An independent institution established for the prevention, investigation, prosecution and punishment of corruption, corrupt practices and to provide for other related matters. 

Contact us on: +23278832131 or info@anticorruption.gov.sl
Address:  Integrity House, Tower Hill, Freetown Sierra Leone, West Africa.



 By: Mohamed A. Kabba, Public Education Officer, ACC

I have often asked myself the following questions: “Is sweet talk an act of sycophancy?”  “Is it driven by the disobedient forces of poverty?” “Is it because that the centerpiece of integrity can no longer hold?” Or “Is it as a result of citizens ‘gullibility?”

Every aspect of the society today is infected with the habit of sweet talk, thus making leaders to abandon official responsibilities. Yielding to such cruel nurture of sycophancy has increasingly influenced corrupt officials to shamelessly continue to take advantage in scamming the people of Sierra Leone.

Culturally, act of flattering now emerges as a captivating force, often influencing individuals towards ethically questionable path. This now makes public officials to breach conventional proceedings at the expense of national growth and cohesion. Therefore, the fear of losing self-benefits makes it impossible to unearth such unconventional practices; hence leaving vulnerable public funds to be devoured by the tiger claws of “conspiracy, embezzlement and societal deprivation.”Those who may selflessly attempt to unstitch such conspiracy are sometimes ganged-up against, sacked or transferred to far-flung communities. They are subsequently silent and made to seat and watch from the gallery whilst the conspiracy theory for embezzlement and societal deprivation remains to be in play. Similarly, there are those whom out of unequal share, gluttony and self-interest may decide to turn themselves into “whistle blowers” because rogues are already falling apart.

Acts of sweet talk is comparatively synonymous to sycophancy, and that Corruption is viewed as a Disturbing combined effect that deepens and fuels the corrupt tendencies of individuals. This synergy poses a significant threat to the professional environment and the wider moral fabrics of society, thus exposing the masses at the beck and call of the most powerful and corrupt. In practical sense, from far flung/had to reach communities, informal sectors, the corporate corridors to the political arenas of Sierra Leone, the Anti-Corruption Commissioner, Francis Ben Kaifala ESQ and team has and are still working assiduously to make acts of corruption a non-lucrative business. But have we the people of Sierra Leone collectively with resilience questioned those in possession of unexplained wealth? Or have we truly complemented such effort by questioning the means of such acquisition? Certainly not, instead we are passionately focused on hailing and lavishing insincere songs of praises on the corrupt. Apparently, they are hailed as the big boys of the society, while the masses in the display of sycophantic attitude and gullibility subdue themselves to the mantra of “de pa you borbor dae”. This often make leaders to feel and see themselves as demigods giving handouts to their prey, instead of the duty and obligation they owe to the people of Sierra Leone. Ironically, both the elites and non-elites have often and again engulfed themselves with sweet talk, while  dressing corrupt officials in borrowed robes of honor is an act of hesitation from being made redundant or hushed in all official activities that attract financial benefits. These cases shed light on how this phenomenon acts as an agent, aiding individuals to a darker ethical territories and procedures.

Correspondingly, this aspect of the article gives an insight interpretation of “sweet talk”, its corrosive effects on society and how it can wear downself-integrity. Its proclivity to expose citizens’ gullibility and state of poverty is extremely unbearable. The article further attempts indicating strategies for mitigation. Let’s start with:

·         The notion of sweet talk: Understanding the motivation behind sycophancy is crucial to the survival theory. But the enormous use of power has significantly subdued and accelerated the need for sweet talk and opened the gateway for the perpetration of corruption. This has further lured individuals into the darkest webs of corruption. This is so because the mental resilience of citizens is often and again sneaked into and rendered vulnerable based on the high proliferation of poverty, lack of integrity and citizens’ gullibility.


·         Poverty: Poverty here is in three folds; that is, “Absolute Poverty” (refers to a lack of the basic necessities of life such as: food, water, shelter and sanitation), while “Relative Poverty” (is a measure of income inequality within a society, where people are considered poor if their income fall significantly below the average income of the population). “Cultural Poverty” indicates exclusion from mainstream national activities and opportunities. Therefore, citizens entrapped in any of these conditions may be forced to curry favor from the corrupts through sweet talk. This may significantly contribute to the continuation of poverty and inequality in the long run.


·         Integrity: This includes the principles or standards of knowing that which is right from wrong behavior. It considerably guides individuals or societies in making ethical decisions and choices. It helps individuals navigate complex social interactions for the overall wellbeing of communities. On the contrary, those who engage in sweet talk to leaders may hide or distort the truth, making it difficult to hold leaders or themselves accountable for wrong actions. This can erode public trust and integrity, leading to a breakdown in moral standards and ethical behavior, thus creating a platform for public officials to avoid responsibility and disregard for ethical principles.


·         Gullibility: People who choose the path of sycophancy may lack critical thinking skills and widely expose to emotional vulnerability, social pressure and intellectual biasness. In essence, individuals that are gullible may become easily manipulated and deceived because they are expected to believe and trust corrupt individuals in turn for favor, without questioning their public actions, overlook inconsistencies or red flags.


·         Societal deprivation: Resources often meant to install infrastructural amenities for the people of Sierra Leone can now be easily stolen by corrupt officials. Such acts by corrupt officials have the tendencies to deprive the masses from enjoying societal growth and community-driven initiatives. It is the masses that suffer out of such callous behavior, thus exposing the country’s national development plans to feed from the harsh realities of unpatriotic behavior and disregard for law and order.

·         Strategies for Mitigation: Mitigating the influence of sycophancy requires education, transparency and the establishment of robust ethical frameworks, emerging as essential tools in fostering ethical resilience.


·         Increasing Public Awareness (A Societal Antidote): Heightening public awareness and knowledge on the ramifications of corruption can produce informed and vigilant citizens that are ready and determined to challenge influences and actions compromising ethical standards. Actions seen as protecting sacred cows are insignificant to the fight against corruption, while love for country and loyalty should remain to make the difference. Putting Sierra Leone’s interest above all sycophantic sentiments, causes and effects will make the people firmly united to fight against corrupt officials.


Indeed, sycophancy can influence acts of corruption within the Professional Work Setting. This however requires a collective effort, public sensitization and awareness, strategic engagement and the cultivation of integrity and ethical leadership. These attributes are imperative for the safeguard of a just and principled society.