By Amin Kef (Ranger)
The Anti-Corruption Commission Sierra Leone and Transparency International Sierra Leone Chapter, on the 11th July, 2023, commemorated African Anti-Corruption Day on the theme, ‘‘Fighting Corruption NOW for the Africa We want’’.
On this day in 2003, the African Union Convention on Preventing and Combating Corruption (AUCPCC) was adopted in Maputo, Mozambique which came into effect in 2006 and has since then been ratified by 48 Member States of the African Union including Sierra Leone. This year marked the seventh edition of the African Anti-Corruption Day and the twentieth (20th) anniversary of the AUCPCC.
The purpose of the Day was to give prominence to the fight against corruption by commemorating the adoption of the AUCPCC as the tool for fighting corruption in Africa.
It must be noted that the Government of Sierra Leone, together with the Anti-Corruption Commission Sierra Leone (ACC-SL) and Civil Society Organizations, including, Transparency International Sierra Leone Chapter, has always expressed its unflinching desire to wage a robust fight against corruption.
The President, His Excellency Brig. (Rtd.) Dr Julius Maada Bio recently reiterated his Government’s commitment to curb corruption as it poses “an existential threat’ to the developmental aspirations of the country.
The ACC, on the other hand, has been leveraging on the tremendous Presidential and Political WILL demonstrated by the Government of President Brig. (Rtd.) Dr. Julius Maada Bio in the last five years to wage the war on corruption like never seen before. This has resulted in unprecedented gains in the areas of Public Education and Awareness on corruption issues, Prevention through Systems and Processes Reviews of public offices, Investigations and Prosecutions which have produced over 90 percent conviction rate. Through partnerships facilitated by the ACC, civil society organizations also continue to raise awareness on the dangers of corruption and the need for citizens to take ownership of the fight against the scourge.
The robust anti-corruption approach undertaken by the ACC has seen Sierra Leone make tremendous gains in the fight against corruption as the country currently records 79 percent in the “Control of Corruption’’ indicator in the Millennium Challenge Corporation Scorecard and 110 out of 180 countries surveyed in the 2022 Transparency International Corruption Perception Index (TI-CPI). The ACC has also in the last five years, recovered public funds over Forty-Five (45) Billion (Old) Leones, a two-storey hotel building and two Toyota Land Cruiser vehicles from corrupt individuals as part of the Commission’s Non-conviction based Asset Recovery approach.
The ACC and TI-SL maintain that as they reflect on the dire consequences of corruption on the Nation, the Continent and the World at large it is a threat to the progress and development of citizens and the country at all times, for which reason they should tackle it.
ACC and TI-SL called on ALL Sierra Leoneans to act conscientiously against corruption by speaking up, reporting any suspected acts of corruption to the ACC and embracing transparency, accountability and integrity in public and private life.