thousands of dollars have over the years been siphoned by unscrupulous officials.
It is alleged that a criminal syndicate has been operating in the accounts department for well over a decade, stealing funds paid into the judiciary in court fines.
Payments that should have been paid directly into the Judicial Sub-Treasury Account have instead gone into the personal bank accounts of officials working at the courts.
An ACC source has confirmed that yesterday’s raid at the Judiciary’s accounts department came after several weeks of surveillance and monitoring by the ACC under Francis Ben Kaifala’s (Photo) leadership.
The Director of Outreach and Public Education of the Anti-Corruption Commission, Patrick Sandi, also confirmed on AYV TV that the Master and Registrar of the High Court of Sierra Leone – Philip Yahya Mansaray, and the Accounts Clerk – Adel Rose and other members of staff at the Judiciary were arrested for alleged corruption.
Last week, the ACC also made a similar raid at the country’s seaport in Cline Town, Freetown, where criminal gangs operating as shipping clearance agents are robbing shippers of millions of dollars every year in bogus fees and charges.
According to an ACC source, ACC Intelligence Investigators raided various revenue generating and check points at the Queen Elizabeth II Water Quay in Cline Town, after several months of surveillance of the operations of the Customs Department of the Ports – particularly handling of vehicles and containers, as well as the Auction Sections at the Port.
It is alleged that several port officials were involved in bribery, deliberate undervaluation, unjustified waivers, racketeering and abuse of office.
The raid which was conducted over a period of two weeks led to several arrests of port security personnel, customs staff and their collaborators.
Many of those arrested are being held in custody at the CID, including supervisors at the Vehicles Section – Mr. Sow, Madam Agnes Banya and Mr. Acmad Karim. They are accused of bribery and impeding investment contrary to the ACC Act.
Also, after the ACC investigation into activities at the auction sections at both the Ports and the Sierra Leone Roads Authority (SLRA), the head of the auction section at the SLRA has been arrested.
Following these targeted raids and arrests at various revenue generating check points, ports, and SLRA, the National Revenue Authority (NRA) says it has recorded the highest revenue ever generated in one week , throughout its history – an estimated 185 Billion Leones, proving the point that with strong leadership at the ACC, Sierra Leone can begin to win the fight against corruption and poverty.