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 6 26 February - 1st March 2024

Public Education / Newsletters

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2. By: Sylvanus Blake, PRO - ACC Page 2 T he Anti - Corruption Commission (ACC) has announced that, pursuant to Section 7 (1)(b) of the Anti - Corruption (Amendment Act), 2019 it has entered into a Non - Prosecution Agreement with EMMANUEL SMART, Accounting Officer at the Sierra Leone Roads Authority (SLRA) and IBRAH IM MUSA BANGURA, Accountant at the Accountant - General’s Department, after recovering the total sum of Four Million, Six Hundred and Fifty - four Thousand, Six Hundred and Fifty - eight (New) Leones (Le4,654,658) from them in cash. The Commission has also fully recovered a further 10%interest on the said sum – amounting to Four Hundred and Sixty - five Thousand, Four Hundred and Sixty - five (New) Leones (Le465,465), and imposed a 3 - year ban precluding them from holding public office in Sierra Leone with immediate effect. This follows the Commission’s investigation into the matter involving a staff of SLRA and the Accountant General’s Department, in which over Eight Million Six Hundred Thousand (New) Leones meant as payment for the completion of the construction of the Kenema - Pendembu Highway was criminally diverted by them. The Four Million, Six Hundred and Fifty - four Thousand, Six Hundred and Fifty - eight (New) Leones (Le4,654,658) represents the total amount that EMMANUEL SMART AND IBRAHIM MUSA BANGURA withdrew from the banking system through the Kabala Community Bank, where they had diverted the funds and shared it before the remaining amount w as blocked jointly by Ministry of Finance and the ACC. The ACC states that EMMANUEL SMART and IBRAHIM MUSA BANGURA have paid the full amount misappropriated plus 10% interest and are further banned from holding any public office in Sierra Leone for a minimum of three (3) years, pursuant to Section 7(1) (b) (i) & (ii) of the Anti - Corruption (Amendment Act), 2019. Their respective offices will, therefore, be notified and must DISMISS them from their respective public service posts immediately. Meanwhile, five other persons were investigated in the matter – Jacob T. Sessie - Deputy Director of Budget; John Ellie - Principal Accountant; Philip Yomba – Senior Accountant; Starlyn Kemoh – Accountant; Joseph Johnson – Accountant all of the Ministry of Finance and the Accountant - General’s Department respectively, have been referred to their respective institutions for strong administrative disciplinary action for their respective roles in facilitating the crime or alleged benefit from it.

3. Page 3 T he Anti - Corruption Commission (ACC) says it has come to its attention that the leaderships of some Ministries, Departments, and Agencies (MDAs) in Sierra Leone are creating and forcing their staff to sign what they call “Oaths of Secrecy and Confidentiality.” According to a press release, these designed oath s prescribe coercive undertones and punitive sanctions for non - compliance by staff or set consequences for divulging information that the staff comes into contact with by virtue of their position or duties. While purportedly presented to safeguard sensitive information, this practice raises signif icant questions regarding integrity, transparency, and accountability, which are values public institutions must uphold at all times. There is often no legal and policy basis for such moves outside of proper but limited best practice justifications like national security, public health, law enforcement, or specific fiduciary responsibilities like banks. Even more concerning is that they are drafted so broadly that they are designed to operate simply as a “gag” on staff. Therefore, outside of the minimal spheres where such secrecy requirements may ex ist, compelling staff to sign Oaths of Secrecy in MDAs, outside of standard professionalism requirements generally required for al l public officers, can undermine transparency and accountability and create an unsafe space for s ubordinates in their professional public duties. The Commission says it views this new spate of forced proliferation of “Oaths of Secrecy and Confidentiality” as deliberate and intended to avoid public accountability and scrutiny, more so when they deter employe es from speaking out on issues of public concern, thereby stifling whistle - blowing efforts and hindering efforts to address systemic problems and sometimes maladministration, corruption, and corrupt practices. “Public officers should not be unduly burdened with constraints that inhibit their ability to fulfill their duties professionally, ethically, and responsibly, nor should they be coerced into silence regarding matter s that affect the public interest,” the ACC press release states. It further notes that these sec recy documents cannot override the laws of Sierra Leone and may be used as evidence of deliberate failure to follow processes and proce dures, corrupt enterprises aimed to gag staff, and abuse of authority or power. The Commission also makes reference to the “ STRONG CONSEQUENCES in the Anti - Corruption Act, 2008 for RETALIATION against whistle - blowers” and therefore advised against both the proliferation and the signing of them by the staff of non - sensitive institutions like the security sector, health, or fiduciary Institut ions. By: Alex A. Bah, Public Relations Assistant, ACC The report further shows a significant decrease of 51 percent of citizens that think the level of corruption has increased as opposed to 71 percent recorded in the survey Round in 2014/2015. In the November 2023 released MCC Report for the same year, the country maintained its over 70% score marking its 6th Consecutive year since it recorded a 49 failing percent in 2017. Domestically, the National Corruption Perception Survey conducted by the Public Financial Management Consortium led by the Center for Ac- countability and Rule of Law (CARL) published in 2020, re- vealed that 92 percent of the respondents were convinced about the fight against corruption and remarked huge confidence in the work of the ACC. With all of these gains, it is therefore no surprise that many of our sister countries including, Guinea, Gambia, Liberia, Uganda, have visited to understudy the reasons behind the huge successes made in the fight against corruption, especially in the last five years. Interestingly, when Guinea visited on the 25th November, 2022, the Executive Secretary (Head) its Anti - graft Agency, Saikou Amadou Diallo asked, “How do you guys manage to be strong and powerful like this, and how do we learn from that”. The tale of 'usai den tie cow na dae e for eat", is nowan evanescencee and the usual bizarre shadowboxing antic is of yore. Corruption is now a very expensive enterprise with grimmer and far reaching consequences. Far from the finish line, but an awakening of all, to the evidence of sheer possibilities in our country's journey to blooming prosperity. Contd from Pg 4

