U.S. Embassy Freetown: Sierra Leone Telegraph: 23 February 2021:
Chargé d’Affairs at U.S. Embassy Freetown, Elaine M French, has presented Francis Ben Kaifala with the Department of State International Anti-Corruption Champions Award. Mr. Kaifala was honored for his leadership as the Commissioner of Sierra Leone’s Anti-Corruption Commission, which has enhanced efforts to fight corruption in Sierra Leone, including the strengthening of anti-corruption laws and working to hold public officials accountable for corrupt acts.
Mr. Kaifala (Photo left – receivng award) was one of 12 Anti-Corruption Champions from different countries recognized by United States Secretary of State, Antony J. Blinken, for changing the world for the better through their work to combat corruption and fight for transparency and accountability.
These champions are members of government, the press, civil society, and the judiciary.
As President Biden has emphasized, “We must start with diplomacy rooted in America’s most cherished democratic values: defending freedom, championing opportunity, upholding universal rights, respecting the rule of law, and treating every person with dignity.” Combating corruption is a key part of this commitment.
The honorees are Judge Ardian Dvorani (Albania); Attorney General Diana Salazar (Ecuador); Ms. Sophia Henry Pretrick, Investigative Advisor for the Compliance Investigation Division of the Pohnpei State Auditor (Federated States of Micronesia); Mr. Juan Francisco Sandoval Alfaro, Chief of the Special Prosecutors Office against Corruption and Impunity (Guatemala); Mr. Ibrahima Kalil Gueye of the Organization for Positive Change (Guinea); Ms. Anjali Bhardwaj, Founder of NGO Satark Nagrik Sangathan (India); Ms. Dhuha Mohammed, Director General for Electronic Payments at the Central Bank of Iraq (Iraq); Mr. Bolot Temirov, investigative journalist and editor-in-chief of Factcheck.kg (Kyrgyz Republic); Mr. Mustafa Abdullah Sanalla, Chairman of Libya’s National Oil Corporation (Libya); Mayor Victor Sotto of Pasig (The Philippines); Mr. Francis Ben Kaifala, Commissioner of the Anti-Corruption Commission (Sierra Leone); and Mr. Ruslan Ryaboshapka, former Prosecutor General (Ukraine).
The selected honorees represent the many anti-corruption champions performing vital work around the world who often face threats, arrest, and persecution, while others may work in underfunded, undervalued, or otherwise challenging circumstances.
This award is an acknowledgment that all are making a difference. While we are recognizing these 12 champions, we are honored to work hand-in-hand with many other reformers around the world, and we celebrate all the unsung heroes who are striving to make a difference.
This is is what Secretary Antony J. Blinken’s said in honour of the Anti-Corruption Champions:
“Around the world, corruption threatens security and stability, hinders economic growth, undermines democracy and human rights, destroys trust in public institutions, facilitates transnational crime, and siphons away public and private resources.
“The Biden Administration recognizes that we will only be successful in combating these issues by working in concert with committed partners, including courageous individuals who champion anticorruption efforts and countries working to fulfill their commitments to international anticorruption standards. For that reason, I am announcing a new International Anticorruption Champions Award, recognizing individuals who have worked tirelessly, often in the face of adversity, to defend transparency, combat corruption, and ensure accountability in their own countries.
“As President Biden has emphasized, our commitment to truth, transparency, and accountability is a mission that we must live at home and exemplify abroad. I commend the dedication of these 12 brave individuals to these same ideals. The honorees are: Ardian Dvorani of Albania, Diana Salazar of Ecuador, Sophia Pretrick of the Federated States of Micronesia, Juan Francisco Sandoval Alfaro of Guatemala, Ibrahima Kalil Gueye of Guinea, Anjali Bhardwaj of India, Dhuha A. Mohammed of Iraq, Bolot Temirov of the Kyrgyz Republic, Mustafa Abdullah Sanalla of Libya, Victor Sotto of The Philippines, Francis Ben Kaifala of Sierra Leone, and Ruslan Ryaboshapka of Ukraine. They inspire us and so many of their counterparts pursuing these ideals around the world.
“The United States enforces one of the most robust anticorruption frameworks in the world. We were the first to criminalize foreign bribery and, in partnership with foreign counterparts, have recovered and returned more than $1 billion in stolen public assets in the past two years alone.
