Sierra Leone Telegraph: 18 June 2019:
Sierra Leone’s Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC), yesterday presented a cheque for 7.5 billion Leones to President Dr Julius Maada Bio at a ceremony in State House, Freetown.
This Le 7.5 billion is part of a whopping 16 Billion Leones of stolen cash, so far recovered from corrupt officials.
In December last year, the ACC presented its first tranche of recovered stolen public funds, totalling over 7.5 billion Leones to president Bio for payment into the country’s Consolidated Revenue Funds account held at the Bank of Sierra Leone.
Before presenting the 7.5 Billion Leones cheque to President Bio in the presence of journalists and civil society groups, the ACC boss – Francis Ben Kaifala, told the President that since his appointment in 2018 to lead the country’s anti-corruption agency, he has proven to be result-oriented.
Francis Ben Kaifala said that his team has placed tremendous efforts on the cause of rooting out corruption, and now the results can be seen.
In achieving this mission, he told the president that his team has embarked on a three-pronged approach, with more focus on assets recovery.
He noted that with the President’s blessings, they have been able to balance court conviction with out of court asset recovery.
He said that as a result, they have therefore been able to recover over sixteen billion Leones in the last twelve months. (Photo: ACC boss Francis Ben Kaifala and his team at State House with president Bio).
“Today, we are handing another a cheque with additional Seven Billion Five Hundred Million Leones. The President will be able to identify what projects to invest in. We are also bringing out the ills of corruption for which we want to thank the President for the opportunity given to me and my team to lead the fight against corruption,” the ACC boss said.
Receiving the cheque, President Bio said he has declared corruption as a menace not only to the existence of the nation, but also as a national security threat; considering its negative impact on the country.
President Bio said he is trying to change the narrative about Sierra Leone; and that the fight against corruption is a fight he will continue to pursue.
Corruption he emphasised, is manmade and could destroy a country’s reputation; and therefore should not exist in society.
He encouraged everyone to come on-board and join the fight against corruption as a common enemy, especially at a time when he is trying to repair the country’s image around the world.
“We have to tackle corruption with every strength we have, which means it has to involve everyone. We must take the fight against corruption as seriously as we can, if we are serious about providing social services for our people.
“So we cannot allow corruption to become fashionable. We will continue to give more powers to the ACC to go after corrupt individuals,” he assured.
Deputy Minister of Finance, Dr. Patricia Lavaley, said that the handing over of the 7.5 billion Leones yesterday, is the second success of the ACC paying large sums of recovered stolen public funds into the country’s Consolidated Revenue Fund.
The recovered stolen funds she said, will help finance much needed development initiatives across the country. In particular, the funds collected would be used to finance the proposed new National Medical Diagnosis Centre, advocated by President Bio last year.
Some of you have questioned the level of transparency by ACC, especially in the recovery of stolen money. One thing I know is that, the current leadership of the ACC has been very transparent in their collection drive. They inform whenever anyone of interest is invited and for what, and the public is constantly updated until they reach an arrangement; be it out of court/charge the matter to court.
When it comes to repayment of the stolen money, they will do a press release of the total amount to be repaid, how it is paid and what to pay and when it should be paid. The public is frequently updated each time such payments are made, and clearly states the outstanding amount. See attached the recent one communicated.
Please ask the APC crooks to pay back what they stole from the people of Sierra Leone first, as this is a priority for now. You can make a booklet or whatever, to express your opinion if you are really sincere with yourself. Mind you, the New Direction Government is DEMOCRATIC in nature.
Honestly, I as a human being and God fearing man, I have NO PROBLEM AT ALL for retrieving CORRUPT MONIES.
Corruption is a key factor that has contributed to the EMPLOYMENT of family members and friends who have NO QUALIFICATION.
Graduates are LANGUISHING in the streets of the country.
For me, I have NO HOPE…People who have climbed the ladder of power NEVER have fear in ALLAH…
You are right to some extent Foday. To be honest, the ACC for sometime now only publishes the amount involved. The ACC started well in the beginning by publishing the names of the individuals and the amounts involved / settled. It will not be fair to those individuals whose names were published in the past by not publishing the names of the present culprits. It’s just unfair and unacceptable.
To be fair to everyone, the ACC should always from now on publish the names of the individuals and the amounts involved / settled. For e.g., the former NRA strong Lady’s name and the amounts settled were published. Who were involved in this 7.5 Billion Leones settlement? We don’t know. What is good for the goose is good for the gander. PERIOD!
