Sierra Leone Telegraph: 30 October 2018:
In the last four months the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) of Sierra Leone has recovered a total sum of Le5,465,911,374 (Le5.4 billion Leones) from various corruption-related matters, including debt collection and investigations into the Transport and Ports Management System at the Queen Elizabeth II Quay, the NASSIT ferries, double-dipping in public institutions, and refund of compensation for unused property for the construction of the Hill-side Bye-Pass Road.
These recoveries were made in the period 6th June to 29th October 2018, for the government’s Consolidated Revenue Fund, which will go towards paying for vital public services such as healthcare, education and social services.
In a statement, the Commission says that it “wishes to reassure the general public that it will not relent in ensuring that public funds are protected, and where necessary, recovered”.
This success comes amid accusations that the ACC has recruited or promoted senior staff based on tribe.
Supporters of the main opposition APC say that the ACC Commissioner Ben Kaifala has top-loaded his senior team with people, from the ruling party’s southern political heartland.
They are accusing him of recently promoting twelve members of staff, ten of whom they say are Mendes or of south-eastern origin, along with two Krios or Westerners, and no northerner. This decision they also say has created disquiet at the ACC and that staff morale is at an all-time low.
This is the list of those they said have been promoted: Emmanuel Koivaya Amara- from prosecutor to Director. Third-in-command in the hierarchy – Mende; Kinnie Walker – from Investigator to Finance Manager – Mende; Mariama Navo- NACS officer to NACS analyst – Mende; Yatta Katta- deputy Director to Director HR – Mende; Jospeh Demby – from investigator to Senior Investigator – Mende; Augustine Ngobie – from Exibit/senior investigation officer to Deputy Director Investigations – Mende; Felix Kabba from chief of investigations to Deputy Director Intel – Mende; Patrick George – head of Policy and ethics to deputy Director Systems and Processes – Mende; Patrick Sandy – from Deputy Director Public Education to Director Public Education – Mende; Samson Saidu- M&E officer to Head of Unit – Mende; Montfort Macauley – NACS officer to NACS Analyst – Krio; and Joseph Twead – from Senior HR officer to Deputy Director HR – Krio.
Critics of the new ACC Commissioner – Kaifala, say that previous commissioners appointed by the former APC government whose political heartland lies in the north of the country, “created a balanced and conducive atmosphere, with job promotion spread beyond any one ethnic tribe”.
But speaking to the Sierra Leone Telegraph in response to these accusations, a senior source at the ACC who identified herself as a northerner, said that the Anti-Corruption Czar had to make these promotions in order to create a balance in the number and structure of appointed senior staff, in line with the equal opportunity policy of the ACC.
“Almost all senior management staff at the ACC were northerners. There was no balance,” she told the Sierra Leone Telegraph.
Investigations conducted by the Sierra Leone Telegraph shows the following senior staff working at the ACC that are not from the south of the country: The Deputy Commissioner – Shollay Davies is a Norther; Director of Finance Sheku Kanu is Northerner; Director of NACs is Northerner; Director of Systems and Processes Baba Turay is Northerner; Deputy director of Finance is Northerner; Director of Audit is Krio; Chief of Investigations is Northerner; Deputy Director of Public Education Alhassan Kargbo is Northerner; Regional Manager North is Northerner; Regional Manager Kono is Northerner; Director of Admin Koloneh Sankoh is Northerner; and Deputy Director of Admin is Northerner.
With the government now moving towards the setting up of a Commission of Inquiry that will investigate government officials in the former APC government between 2007 and 2018, more accusations of discrimination are expected.