A five-man delegation from the Gambia is in Sierra Leone on a week-long study tour of the Anti-Corruption Commission’s (ACC) legal framework, strategies and operations as part of preparations to set up an anti-corruption agency in the Gambia. The delegation is made up of the Solicitor General of the Ministry of Justice Hussein Thomasi, State Counsel in the Ministry, Saffiatu Nyang, Officer Commanding of Prosecution of the Gambia Police Force Abdu Mannah, Officer Commanding Special Investigations Unit and Interpol of the Force Pa-Alieu Jawara and Programme Assistant Gambia Participate, a leading civil society group, Fanta Sanneh.
It is apparent that the recent consistent positive strides and acclamations that the ACC Sierra Leone keeps making have continued to attract more suitors seeking the hand of the ACC in marriage against corruption. A couple of other countries has in the recent past undertaken similar studies with the ACC, informed by the monumental gains of the Commission in the last three years.
Speaking at the conference hall of the ACC’s Gloucester Street office in Freetown on Monday 15th November 2021, the Deputy Commissioner of ACC, Augustine Foday Ngobie, who chaired the meeting, welcomed the delegation and acknowledged their valiant and fitting move to choose, closely follow and select Sierra Leone as a case study for their dream to have an anti-graft institution. He said that the ACC’s journey in the fight against corruption can be attributed to several factors and actors that are resonating positively with the fight against corruption. Mr. Ngobie said that top among these factors and actors are; the strong and determined Presidential commitment displayed by the President of the Republic of Sierra Leone Brigadier (Rtd.) Dr. Julius Maada Wonnie Bio, the sturdy legal and regulatory framework in the current Anti-Corruption Act 2008, as amended in 2019 which is one of the strongest in the continent, the National Anti-Corruption Strategy which is the country’s roadmap in the fight against corruption and the committed leadership and staff at the ACC.
He furthered that, the Commission had also received support from partners and stakeholder institutions like the Judiciary, which has established a Special Anti-Corruption Division within the High Court of Sierra Leone with dedicated Judges to exclusively try corruption cases; the civil society and media; the Audit Service Sierra Leone; the National Public Procurement Authority (NPPA) and the robustness of the ACC in addressing and responding to all corruption allegations with precision, including its prevention work in Government Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs). Mr. Ngobie also said the Commission has also been able to roll out an effective public education and communication campaign that has increased and sustained citizens’ awareness and ability to resist, reject and report suspected instances of corruption.
The Deputy Commissioner assured the visiting team of a fruitful stay, assuring to make available to them all information, data, facts and experiences to make their study tour resourceful and meaningful. He said that the bilateral and cordial relationship between the Gambia and Sierra Leone dates as far back as to the colonial and post-colonial era, and has been mutually beneficial. “I believe such cordiality and mutual relationship should continue in the interest of both countries,” he concluded.
The Solicitor General of the Gambia, who is also the Head of Delegation Hussein Thomasi, stated that Sierra Leone is a stunning trailblazer in the crusade against corruption as recent gains have earned her a an exemplary posture on the continent and the world over in the anti-graft campaign.
He said his country was far gone into the process of enacting its Anti-Corruption Bill which will culminate into the establishment of the Anti-Corruption Commission in the Gambia. “When Gambia wanted to establish the Truth and Reconciliation Commission it turned to Sierra Leone and the lessons and experiences learnt were of immense value to that process. Now that we are on the verge again of establishing an anti-corruption institution, where and to whom can we turn? When we have a good neighbor with such fascinating, consistent and historic accomplishments that have gained global accreditation in recent years, like the Transparency International Corruption Perception Index 2020, Afro-Barometer 2020 Report and the Millennium Challenge Corporation Scorecard 2021. We have chosen Sierra Leone as a country worth emulating for obvious reasons which everybody know,” he averred.
Mr. Thomasi stated that during the tour, the delegation with support from ACC, will undertake meaningful engagements with the Operational Departments of the ACC, the Lord Chief Justice, the Attorney General and Minister of Justice, Audit Service Sierra Leone, the Sierra Leone Police, Centre for Accountability and Rule of Law (CARL), Transparency International Sierra Leone Chapter, Institute for Governance Reform (IGR), Political Science and Law Departments at Fourah Bay College, the media etc. He underscored that these engagements will provide the delegation a rich and comprehensive picture of how Sierra Leone’s anti-corruption journey has been, in order to incorporate the lessons learnt into their legal, regulatory and administrative framework.