Hon. Tunis Champions New Sierra Leone Anti-Corruption Commission Amendment Bill in House

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Hon. Sidie Mohamed Tunis

By Samuel J. Kargbo 

The Leader of Government Business in Parliament, Hon. Sidi Mohamed Tunis has demonstrated true leadership qualities by lobbying the Main Opposition APC Party to support the amendment of the Anti-Corruption Act of 2008 in order to specify categories of public officers affected by the declaration requirement under Subsection (1) of Section 119 which applies to penalties for offences under the Act and other related matters.

Presenting the Bill in Parliament, the Deputy Attorney General and Minister of Justice Umaru Napoleon Koroma informed MPs about the importance of the Bill which he said is aimed at curbing corruption. He added that the new law will increase penalties for offences under the Act, strengthen protection of those who assist the Commission, provide the Commission with alternatives to prosecution, widening  the scope of corruption that includes  an accused person offering, soliciting, obtaining or receiving bribes  in addition to giving and accepting an advantage.

The new amendment will also reduce the year-long requirement that people who cease to be public officers would have to file declarations in respect of their assets and the Commissioner would be empowered to specify categories of public officers for the purpose of declaration by Statutory Instrument published in a Gazette.

It also provides for administrative sanctions for public officers who fail to submit their Assets Declaration Forms or knowingly register false, inaccurate or misleading information in the form; and to vest in the Commissioner, powers to direct that contracts may not be proceeded with. He praised MPs for agreeing that corruption in Sierra Leone must be treated with all the seriousness it deserves.

Acting Leader of the Main Opposition Party in Parliament, APC Hon. Ibrahim Ben Kargbo assured Parliament of his party’s continued support in the fight against corruption. He underscored how corruption was taking the country backwards. Therefore he called on the MPs to collectively support and amending the Bill so that it will come to pass.

Leader of Government Business Hon. Sidie Mohamed Tunis said for the first time Sierra Leone is being recognized as a “responsible State” that is championing the fight against corruption. He told MPs that the fight against corruption must never be discriminatory as it is supposed to be a clean fight which the President himself and other institutions have pledged to fight and win.

“We know corruption will fight back, but as a responsible government we will ensure we endure the fight to stop it,” he expressed optimism. Hon. Tunis concluded that the Bill should be amended to make it painful for those who are involved in corrupt practices.

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