1. 26th February—1st March 2024 Issue 2 Volume 6 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 best score as 53% within this period. In six years since the war on corruption was declared by the President, Brigadier Rtd. Dr Julius Maada Bio, followed by the appointment of Francis Ben Kaifala Esq. as Head of the Anti - Corruption Commis- sion (ACC), the fortune of Sierra Leone changed in the most dramatic fashion. The country hit the ground running. Like the Rose revolution in Georgia, or the Lee Kuan Yew change in Singapore, the Francis Ben Kaifala era in its unique sense neatly bears those resemblances. LEGAL REFORMS Philippe Le Houérou who was the World Bank’s Vice President for Europe and Cen- tral Asia Region described Georgia’s expe- rience as one that shows that the vicious cycle of endemic corruption can certainly be broken and turned into a virtuous one only but with appropriate and decisive reforms. Q uite a few countries especially in Africa, boast of a dramatic ascendancy validating their efforts to combat corruption - a vice that is marked as an insidious plague that since the Precambrian period has been quite an inhibiting factor to their national developmental grails. In Sierra Leone corruption had become endemic. So much so that its practice became a norm without recourse to its tumultuous ramifications. With no such sanction or grim fate for those engaged in it, it became a typically attractive enterprise. In fact, in 2013, Transparency International Corruption Perception Index (TI - CPI) ranked Sierra Leone as the most Corrupt Country in the World. It was that bad. Similarly in many other indexes and assessments, the country performed miserably. The Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) Scorecard saw Sierra Leone fail its Mandatory ‘Control of Corruption’ Indicator for ten times in 15 years assessed prior to 2018, with its Commissioner ACC, Francis Ben Kaifala Esq. Contd on pg 4 By: Alex A. Bah, Public Relations Assistant, ACC Sierra Leone Government amongst the top six best performing countries in fighting corruption Understanding this, coupled with our experiences and peculiar context, in 2019 the country proposed an amendment to its already Strong Anti - Corruption law. This amendment that was passed made our anti - corruption law one of the strongest in the Continent, as it mirrored crucial ingredients to hugely boost the ancillary powers of the Commission to fight the plague head - on. The Assets declaration regime that was grossly ambiguous and unrealistic, took primacy in the amendment with well defined categories of declarants and administrative sanctions. Therefore, the Commission recorded in its previous– 2022 declaration year a 99% Compliance rate – one the highest recorded in the continent. Minimum penalty for serious corruption offences were increased from minimum 3 years to a minimum five (5)

