Sierra Leone embraces new Strategy to tackle corruption

Sierra Leone Telegraph: 14 August 2019:

Sierra Leone’s vice president Dr. Mohamed Juldeh Jalloh, yesterday Tuesday 13th August, 2019, launched the country’s new National Anti-Corruption Strategy (NACS) that will be delivered by the ACC in 2019 to 2023.

The Strategy was unveiled at the Miatta Conference Centre, in Brookfields, Freetown, in the presence of foreign dignitaries, government ministers, senior government officials, the media, civil society groups, and other stakeholders.

According to the ACC, the NACS serves as a blueprint for Government, the private and business sectors and civil society organizations, to help coordinate and support their efforts in curbing corruption.

It is a model for developing a set of shared responsibilities across sectors, to encourage collaboration within and among sectors, and to direct renewed enthusiasm towards the aim of reducing corruption and building an ethical society.

In his keynote address, Dr. Juldeh Jalloh described the NACS as a National Strategy that aims at confronting corruption which he said is a threat to every sphere of national development, and building an ethical and accountable Government that promotes zero tolerance for corruption, inspire integrity and adherence to the rule of law.

Speaking about the new Anti-Corruption Strategy, the Commissioner of the ACC, Francis Ben Kaifala Esq. (Photo) said: “Enforcement is at the heart of the new Strategy, backstopped with Prevention, and Public Education.”

He said that this new strategy will demonstrate to the public, the government’s determination to fight corruption, as well as to encourage citizens to always resist and report it.

According to the ACC, the crafting of the NACS is consistent with the government’s Medium Term National Development Plan (MTNDP), the United Nations Convention Against Corruption (UNCAC) and the Anti-Corruption Act, 2008.

The ACC implores all sectors and the general public to support the implementation of the new Strategy, with a view to reducing corruption and consolidating the foundations of good governance in Sierra Leone.

Speaking at the launch, the newly elected president of the Sierra Leone Association of Journalists (SLAJ) – Ahmed Sahid Nasralla (Photo) said:

“We appreciate the efforts made by the ACC to involve the public in the development of this 4th Generation National Anti-Corruption Strategy 2019-2023.

“I recall that a session was held with the media at the SLAJ Secretariat at Campbell St., Freetown, where journalists contributed their own perspectives in the fight against corruption, including corruption within the media.

“So as we launch this new strategy today, it is important to highlight the need for continued public ownership of this strategy and support for the fight against corruption generally.

“To be able to achieve this, we also need to re-examine the relationship between the state and civil society. By civil society I mean all of us that are not official state organs, and this include the media. We can all agree that one of the challenges we face in dealing with the scourge of corruption, which seems to have become a culture, is the lack of trust between the public (ordinary people) and the state.

“There is this ‘us’ versus ‘them’ way of seeing the relationship between the public and the state. We can trace this to the very many years of distrust and lack of confidence in the State’s ability to address the very basic needs of the ordinary people.

“The ordinary civil servant or woman in the market (in their misery and suffering) are also witnesses to the sudden social mobility of high-ranking public officials and politicians.

“People in power or close to power have a good life – with access to good healthcare and private education for their children, while ordinary people struggle to make ends meet. This situation does not support public confidence and trust in the state and a by-product of this is a normalisation of corruption and apathy to the fight against corruption.

“When corruption is normalised; when people don’t feel they have a stake in the affairs of the state because their basic needs are not catered for; and when they view their relationship as ‘us’ (the people) and ‘them’ (the state and ruling elite), it further complicates the fight against corruption.

“What am I trying to say? I am trying to say that in the fight against corruption, we must seriously consider efforts aimed at rebuilding the trust and confidence of the people in public institutions and in the state’s ability and willingness to look after its people.

“We must then move on to make people feel that they have a stake and should therefore take ownership of the fight against corruption and support the implementation of this strategy. Considering the nature of this challenge, you can call it a process of social engineering or any other typology. What we all can agree on though, is the important role the media has to play in this- which I will come to next.

“I have just attempted to explain in my own way one part of the challenge – which is to restore trust in the state (through improved service delivery and better functioning of public institutions) and nurturing a sense of public ownership in the fight against corruption. We in the media are ready to be part of these efforts. As a matter of fact, we do every day. I see our role in two ways:

“1. To provide adequate and accurate reporting on anti-corruption efforts by the ACC and its partners. We want to be able to help raise awareness about the new anti-corruption strategy and support efforts that are aimed at nurturing public ownership of the fight against corruption.

“2. we want to be able to help set the agenda and become a serious point of reference for the ACC and other institutions that are involved in the fight against corruption. We can only do this by carrying out independent investigative reporting, as well as in-depth analytical reporting on corruption-related issues. We want to continue to hold public institutions and officials accountable and push for better service delivery because inefficient public institutions and lack of basic services is probably one reason the ordinary person doesn’t feel they have a stake in the affairs of the state.

“We want to be able to do all of this. But as many of you are aware, we are constrained. We are constrained for resources and the capacity to take our rightful place in the fight against corruption. So as you invite us here today to take part in this launch, we in the media commit ourselves to supporting the ACC’s anti-corruption efforts. At the same time, we want to promote accountability- within the media and especially in the public sector- through our work.

“Therefore, we are open to working with the ACC, as we have always done. So there’s a need for renewed partnership between SLAJ and the ACC. The kind of partnership I am talking about is one where SLAJ and ACC will sign an MOU. ACC will train journalists on the ACC Act and investigative reporting so we grow a crop of journalists who will specialise in investigative reporting, especially in corruption matters. There may even be types of information that it will be agreed should be passed on to the ACC prior to publication in order to aid investigation.

“ There’s a lot that we can do bilaterally, and I therefore call for an urgent dialogue between SLAJ and the ACC to develop a newly defined working relationship.”

You can read the new Anti-Corruption Strategy here:

National Anti-Corruption Strategy 2019-2023

1 Comment

  1. Wherever there are people there is official corruption. It is almost an innate tendency, which can only be curtailed or eradicated by well designed structures which can detect discrepancies immediately – be they financial, human or otherwise.

    Vice President Jalloh and ACC Commissioner, Ben Keifala, may say or do all the right things but unless an effective and efficient system is put in place to discourage corruption, it will keep mutating and come at us from the most unexpected angles.

    There is another sinister element in the fight against corruption which may not be unique to us alone.It is what may be referred to as continuity. Most of us can still forcefully remember how the Ernest Koroma Administration dealt with corruption in the worst nebulous manner. Ernest Koroma simply constructed a revolving door through which convicts for corruption re-entered his administration after being initially sacked.

    President Bio may make huge strides now in fighting corruption,but will a future APC government uphold the trend given what is happening now to those who were part of the former administration at the various COI? I am afraid there will be an unavoidable impetus to reverse everything and bring us back to the starting block. Corruption will again get into bed with APC criminals.There shall be no continuity.May be we should keep SLPP in power for the next fifteen years or bring in NGC. May the Almighty Allah/God help us.

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