“We use a range of tools to promote accountability for corrupt individuals, combat impunity globally, and engage in multilateral fora to fight corruption and strengthen citizen engagement. We will defeat corruption by implementing sound reforms consistent with international anticorruption commitments; developing transparent, accountable institutions; and empowering citizens, journalists, and civil society organizations to help defeat this global threat to security and democracy.”
Let me hasten to “congratulate commissioner Ben Keifalla” in line with those patriotic, honest and sincere brothers and sisters who have unreservedly congratulated commissioner Ben Keifalla for his well-deserved honour and award from the US Administration. This is for his continuous determination to arrest the scourge of the unabated corruption practices by politicians and heads of parastatals in Sierra Leone. To me this award is for all Sierra Leoneans and Commissioner Keifalla being just the custodian. For that reason, one would expect all citizens of Sierra Leone to applaud the hardworking young Commissioner instead of castigating him.
While I take no particular offence nor am I surprised at some of the unreasonable and unjustified negative comments, ‘courtesy of the ‘free world syndrome’ people exercise their rights to opinions, I believe in so doing one has to be objective, sincere, honest and just. It is in my view absolutely wrong to do so just to smear people or government you do not like or opposed.
This comes to mind comments by Billy A Bank and Stargazer who think no-one should praise The Bio Government for doing a good job for the people of Sierra Leone. I have the tendency to even begin to doubt their citizenry. Going further and castigating the US Administration for recognising our country’s’ stride to curb corruption. That sounds disgusting. Maybe I will be tempted to ask Stargazer to tell the world what he would have done if he was in the position of Commissioner Keifalla charged with such responsibilities to clean the system. Or can he tell the world the crime Commissioner Keifalla had committed by naming and shaming corrupt politicians?
Mr. Ben Kaifala’s arms are looking abnormally chunky these days. Life must be good. He seems to be auditioning for the African big boy’s club – cow beef and more beef. Certainly he is on track. I give it a couple of months from now and he will be right there with the rest of them.
UN AND AMERICA ARE MOCKING SIERRA LEONE. PEOPLE ARE DYING OF MR BEN KAIFALA’S CORRUPTION AND THEY ARE BUSY CELEBRATING.
Folks, when it comes to fighting corruption in Sierra Leone, Francis Ben Kelfala indeed showcased himself as a prowess exterminator against certain class of citizens in our nation’s politics and those that are non-politically connected. Upon taking over ACC midway 2018, Ben Kelfala wasted no time in declaring war with zest and fanfare against former regime officials as well as civil servants (in particular, poor teachers), deemed as easy targets. With the COI running in parallel against former regime officials, Ben Kelfala and Chief minister, were a match made in heaven, mounting a media campaign blitz in propelling and castigating former regime officials as being corrupt, both local and internationally.
This brings to mind the recent revelations by the Africanist press— “The Chief Minister’s Office financial records indicate that several wire transfers of hundreds of millions of Leones were sent to foreign media agencies and technology companies in Europe, China, and the United States. These transfers were purportedly for consultancy services, public relations operations, and information technology products”. In retrospect, it appears top regime officials were more obsessive in building an international public relation campaign, having the president and his entourage crisscrossing the globe countless times, spending million of dollars that could have been better utilized to solve the mirage of poverty related issues at the home turf.
The ever increasing cost of living, food prices, shamble health infrastructure, along with the abysmal educational standards, means nothing to these criminal PAOPA officials. Their priorities lie on personal enrichment, while paying millions of dollars to international media organizations to shield their nakedness. Nevertheless, the people of Sierra Leone are thankful to have a few credible local institutions/organizations (Audit department, Center for Accountability and Rule of Law), who have been revealing the TRUE PICTURE in our national politics. With the unending revelations of massive corruptions happening under the watch of Francis Ben Kelfala by the Africanist press, gradually the world is coming to terms with Sierra Leone is facing against. Come what may, the citizens of Sierra Leone will have the final say. The regime will then have to show whose priorities are utmost, pleasing the citizens or misleading the international community for a few superficial awards?