Thanks Foday for your observations and may GOD BLESS YOU.
The problem with Sahr Matturi is that he is so intoxicated with the drink called APC that he refuses to see anything good coming from anywhere else. Is Sahr Matturi really au fait with news on the ground? There has never been a time when the ACC Commissioner has collected monies from APC crooks that the ACC Commissioner has not released a press release with the names of the culprits.
Paady, it is good to criticize but please be constructive in your criticisms.
Busy day for me. Tough challenges from Fred and Foday, Would you please send me information or link to back what you are saying? Both of you have disputed what I said. You might be right. So, I just have to take caution. This forum is becoming interesting more than ever. Fact checking is slowly becoming popular. Be careful of what you say.
Thanks Fred for your FACT CHECKING and GOD BLESS YOU.
Indeed, if you don’t believe in something, you’ll fall for anything. All I’m hearing and seeing is nothing but a blind, sheep like belief in a process designed and geared towards the principal aims and objectives of the government in power to marginalise the opposition and specific tribal segments of our country. Yep, they are targeting and arresting a few, and letting others walk away,’scot free’ like captured birds, being released from iron Cages.
The ACC should not be allowed to continue conducting and executing the affairs of the State in such an intransparent manner. The facts previously documented, regarding such matters still remain unchanged – wherever large sums of monies are being retrieved, repossessed and seized, there also will be the temptation to indulge oneself in corrupt tendencies and dealings become overpowering and visibly present.
Such a process has to be lucidly transparent. Here’s what I think must be done; perhaps the SLPP will be able to learn something of great value if only the desire to do so is there – Firstly, the mandate to eradicate corruption and retrieve stolen government revenues should not have been assigned only to the ACC, but to a Consortium of different institutions, linked together in a chain-link manner to ensure inflexible, uncompromised accountability, authenticity and genuine transparency – every one of them should be held responsible for overseeing, advising, and ensuring that their aims,goals,and objectives are duly achieved.
All of those institutions involved should be nonpolitical, untainted,and free from tribalism; and lastly,they must be empowered with full authority and powers just like the ACC in order to ensure equity, efficiency and adequate checks and balances throughout the whole ever-continuing process. Sadly, presently,this is not the case.
The general public has been totally left out of the whole affair and culprits, victims and those defamed and tarnished for political reasons, have no one to turn to seek redress and correct the wrongs that have been done against them. All we are hearing is just one voice, one opinion, one perspective – that of the ACC.
Is it possible that the ACC could be using threats,violence,coercement,and other illegal tactics, not permissible under law to achieve its aims? Are all the monies being retrieved being returned to the government treasuries? Are some undetected sums being siphoned cleverly somewhere else?
So many unanswered questions,countless in number,springing up,in minds,here and there like land mines igniting on battle fields – Surprised? Well, that’s the why it is only genuine transparency,and accountability that will suffice,nothing else.
If you don’t believe in something you’ll fall for anything – you I’ll be used,and abused,lied to,cheated on,despised, thrown away like garbage into dust bins,gutters,sewages,and trash cans. No nation will ever make progress where it’s government,and leaders have hidden motives tucked away securely inside their bosoms. Peace will always be elusive,security will forever be shaky,and unsteady,and progress will conspicuously remain stagnated. Rising sun will Rise Again.
My question is, why is the money that is being recovered not used to clean the city of freetown and also make a national farming project were they can put people to work. People going around selling in the streets makes the city look over-crowded and dirty. Please make Sierra Leone look great again. Thanks from Elizabeth Cedenheim.
I don’t really like how some of our brothers have started criticizing the ACC boss, Francis B. Keifala. We have to give credit to this gentleman instead of negatively characterizing his credibility. Are you really ready to know the names? Give me a break boy… just give him some time.
When their boss EBK started making payments, then we will see the rest of the names exposed. It will take a long time before we see APC in power again. We are tired of them.
My people, I don’t actually understand why to date, APC never accept defeat. Why so?. EBK and the others are trying to ignite another war. But let me send a message to them – “we are not ready for another war”. This is the only party I have ever seen in Africa or anywhere else, where the president leaves power and still remains the party chairman and leader forever. EBK has messed up APC.
If Chief Sam sumana wants to win presidency, he has to stick with his C4C party and forgets about Koroma’s APC period. But it’s a dream that any of them will win 2023, that’s fake news let them go to sleep again.
