By Amin Kef (Ranger)
While President Julius Maada Bio has warmly embraced the recent Transparency International Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI) report, which positioned Sierra Leone at 108 out of 180 countries ,the Anti-Corruption Commissioner, Francis Ben Kaifala Esq, in a message he delivered on February 2, 2024, brimming with optimism and triumph, shared groundbreaking revelations from the recently released Afrobarometer Corruption Survey 2023, highlighting remarkable progress in the country’s anti-corruption efforts.
Ben Kaifala revealed that Sierra Leone has emerged as one of the standout success stories in Africa, with a staggering 58% majority of its citizens expressing confidence in the Government’s fight against corruption. According to him, such marks a monumental ascent from the mere 19% approval garnered in 2015, signifying a resounding 39% increase.
He said surprisingly, only 7% of citizens now consider corruption a major issue, a stark contrast to its previous status as the primary concern for the nation further expressing gratitude for the vote of confidence, emphasizing the significance of such a shift in public perception.
The Anti-Corruption Commissioner disclosed that Sierra Leone stands as the third-best country in Africa for the judicious management of COVID-19 funds, learning from past mistakes during the Ebola crisis. He proudly asserted that, aside from Tanzania and Seychelles, no other African nation outperformed Sierra Leone in handling pandemic-related funds.
Furthermore, he highlighted that corruption prevalence in Sierra Leone has plummeted well below the African average of 58%, showcasing a resounding victory for the nation. While acknowledging a need for improvement in the police sector, he celebrated positive data reflecting reduced corruption across various other sectors.
With Transparency International confirming a commendable leap in rankings from 130 in 2017 to an impressive 108 in 2023, the ACC Boss noted Sierra Leone’s prominent position, surpassing 71 countries globally and 31 in Africa. The Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) scorecard also revealed consistent excellent passes for six consecutive years since 2018.
Ben Kaifala concluded by emphasizing the need for sustaining the momentum in the fight against corruption and credited this transformative journey to the leadership of President Brig. (Rtd) Dr. Julius Maada Bio, asserting that Sierra Leone has successfully laundered its image in just five years. While also acknowledging the remaining challenges, he expressed optimism about the country’s path to greatness and urged continued collective efforts.
In a final note, the Anti-Corruption Commissioner extended heartfelt congratulations to Sierra Leone, stating, “We are winning big; but it is because we are winning that we must keep fighting as though we are losing!”