With all due respect Mr Levi Fofanah, I see no sensible reason why we must be sorely afraid to speak out against some self-seeking people who have given themselves unbridled licence to exercise unrestrained injudicious authority over the over-stressed, miserable, deplorable lives of our traumatized suffering poor people. Are you saying we must all wear a muzzle and tread as cautiously as a nervous mother afraid of awakening a blissfully sleeping toddler? Is it an admirable patriotic thing to be tip-toeing around as if walking on egg-shells and refrain from ever speaking truth to power when all things are spiralling out of control? Who do these self-conceited yankees think we are? Seriously, we may be a little, poor nation but certainly not a silly people they can play with like their profitless gadgets and time wasting video games. Ben Kaifala a champion? Now you tell me…what the hell is that?(lmao)
Stargazer, at the end of the day whose voice counts? Stargazer’s or the Americans. You guys should stop attacking the Bio government. I have noticed that each time the attacks on Bio and his government intensify, Sierra Leone scores big in the international arena. Remember all those grants won by Sierra Leone last year and the MCC and now Francis Ben Kaifala? Congratulations FBK.
I would like to hear the opinions of the APC on the international recognition of the ACC boss.
I am glad to read the news story of Mr. Kaifala’s strides in the struggle against corruption as well as his investigations. He deserves this award and I am motivated by your presentation of the event.
But with all this, people in Sierra Leone are still suffering.
Congratulations to Ben Kiafala, for the award from the US state department. There is a new sheriff in town in the form of Joe Biden and his newly minted secretary of state Anthony J Blinken. A seasoned politician who knows the effect of corruption on third world countries and how they have reduced resourced rich countries like ours to poverty. They cannot feed their population or guarantee their security, whilst their leadership are busy enriching themselves. This award should be seen as a wake-up call. No more business as usual. More than anyone else, Biden understands the effect of corruption in Africa. Biden and Bio, might have shared the first two alphabets of their surnames, but that is where the similarities end.
Biden’s former boss Obama, was half African Kenyan. Although the awards will raise a few eyebrows, from a sceptical Sierra Leonean public, that are yet to see the fruits of his efforts. Sometimes, if one reads and understands the way international politics works, this is a lesson to Bio and some of his corrupt ministers. They should pay close attention to the silent message. Awards like this can be interpreted by political analysts, not as an accomplishment by the ACC boss in his fight against corruption, far from it. What we are witnessing here is, the new Biden administration, is sending a silent message to Bio, to stop breathing down the neck of the ACC boss, and let him get on with the job of fighting corruption. That is the only way our country will develop.
Right now it feels like Ben Kiafala is locked up in the paddock, and Bio won’t let him out, in case he starts annoying some of his corrupt ministers. More like if Ben kaifala was shackle in chains by Bio, this award has removed all those restraints. You just have to look at similar awards, like the Nobel Peace prize that was jointly awarded to Mandela and F W Deklerk in 1993. It happened in the middle of the final negotiations to end the apartheid system in South Africa. If anything that award helped them work together, and redouble their efforts to bring about multiracial democracy in South Africa. More like is an encouragement for the work you are doing. The award Mandela and De klerk, was just like the fight against corruption in Sierra leone, everything was at knife edge. No one knows how all this is going to play out, as top officials in the Bio government are caught in the web of corruption allegations.
This is exactly one of the reasons why people across the globe do not to take Americans seriously;(lol) Here they are, belittling themselves, celebrating a corrupt, biased, indecisive, indiscriminate Ben Kaifala who has the tendency
to be consistently wrong; A man who never admits his faults, a puppet who never attempts to apologize for his mistakes, an SLPP loser who always blames the opposition for his bad judgement and indiscretions. A CHAMPION huh?(lol) In the midst of a pack of thieving street rats, gutter rats, sewer rats and church rats that roam wild and free in broad daylight transporting stolen unhatched eggs that belong to the poorest of the poor among our people back and forth?
It is easy to see that these out of touch Americans do not know what the hell is going on in the lives of the struggling people of our beloved Sierra Leone? But Is it really possible Stargazer for an unapologetic, remorseless SLPP thief to also wear the same shiny golden crown designed strictly for the heads of our most gallant, undefeated champions? Not at all my friend, but Americans will be Americans, the bald Eagle sometimes gets things twisted.(lol) They have been known to have distorted visions; their impaired sense of judgment sometimes causes them not to be able to discern the simple differences between good, evil, right and wrong and so on and so forth. I suggest you give them the benefit of the doubt and take what you have heard coming from them with a pinch of Salt.(lol) So Ben Kaifaila that hurrys and scurries away with stolen SLPP loot in the darkness of night is a CHAMPION huh? Seriously, you guys cannot be serious!(lmao)