By: Hawa Deen Conteh- Public Education Officer, ACC
In the battle against corruption in Sierra Leone, the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) has been at the forefront, making significant strides in the fight for transparency and accountability. At the helm of this remarkable transformation stands Commissioner Francis Ben Kaifala Esq., whose tenure has been marked by numerous achievements.
This article explores the key successes of the ACC during the past five years, highlighting Commissioner Kaifala`s leadership in driving change.
One of the pivotal moments in the ACC`s journey is the passing of the 2019 Amendment Act of the Anti-Corruption Act of 2008. This legislation brought significant changes to the ACC`s mandate, equipping it with more robust tools to combat corruption. Other legal reforms have empowered the ACC to be more effective in its anti-corruption efforts.
The establishment of the Scorpion Squad, a specialized unit within the ACC has proven to be a game-changer in tackling corruption. Tasked with swift interventions for positive results and quick impacts, the squad has successfully apprehended individuals engaged in corrupt practices. Notable cases are those involved in examination malpractices and bribery, who have been efficiently handled, sending a strong message that corruption will not be tolerated and entertained.
The ACC recognized that combating corruption requires more than just legal enforcement; it demands a shift in societal attitudes. The Public Education and External Outreach Department was established to raise awareness about the corrosive effects of corruption. Through workshops, campaigns and educational programs, meeting with Ministries Departments and Agencies (MDAs), establishment of Integrity and Accountability Clubs in Colleges and Universities, engagements with rural communities in the Regions, this Department has engaged the public in the anti-corruption movement, fostering a culture of integrity and accountability.
Sierra Leone`s international rankings in anti-corruption indices saw significant improvement under Commissioner Kaifala`s leadership. The ACC worked diligently to enhance the country`s reputation on the global stage, which, in turn, attracted foreign investment and boosted economic development. Moreover, the Prevention Unit focused on proactively reducing opportunities for corruption, implementing measures to safeguard public recourses and minimized the risk of corrupt practices.
To ensure swift and effective justice in corruption cases, the Special Anti-Corruption (SAC) Division within the High Court of Sierra Leone was established. This specialized court, dedicated solely to handing corruption-related cases, expedited legal proceedings. High-profile individuals involved in corrupt activities have been prosecuted, and justice served accordingly. This special Anti-Corruption Division became a symbol of ACC`s commitment to holding corrupt individual accountable.
Moreover, Commissioner Kaifala`s leadership witnessed the ACC`s overall growth and maturation. During this period, the ACC received dozens of awards and accolades for its anti-corruption efforts, both nationally and internationally. These recognitions stand as a testament to the Commission`s dedication to its mission, vision and mandate.
One of the most compelling indicators of success is the recovery of stolen public funds. Under Commissioner Kaifala’s leadership, millions of dollars were recovered, returning valuable assets to the people of Sierra Leone. High-profile cases that resulted in the retrieval of stolen assets demonstrated the ACC`s unwavering commitment to justice.
In conclusion the ACC under the stewardship of the Commissioner Francis Ben Kaifala Esq., has made remarkable strides in the fight against corruption in Sierra Leone. The 2019 Amendments Act of 2008, the Scorpion Squad, robust Public Education and Outreach campaigns, favorable and positive national and international anti-corrupting rankings, the massive prevention drive, and the creation of a Special Anti-Corruption Division within the High Court to try corruption cases, and the huge recovery of stolen funds stand as tangible evidence of the ACC`s successes.
These achievements have not only transformed Sierra Leone anti-corruption landscape but also set a shining example for nations around the world to emulate. As the ACC continues to evolve and adapt, it remains a point of reference and admiration in Africa.