A violence party will never rule this country again. Mr. Francis Ben Kaifala congratulation to you our brother, good job keep it moving.
Hope that the ACC takes into consideration the length of time those corrupt officials kept the stolen money and apply compound interest accordingly, in order to estimate the approximate amount to be returned to the Republic as restitution.
Francis Ben Kelfala is an indefatigable warrior. Kelfala has accomplished what no other Anti-Corruption Commissioner before him has accomplished. His relentless pursuit of financial crooks and criminals in Sierra Leone and forcing them to pay up has the crooks and criminals shivering in their pants.
It is important to note that most ACC culprits are APC stakeholders, which explains how deep corruption has eaten into the fabric of the APC. By the time the APC fat cats are instructed by the ACC boss to pay up, the ACC coffers may have swelled up into the millions of dollars. By APC fat cats, I mean Ernest Koroma, Victor Foh, Osman Yansaneh, Samura Kamara and Minkailu Mansaray.
I believe that the ACC must do more in terms of TRANSPARENCY in naming corrupt individuals and the amounts received from them. Just making the bulk amount public is not sufficient. They must make the names of the individuals and the amounts they owed and paid public. They started doing so in the beginning. Why the change?
They must continue to act fairly if they want to be considered fair, transparent and credible. Why publish the name of one man and the amount embezzled yesterday and don’t publish the name of another and the amount embezzled today. That is unacceptable. I hope the ACC rectify this anomaly the next time. Fairness to all must be part of the ACC DNA. PERIOD. I hope they publish the names and amounts embezzled by any individual in the future.
You are right Mr. Maturi. If the ACC caught people who have stolen public funds, the ACC must announce their names and take them to court.
Mr. Matturi with all due respect, do you follow things as they unfold in the motherland? As far I have been following the work of the ACC, I have seen press release for every conviction, fines and recoveries made by the ACC since this commissioner took over. What other publications do you need? Or is it a case of trying to discredit even when there is nothing to discredit?
Indeed, wonders never cease to happen in Sierra Leone – Quite a substantial sum of money – 7 billion leones. But wait just a minute, there’s a question ringing and clanging like a church bell inside my head. Is that all of it? Are they saying every cent and penny that was recovered is being returned, untouched to the coffers of government? I don’t think so! How do we know that is true?
Who is it that can convince me, the ACC did not set aside thousands, millions or billions of juicy Leones for themselves, for the security of rainy days, bound to come? Why hasn’t another independent, non-political body been created to scrutinize and oversee the final outcomes, efforts, achievements and shortcomings of the ACC?
Are we supposed to be gullible like children to believe blindly anything they tell us without asking any questions? Nope,it must not be so! Believe me, I’m happy that they were able to retrieve lost government revenues, but I am also concerned and worried that they may be profiting from the losses and misfortunes of others. Who is watching them, while they are watching others?
I mean,lets be serious, in Africa the Watchman needs others to closely watch over him while he is doing his work, looking out for thieves. Only then will lasting success be guaranteed. We must never hesitate to ask in our quest for truth, legitimate questions that clearly highlights and emphasizes accountability and transparency, don’t you think?
And please do not tell me that they are being held accountable by other shady authorities like the Ministry of Finance, etc,etc, already in the SLPP government, because that will destroy their credibility completely in my eyes. Again,the methods they are using to retrieve stolen monies are quite troubling. If the whole thing is actually untainted and corrupt free,then it should have been an open process – individuals who agree to pay back stolen monies should be made to confess to the general public,provide proofs and documents of such dubious acts, be fined, sent to jail and banned from holding any government office ever again. But that is not happening.
For what logical reasons are such important government business that citizens have the right to know,being done in the shadows,in secret and behind the scenes? Something smells fishy to me? There are not enough reasons that anyone can give that will convince me the ACC itself has not been corrupted.
Only with total and complete transparency will I rest content. We have seen it before at King Jimmy, Market,thieves catching other thieves,and turning them over to the Police to distract the public from finding out their own strange,compulsive habits of thievery. Outright ridiculous!
And again,how are we supposed to know the ACC has not let so many others,especially SLPP sympathizers off the hook through discreet forms of bribery and other underhanded methods? The first order of business when the APC assumes power come next election is to take a closer,microscopic look are the dealings and official conduct of these people, for there are red flags everywhere, signalling that they are as Shady as they can be! Rising Sun Will Rise Again.
You have to trust somebody. If you feel you can do better, apply and wave your white flag.