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.”