Sierra Leone celebrates Anti-Corruption Day today – with hope for a better future

Sierra Leone Telegraph: 9 December 2019:

Today is being commemorated all over the world as the UN-declared Anti-Corruption Day, which is celebrated every year on 9th of December.

Sierra Leone, more than most countries on the continent of Africa has a lot to celebrate today, after eighteen months of battle against corruption by the SLPP government which came into power after winning elections in March 2018.

In that battle against corruption, the country has seen a big fall in corruption, as the country’s anti-graft agency – the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) led by Francis Ben Kaifala, fearlessly pursues former senior government officials and public sector workers, who for far too long, have made a career and a lifestyle out of public funds, bribery, abuse of office and illegal earnings.

Sierra Leone is one of the poorest countries in the world, despite having hundreds of billions of dollars’ worth of natural resources.

It is estimated that over $500 million is lost to corruption and graft every year in Sierra Leone, causing massive suffering for millions of citizens through illiteracy, poor healthcare, lack of access to clean drinking water and electricity, poor housing conditions and sanitation, malnutrition, unemployment and poverty.

Pregnant women and young babies are dying senselessly in Sierra Leone in their thousands every year, because of corruption.

Less than 50% of all adults in the country will live to see their 60th birthday, due to poverty and poor healthcare.

Less than 30% of all young people finishing college or university will find work to earn a living – 70% of youths are chronically unemployed or unemployable.

Sierra Leone – once regarded as the Athens of West Africa for its brilliant education institutions, is now at the bottom of the continent’s literacy levels ranking, with less than 40% of people able to read and write., making the country less attractive for big investments in establishing high-value added, knowledge intensive industries.

Successive governments have in the past two decades failed to invest in national development infrastructure – education, healthcare, electricity and water supply, as billions of dollars are wasted through inept governance, poor planning and prioritisation, as well as misappropriation of funds.

But after winning last year’s elections, president Julius Maada Bio promised to take the fight against corruption to corrupt public officials that are destroying the country’s potential to become one of the most developed countries in Africa.

He has since established commissions of inquiry into the misuse of public funds and public office for personal gain by former government ministers and officials – including past president and vice president.

Although the commissions are still sitting and taking evidence, so far tens of millions of dollars of unexplained wealth have been identified – and there is hope for these to be recovered and paid into the public purse.

The Anti-Corruption Commission led by Francis Ben Kaifala, has recovered millions of dollars from corrupt public officials through out of court settlements.

(Photo: Kaifala handing over recovered stolen funds to president Koroma at State House).

But there are still challenges in the fight against corruption, especially those posed by current laws.

In order to strengthen the powers of the Anti-Corruption Commission, president Bio has signed new laws which came into effect last week – the Anti-Corruption Amendment Act 2019.

If nothing else is working in Sierra Leone right now, one thing that must be said is that there is a growing sense across the country of the importance of fighting and winning the battle against corruption.

And today, the 9th of December 2019, president Bio has rekindled his message to the people of Sierra Leone – for the battle against corruption to continue.

This is what he said in his national broadcast this morning:

7 Comments

  1. Mr Matturi – Please be reminded,that this stupefying,unfixable,corrupt atmosphere,that Sierra Leone finds itself in today,is not something still crawling in its infancy.It is a quagmire that has been scores of years in the making,and It is now fully grown! Why is it that all African countries that have gained their independence from Colonial Powers,are still hopelessly corrupt?

    My findings have indicated that corruption,was a strategy used by the British to promote mistrust, fear, suspicions,
    and hatred among different African Tribes – To control them,we must first divide them,was the mantra that the Colonial masters once lived by. Independence was just another Political Charade,that was supervised,televised,and disguised in robes of unity,Justice,and liberty.

    It was an instrument designed by the cunning British,that facilitated,shepherd,and ushered corruption,like a gorgeous bride, effortlessly into a brand new era. Now Mr Matturi,listen to something that will blow your mind – the British,and French had a plan,since the first day they set their criminal feet on African soil,and that plan was to keep Africa in bondage,and submission forever to their will – Corrupt practices became a way of life. And that devious plan,of theirs has been working just as they expected – unfailingly,tick tock, like the hands of a clock.

    So you see, corruption has roots that run very deep;It is embedded,and engrained in the hearts,and minds of our people.The President of our nation must lead by example; If he has done nothing wrong,and has nothing to hide,then he must make every effort in the interest of credibility,and transparency to release all his financial undertakings,and statements. Leading by example means no one is spared a heavy thrashing by the hands of the law.

    If we are going to arrest just a selected few,then the entire system,has failed miserably already.It is a sham! As citizens of this nation,it is our inalienable right to know if our President has stolen,robbed,laundered,siphoned,or misused,
    our meagre resources,in years past or whether he hasn’t….Enough said! Rising Sun Will Rise Again.

    • “The President of our nation must lead by example; If he has done nothing wrong,and has nothing to hide,then he must make every effort in the interest of credibility,and transparency to release all his financial undertakings,and statements. Leading by example means no one is spared a heavy thrashing by the hands of the law……..If we are going to arrest just a selected few,then the entire system,has failed miserably already. It is a sham! As citizens of this nation,it is our inalienable right to know if our President has stolen,robbed,laundered,siphoned,or misused, our meagre resources, in years past or whether he hasn’t,” says Saidu Conteh.

