By: Alex A. Bah
Some three years ago, the huge burden of leading the fight against corruption, was placed on the young shoulders of Francis Ben Kaifala. As the armor and torch bearer in this deadly war, in a country like ours that corruption has infected and affected all societal fabrics, defeating such a giant enemy doesn't come easy. As difficult as it is, the all acclaimed People's Commissioner took a very giant step that saw a more robust, ruthless, unyielding and uncompromising efforts to expunge corruption that has permeated every nook and cranny of our society.
Three years on, the country like never before has been shown how much we can gain from breaking the chain and vicious cycle of corruption, by using appropriate and decisive reforms. Since the commencement of the young Commissioner's tenure, Sierra Leone has been enjoying a steady and exponential rise in indexes and reports from eminent institutions both locally and Internationally. The Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) Scorecard saw an incremental rise of the country from 49 failing percent in 2017, to a stellar 81 percent in 2020. This impressive rise instrumentally lead to the county's selection for a multi-million dollar compact development fund by the United State's government.
The Corruption Perception Index (CPI) had Sierra Leone in 2019, registered its highest score of 129 in 2018 to 119 in 2019, and 117 in 2020. The Afro Barometer Corruption Perception Survey Report had the citizen's belief in the fight against corruption moved from 40 percent in 2015, to 66 percent in 2019. In 2020, the citizen's perception on corruption prevalence reduced from 70 percent in 2015, to 40 percent in 2020. The National Corruption Perception Survey in 2019 also indicated that 92 percent of respondents believe that the Commission is gaining enormous grounds in the anti-graft fight.
Most notably, the 2019 Anti-Corruption Amendment Act saw the firm indication and commitment of the ACC Czar to minimize corruption to the barest minimum. The act represent stiffer punishments, witness protection, robust asset declaration, among other key areas captured in it.
Addressing also the speedy trial of corruption related matters, a special Anti-Corruption Division was established, with five designated judges to preside and speedily dispose corruption cases. A landmark achievement in the fight against corruption.
All of these efforts however, saw the ACC winning over 90% of its prosecutions, and in the process recovered over 2. 8 Million Dollars from corrupt government officials and institutions. Buildings and vehicles including two Toyota Land Cruisers have also been recovered.
However, these strides and impressive results of the this dynamic young man, captured the attention and admiration from all quarters; locally and Internationally. From being called to serve as President of the Network of Anti-Corruption Institutions in West Africa, to his recent election to serve in the African Union Advisory Board on Corruption. The Commissioner has shown that better is indeed possible. He has been invited and delivered public lecture in almost every tertiary Institution in Sierra Leone, to emerging leaders that see him as the symbol of hope of this great nation.
Both locally and Internationally, the young Commissioner within these three years has received over 40 awards and Recognitions. His unwavering desire and approach in tackling pervasive corruption in public spheres, has to a very large extent destroyed the myth that "Corruption is a Culture". The widespread awareness through his effective Public Relations Department has hugely contributed to stimulating the consciousness of the public on corruption, its grave perennial repercussions, and punishment. His nationwide tours and public lectures has helped in cascading vital Anti-Corruption messages to ordinary Sierra Leoneans and young people that often bear the brunt of corruption, by appealing to the their senses of reasonings to despise, resist, reject and report all forms of corruption.
The stage is now set, and his mouthwatering successes has indicated how much we can achieve as a nation by effecting appropriate policy measures.
Hearty Congratulations Commissioner Francis Ben Kaifala. I can only fervently pray and look forward to more successes in your subsequent years in office.
🔃Feel Free to Share🔃