2024

ANTI-CORRUPTION COMMISSION OF SIERRA LEONE

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.

WEEKLY NEWSLETTER Issue 2 Volume 4 12-16 February 2024

Public Education / Newsletters

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1. 12th—16th February 2024 Issue 2 Volume 4 INTEGRITY HOUSE, TOWER HILL FREETOWN, SIERRA LEONE EDITORIAL TEAM EDITOR - IN - CHIEF Abubakarr Turay EDITORS Sylvanus Blake Alex A. Bah LAYOUT & GRAPHICS Philippa M. Davies EDITORIAL ADVISERS Augustine Foday Ngobie Patrick Sandi  Certainly, corruption is one of the behav- iours mostly condemned by Islam, as evi- denced by multiple verses in the Quran. For example, according to Verse 77 of Surah Al - Qasas, Allah says: “ Seek the life to come through what God has granted you, but do not neglect your rightful share in this world. Do good to others as God has done good to you. Do not seek to spread corruption in the land, for God does not love those who do this” Yes, Allah detests those who practice corruption.  In addition to the Qur'an, the Hadiths or teachings of the Holy Prophet of Islam stated that the Prophet warned mankind against corruption in His Kutubas (sermons) to His Sahabas (Followers), saying that it would damage a person's soul and keep them from entering Aljan- nah (Heaven).  The misuse of resources under the care of those entrusted to protect them for and on behalf of others is typically referred to as corruption. According to the Al - Bukhari Hadith, Abdullah ibn `Umar (may Allah be pleased with him) claimed to have heard  The Amir of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Jamaat, Honourable, Ministers, Parliamentarians and Heads of Public Institutions present, Invited Guests and Jamaat of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Jamaat: I say Assalamualaikum and Peace Be Upon You All. I also bring you greetings from the Commissioner, Management and Staff of the Anti - Corruption Commission (ACC).  I want to start off by stating that if you want to look at how the Ahmadi- ya Jamaat has impacted Sierra Leone, look no further more because I am one of the biggest beneficiaries of their social and educational contributions to this country, as I am a proud alumnus of the Nasirr Ahmadiyya Secondary School in Kenema, under the principleship of L.R Mahmoud (that is, 1977/78 – 1981/82).  As we gather here today, I am honored to speak to you about the vital link between Islam and the fight against corruption in our beloved Si- erra Leone.  Just like the Anti - Corruption Commission , Islam teaches us to uphold the principles of justice, integrity, and transparency. It calls upon us, to foster a society based on fairness, equity, and accountability. Therefore, it is only natural that we explore the role of Islam in tackling corruption, which is a grave societal ill that affects the lives of ordinary Sierra Leoneans. ACC Deputy Commissioner, Augustine Foday Ngobie delivering his message Contd on pg 4

