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.