4. Contd from Pg 1 years imprisonment and fine also increased from minimum 30 Million Leones (Old) to 50 Million Leones (Old). The civil powers of the Commission was also strengthened with the introduction of the non - conviction asset - based recovery model. With the clear provisions in Section 89 sub section 1 (b) of the 2019 Anti - Corruption Amendment Act, there was now a guided amplitude to use the approach to recoup Monies deemed to have been stolen with a minimum 10 percent interest. Noteworthy is, this model had been endorsed and validated by the United Nations Convention Against Corruption (UNCAC), African Union Convention on Preventing and Combating Corruption (AUCPCC) and many other similar instruments. Infact in Guilherme France’s text on the said, he resounded the difficulty ascribed with recovering stolen monies or assets, and how central it is in the fight against corruption. With its unique evidentiary standards, this model has helped the Commission to recover in the past six years a whopping sum of about 60 Billion (old) Leones. This does not include the over 8 Billion (Old) Leones that the Commission recently recovered from some individuals. Quite a novelty for the Commission and the fight against corruption that, in its previous 17 years of existence before 2018, such monies had not been recovered. THE ANTI - CORRUPTION DIVISION In 2019 a monumental establishment of a special Anti - Corruption Division (ACD) of the High Court was created. This was a further notable mark of the country’s desire and commitment to fight the scourge. The ACD was established to exclusively handle anti - corruption matters in an expeditious manner. The Commission in five years since its creation has reduced the average completion rate of matters from a possible 3 - 6 years to 3 - 6 months. There are dedicated Judges who preside exclusively on Anti - Corruption matters. GENERAL MODEL The Commission made its investigative arm even more robust and had an Elite Scorpion Squad created. Such that its mere mention sends shivers down the spine of the corrupt, and would make those considering engaging in it to be all the more cautious. Prevention through Systems review is carried out in intensified fashions. The Prevention team of the ACC carried this process in various Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs), identifying system deficiencies that are most often used for corruption to thrive, review them and put together recommendations for those gaps to be addressed. Through its Public Education Wing, the Commission has revolutionized the conversation around corruption. The knowledge and awareness has been like never before. Through its innumerable means of communication that chiefly includes the traditional radio and TV as well as the social media, on a daily basis the enlightenment is done in a number of ways. Outreach Engagements in various schools and com- munities, and public lectures in every Tertiary Institution in Si- erra Leone have been conducted. The Nationwide Consultation through the National Anti - Corruption Strategy, has afforded the opportunity to citizens in all shades of society to make valued inputs that will define the half a decade work plan of the Commission in its People - Centered approach. Its careful and uncompromising monitoring of Government of Sierra Leone and partners related projects like the Sierra Leone Skills Development Project by the Ministry of Tertiary Education, the Social Safety Net and most recently the Productive Social Safety Net Project, among many others, has helped inject integrity, given huge confidence, comfort and satisfaction to the Government, its Partners, and beneficiaries. Not surprising that our counter parts from Banjul, The Gambia in 2022, visited the ACC to particularly learn about its Social Safety Net Implementation, after an earlier visit in the same year, to learn about the other work of the Commission. INDEXES With these being the bedrock of the Anti - Corruption fight in Sierra |Leone for the past five years, all global indexes and assessments have recorded exponential jumps. In the recent TI - CPI published on the 30th January, 2024, Sierra Leone made multiple sprints from 110 in 2022, to 108 in 2023 out of 180 countries surveyed. It represents two places upward mobility, humbling 72 countries globally assessed. It equally represents a fifth year of consistent progress and incremental leap, majestically scaling 22 places upwards from 130 in 2017. The country also improved its score of 34 in 2022 to 35 in 2023, being the highest the country has ever recorded and above the Sub - Saharan average. In the most recent Afro - barometer Survey Report, Round 9, 2021/2023, covering 39 countries, Sierra Leo- ne Scored 58 per cent on its efforts in curbing corruption, far above the 39 - country average of 29 percent. The country was equally ranked as one of On- ly Six (6) African countries with majority approval of their Government’s stellar performance in fighting graft. Sierra Leone also ranks 39 per cent, 2nd to Benin 58 per cent, with a huge change in approval of the Government’s performance in the fight . Contd on pg 3 By: Alex A. Bah, Public Relations Assistant, ACC Page 4

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