3. By: Edward N. Blake, Senior Public Education Officer, ACC Page 3 T he Public Education team of the Anti - Corruption Commission (ACC) in the Eastern Regional head quarter town of Kenema, on 8th Feb- ruary 2024,dialogued with students and some Lecturers of the Eastern Technical University (ETU), in what can be described as A FACE TO FACE CONVERSATIONon the dangers of corruption and how it has damaged every fabric of society, especially the University system. It must be emphasized that this engagement is coming barely after the indictment of the Assistant Finance Officer for ETU, Sheku Abdulai Kamara on 26 count charges of misappropriation of public funds by ACC. Earlier in his welcome statement, the Public Relations Officer, Eastern Technical University, Augustine Amara Kanneh said the visit of the ACC was timely as they are preparing for their first semester Examinations. The PRO further said that ETU has enjoyed a convivial relationship with the ACC all these years and hope to strengthen it. He however encouraged the students to pay keener attention on issues re- lating to examination malpractices. Giving a brief history of the ACC and its mandate, Senior Public Education Officer of the Commission in Kenema, Edward N Blake said that the Anti - Corruption Commission is a product of the recommendations proffered by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC). He said immediately after the 11years rebel war of Sierra Leone, the TRC was formed primarily to look at the antecedents of the war. Amongst which CORRUPTION stood out as one of the major causes. It was therefore recommended by the TRC that an Institution/Commission whose sole responsibility shall be to fight Corruption be established. Mr Blake did a quick rundown on the various Departments of the Com- mission and their functions highlighting with much emphasis, the MEET THE UNIVERSITY CAMPAIGN as one of the activities of the Public Ed- ucation and Outreach Department. He concluded by soliciting the support of the students and lecturers, to creating and strengthening an ACCOUNTABILITY NOW CLUB that will serve as an integrity hub on campus to checkmate any acts of corruption and cor- rupt practices. Updating students and lecturers of ETU on gains and progress made in the fight against corruption, the Regional Manager ACC in Kenema, Pe- ter Baio Kamara said, Sierra Leone is performing far more better in the fight against corruption now than ever before. He said both national and interna- tional data are speaking to that. The most recent improvement from 110 to 108 on the Transparency International Perception Index, 2023 with a score of 35 above the Sub - saharan average and the 58% approval rating in the Afro - barometer Report 2022/2023, is a vote of mass confidence in our collective effort, Mr. Kamara asserted. Speaking on the dangers of examination malpractices, Patrick Hinga George, Public Education Officer ACC, underscored the short term effect as the ‘feel - good - effect’, whilst the long term is, the erosion of the socio - economic development of the country. He warned against sexually transmitted grades. Mr George also outlined few corruption offences and their corresponding penalties stating that, besides the stipulated minimum 5 - years or Le 50,000 fines, the presiding Judge can as well slam both fine and prison term. Highlighting the importance of the new Asset regime, Mr. George said it helps the Commission to keep track of assets, income and liabilities of all public officers of Grade 7 and upwards, thereby addressing issues regarding possession of unexplained wealth. Ignorance of the law is no excuse, and the law is no respecter of persons, George cautioned. In her submission Madam Abibatu Abu - Mattia, Regional Prevention Officer, ACC East, implored the students to can join the fight against corruption by serving as whistleblowers. She also encouraged them to resist, reject and report any acts of corruption as and when they see it. An ounce of prevention is better than a pound of prosecution, Madam Abibatu furthered. Questions which were responded to by staff of the ACC, formed part of the engagement . Regional Manager, ACC East, Peter B. Kamara updating students and lecturers on the gains made by the ACC Edward N. Blake Snr. Public Education Officer, ACC providing an overview of the ACC to students and lecturers of ETU

2. Page 2 OUTSTANDINGLY ranked 3 rd for good management of the funds across 39 countries with the average percentage of 68 and Sierra Leone recording only 43 per cent, whereas, Tunisia, Kenya and Nigeria poorly recorded 89 percent, 88 percent and 83 percent respectively. However, the Report shows that citizens’ perception of police corruption remains grim with a 72% of an average of 46%.In that regard, the Commission reiterates its commitment to continue collaborating with the leadership of the Sierra Leo- ne Police to address issues of bribery in their operations. Furthermore, the 2023 Afro - Barometer Round 9 Survey Report states that, Two - thirds (67%) of Africans believe their Government is failing in the fight against corruption, with the exception of Sierra Leone, Benin, Tanzania, Zambia, Mali and Guinea, where citizens trust that their Government’s anti - graft campaign is yielding dividends. In the last Afro - Barometer Round 8 Survey Report conducted in 2014/2015, Sierra Leone was rated an abysmal 19 percent, which shows that corruption prevalence in the country has continued to experience a decline as well as a show of strong Government determination and effectiveness in combating the scourge. Commenting on the findings of the Report, the Commissioner of ACC, Francis Ben Kaifala Esq. said: “This is good news for the country’s massive T he most recent Afrobarometer Survey Report, Round 9, 2021/2023, covering 39 countries, has ranked Government of Sierra Leone’s Performance in fighting corruption with a Score of 58 per cent, far above the 39 - country average of 29 per cent. Sierra Leo- ne is also ranked as one of ONLY Six (6) African countries with ma- jority approval of their Government’s stellar performance in fighting corruption. The country further ranks 39 per cent, 2nd to Benin 58 per cent, with huge change in approval of Government’s performance in the fight against corruption. The Report further shows a significant DECLINE of only 7 percent of Sierra Leoneans who consider corruption as the most important problem facing Sierra Leone. According to the Report, 51 percent of citizens think the level of corruption has increased with an average HIGH increase of 58%; as opposed to 71 per cent recorded in the survey rounds in 2014/2015, thereby showing a significant DECREASE. Comparatively, in other African countries, 82 per cent of respondents in South Africa; 77 percent in Ghana, Gambia and Kenya; 76 per cent, 74 per cent and 73 per cent in Liberia, Nigeria and Senegal respectively; think the level of corruption has increased in their respective countries. In the area of African Governments’ management of COVID - 19 funds, Sierra Leone is strides in the fight against corruption, especially so when it corroborates other local and international transparency surveys which continue to rate Sierra Leone highly favorably. For example, according to the 2023 Transparency International Corruption Perception Index published on 30 th January, 2024, for the 5 th consecutive year in five years, Sierra Leone progressed 22 places upwards in the TI Rankings, moving from 110 in 2022 to 108 out of 180 countries surveyed. As we are about to usher in a new National Anti - Corruption Strategy, we will only assure Sierra Leoneans that the fight against corruption will continue to be tougher and fiercer in a bid to make far more gains than we have had in the recent past.” Afro - barometer is a pan - African, non - partisan survey research network that provides reliable data on African experiences and evaluations of democracy, governance, and quality of life.

