By: David Yusuf Kabia, Public Education Officer, ACC
The war on corruption must remain a primary focus at the heart of any Government and its people the world over, should the latter be provided with opportunities to better develop within their institutional capacities.
Along this thread or better still social jurisprudential reasoning, the belief that society alongside its people are bound to develop lies at the crux of what is known as the 'Political Will' to allow the law against graft have its fair share on those who offend its peace. While it cannot be strongly averred that the 'political will' alone can curb corruption in society, yet it is safer to maintain that institutional cooperation in providing needed social opportunities for man and society cannot be overemphasised. That political will, it can proudly be voiced, has helped the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) under the authorship of a passion-driven Francis Ben Kaifaia ESQ to better 'nip corruption in the bud'.
The existence of the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) is to support States across the World in the containment of corruption to its barest minimum for the betterment of its people. On that token, the MCC has for the past six years consecutively rated Sierra Leone positively on its commitment and sustained efforts in fighting corruption.
In 2017, with a failing 49% assessment by the MCC in addressing corruption, Sierra Leone was considered as a bedfellow of corruption, a definition that brought us disrespect and less positive attention from key world development partners.
Since 2018 to date, that definition no longer shares a space in the ‘Control of Corruption’ indicator on the MCC scorecard when it relates to Sierra Leone.
In six consecutive years, Sierra Leone has proudly carried with it the emblem of honour showing that nothing is impossible by passing the ‘Control of Corruption’ Indicator on the MCC scorecard. A 71% maiden ‘A’ score in 2018 from a failing 49% score in 2017 is undeniable evidence of both the political will and the commitment of the Commission to remove Sierra Leone off that stench of corruption that scared away good partners to Sierra Leone’s development.
A further 79% score in 2019 was an assurance that Sierra Leone will no longer do business as usual in ensuring corruption is contained regardless who the culprit is. The country later in 2020 scored 81%, in 2021 83% and in 2022 79%. This progression of pass since 2018 to 2022 is such an admirable feat gained among her peers in the fight against corruption.
Can we say a failing 49% in 2017 is better than a passing 76% in 2023? Can we without an iota of impartiality disregard Sierra Leone’s commitment to containing corruption in the last five years? The Commission’s commitment since 2018 in fighting graft is not only visibly evident in the data showing progression with international corruption watchdog institutions but also in the prevalence of corruption that has dropped considerably; in the awareness of more people now than ever of the existence of the ACC and its work; that the political class no longer enjoys behind the veil of ‘sacred cows’; public servants becoming more afraid of being prosecuted for corruption and more.
The truth cannot be made a lie and the reverse is true. The ACC in its commitment to fighting graft has not faltered in the years passed nor is the political will no longer there to support the fight. In fact, the political will has aided the fight against corruption in the last five years more than ever before. The Commission’s prosecution rate and public education engagement on the values of avoiding corruption and benefits of imbibing integrity is still on the rise. More people now know about the Commission’s work than before. The prevalence of corruption, according to a survey conducted by Afro-Barometer has dropped considerably from 70% in 2017 to 40% in 2022 when Francis Ben Kaifala Esq. took over the reins of leadership at the ACC.
We can chose to cherry-pick the gains already made. We can chose to refer to the recent MCC score as a fail. We can chose to disregard the fact that the Commission’s commitment still remains progressive. Passing ten (10) out of twenty (20) Indicators including ‘Control of Corruption’ on the MCC scorecard is a massive success the ACC has maintained. What cannot be denied is that Sierra Leone’s commitment to the fight against corruption remains unwavering.