      Wow, what lofty and admirable standards with which to hold a president (present and past) accountable! This sounds very impressive Saidu, does it not! And I agree with you wholeheartedly. But let me ask you a question: Have you only just found out about these standards, or is this a case of selective amnesia? Lol

      Seriously and all jokes aside now Saidu, such standards should be enshrined in a code of conduct that governs the behaviour of all our presidents, if not enshrined in our Constitution. And we must be consistent in applying such standards of due dilligence, transparency, accountability and probity, irrespective of political party affiliation and colour. Only then, will Sierra Leone begin to look forward with hope of a better future.

  2. There’s no two ways about it: In my view,if this President wants to be taken seriously in his ongoing fight against corruption,he must first,and foremost release all his financial records dating back to the era when he was a military Head of State.Everything,means everything – bank statements, transcripts, business records,transaction reports,deeds, and titles to lands,and property owned by him,his wife,and family members,documents,if any,relating to mutual funds,stocks,and bonds, insurance policies,loans,and debts to be repaid,and so and so forth.

    That’s the first Credibility hurdle,he would have to jump over for Prudent,and discerning minds to be able to take him seriously.(lol) Next,I challenge all the Ministers in his government to release all proofs of their current financial activities,and obligations.That simply means,the general public would be interested in seeing,and examining their monthly bank statements, evidences,and documents of fixed,and liquidated assets,that they may possess on a quarterly basis,for the purposes of clarity, transparency,and accountability to our beloved nation.

    Thirdly, today in good faith,I am extending a cordial invitation to any of Bio’s ministers,their Deputies,Permanent secretaries,or leaders of the SLPP,to come boldly forward on this glorious platform,or any other,to try and explain,or defend the failing Free Quality Education Program,and the reasons for their senseless,tireless Quest in search of finances to build an unnecessary Billion Dollar Bridge,instead of urgently needed affordable housing for the poor,and struggling masses.

    Well,there you have it,the ball is now in your court…Gentlemen,I’ll be waiting,and ready whenever you are…Rising Sun Will Rise Again.

    • Thanks Mr. Saidu Conteh for naming this PLATFORM a GLORIOUS one. What a COMPLIMENT. However, I disagree with you to some extent with the first paragraph in your comment. There was a missed opportunity both by the late Tejan Kabba ADMINISTRATION and the former President Ernest Bai Koroma ADMINISTRATION for not holding the JUNTA into account for their STEWARDSHIP seriously. Their ADMINISTRATIONS must have properly PROBED/SCRUTINISE the then JUNTA ADMINISTRATION which President Bio was one of the TOUGH GUYS and finally HEAD OF SUPREME COUNCIL OF STATE – NPRC.

      They should have just set up a NO NONSENSE ROBUST COI to squeeze the JUNTA ADMINISTRATION for any CORRUPTION or FINANCIAL MISAPPROPRIATION. That did not happen as it should be. It was a shame. To be fair with President Bio concerning any wrongdoing during the NPRC JUNTA ERA which was not properly looked into, I blame the two past ADMINISTRATIONS.

      I don’t expect President Bio to investigate himself or produce his past financial records at this time. Things might change if another party comes into office. What in my view all of us should concentrate on, is to support President Bio with the fight against CORRUPTION. PARTISAN POLITICS should be placed behind us when it comes to fight CORRUPTION. What we should make sure does not happen is, for the President and his ADMINISTRATION to POLITICIZE the PROCESS or use it as a WITCH HUNT against their OPPONENTS.

      I respect your views, but disagree with you with regards to the declaration of the President’s assets dating back to the NPRC ERA. GOD BLESS YOU.

  3. LETS HOPE THE NEW DIRECTION CONTINUES IN THE RIGHT DIRECTION IN THE FIGHT AGAINST CORRUPTION. A lot has been said, will be done by the Bio government when they take over power regarding corruption. So I think its time for them to show us what they have accomplished so far, and that they really mean business.

  4. Indeed and I quote ‘No matter their affiliation and position, will face the full force of the LAW’. President Bio there making it clear to anyone engaged in any CORRUPT practices what the CONSEQUENCES are. The Bio Administration deserves praise for tackling this CORRUPTION MYTH that has been going on for AGES in our country. No GOVERNMENT in the history of our country has ever gone so far. Whether you like President Bio or not does not matter. What matters is, he is winning the fight against CORRUPTION SLOWLY and SURELY. ARGUE/DENNY.

    The ACC on the other hand has more MEAT now on its BONE and must get the job done. As the President rightly said, the fight against CORRUPTION is everyone’s BUSINESS and RESPONSIBILITY. This is a very big and important TASK the President has given to his people. If you SEE SOMETHING, REPORT it. If you HEAR SOMETHING, SAY it or REPORT it. So, let us all JOIN and HELP President Bio and the ACC FIGHT and ERADICATE CORRUPTION out of our country forever. This is the time to do it. If the Head of State is ready and SINCERE as President Bio is, we must all be ready to use the ANTI CORRUPTION BAZOOKA to help fight the TINY/FEW CORRUPTION ANTS to the best of our abilities.

    GOD BLESS President Bio for his STANCE against CORRUPTION. He will surely find his place in history for STAMPING this CORRUPTION MYTH out of our country. I will propose something good for him in the future. AMEN AND AMEN.

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