4. Contd from Pg 1 the Prophet state that a man is a guardian of his father's property and is accountable for it. Thus, every one of you is a guardian and accountable for the things entrusted to your care.  A large number of Sierra Leoneans are Muslims, and some of us handle resources granted by the government and its partners for and on behalf of Sierra Leone. How, though, have those Muslims who occupied positions of trust complied with the prohibitions against corruption in the handling of such resources?  Ladies and Gentlemen, corruption is a menace that undermines the rule of law, erodes public trust, and perpetuates poverty. It robs our people of their dignity, their rights, and their opportunities. Corruption is an obstacle to our progress as a nation, and its consequences are felt by everyone.  The fight against corruption is not only a legal or political issue; it is also a moral and ethical one. Therefore, we need to look beyond legal frameworks and institutional reforms and tap into the ethical and moral values that guide our actions.  Islam provides us with a framework of values and principles that can help us combat corruption. The Quran and the Hadith contain numerous verses and teachings that emphasize honesty, fairness, and accountability.  Islam directs us to avoid corrupt practices and seek to promote the greater good. It calls upon us to prioritize justice over personal gain and to treat public resources with respect and responsibility. It is the Islamic way to stand up against oppression, exploitation, and dishonesty, as contained in Surah Al - Nisa – 29: “ O believers! Do not devour one another’s wealth illegally, but rather trade by mutual consent. And do not kill ˹each other or˺ yourselves. Surely Allah is ever Merciful to you”.  In light of this, we need to re - examine our relationship with Islam and the role it can play in our collective fight against corruption. We need to harness the moral and ethical values espoused by Islam and integrate them into our social and legal frameworks.  We as Islamic scholars should imbibe the culture of including anti - corruption teachings in sermons in our different Masjids, as we are moral guarantors who command great respect in our different communities.  Sierra Leone has made tremendous strides in the fight against corruption over the past few years under the Government of His Excellency Brigadier (Retired) Julius Maada Bio. At the Transparency International Corruption Perception Index, for exam- ple, Sierra Leone has made massive progress from a position of 130 in 2017 to 108 in 2023.  Sierra Leone has also been outstanding in its Score in the ‘Control of Corruption’ Indicator in the Millennium Challenge Corporation Scorecard, with consistent excellent scores above 70% in the last six years . Similar exponential jumps have been recorded in other respected global corruption measurement institutions like Afro - barometer which confirmed that corruption prevalence has considerably reduced from 70% in 2015 to 40% in 2020, when the last survey was conducted.  However, we all know that much more needs to be done to create an environment that is hostile to corruption. We need to continue to improve transparency and accountability, and raise public awareness on the dangers of corruption.  For this, we need to tap into the strong Islamic values and principles that can help us in this fight. We need to work together to create a society that is just, honest, and transparent, a society that reflects the true spirit of Islam.  In conclusion, I urge Islamic clerics to teach the values of transparency, honesty and integrity and apply them in our fight against corruption. We owe it to ourselves and to the generations to come. We al- so need to do this to please our Maker and for us all to develop a Sierra Leone that is prosperous for us and our children yet unborn. Thank you, and may peace be upon us all.

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