The Commissioner of the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC), Francis Ben Kaifala Esq., has concluded a four-day face to face talk with stakeholders, community leaders, journalists, civil society groups, teachers and pupils in Moyamba, Mattru Jong and Sherbro Island. The purpose of the engagements which were held in the City and District Councils’ Halls was to update the people on how far the ACC has come in the fight against corruption, with emphasis on the gains made whilst he is Head, but also with keen interest in getting the views and suggestions of the people on the fight against corruption so far, which the he described as FEEDBACK.
In his submissions to the people of Moyamba, Mattru Jong and Bonthe Island, Commissioner Francis Ben Kaifala Esq., registered his thanks and appreciation to His Excellency, President Brig. (Rtd) Dr. Julius Maada Bio for the appointment and confidence reposed on him to lead the campaign against corruption in Sierra Leone. Mr. Kaifala stated that, one of the ways he believed we will control corruption was by making it unfashionable in the country-a high risk and a low return venture. He highlighted the non-conviction based asset recovery approach employed by the Commission, which has made it to recover stolen public funds to the tune of Thirty Billion Leones (Le30,000,000,00), the increased number of corruption cases prosecuted since he up office, the over ninety percent conviction, the establishment of the Special Anti-Corruption Division within the High Court and the amendment to the 2008 Anti-Corruption Act to make the fight more robust.
The ACC boss also informed his audiences that, Sierra Leone is comfortably at 117 out of 180 countries surveyed leading 31 countries in Africa in the fight against corruption, according to the Transparency International Corruption Perception Index 2020. Sierra Leone was at 130in 2017, he furthered. He went on to say that corruption prevalence in Sierra Leone in 2017 was at 70%, but has considerably declined to 40% in 2020, according to Afrobarometre Report published by the Institute for Governance Reform in 2020.
The ACC Commissioner underscored that collectively as a people we have been able to score excellently in the Millennium Challenge Corporation score card with a pass of 71 percent in 2018, 79% in 2019 and 81% in 2020, which has made Sierra Leone Compact Egible for a Grant of about ($USD400,000,000)Four Hundred Million United States Dollars.
He disclosed that with the achievements and gains made in the fight against corruption, Sierra Leone has started regaining respectability in the global community. He stressed the social contract he has with the Government and people of this country, to launder its image so that it will become attractive again for investors and donors.
Commissioner maintained that Integrity is non-negotiable. Therefore, he implored teachers and pupils to stay away from examination malpractice because it is now an offence in the amended Anti-Corruption Law.
Francis Ben Kaifala also noted that, the ACC strongly rely on collaboration with the Civil Society and the Media in the fight against corruption, referring to them as their strongest partners.
Earlier in his welcome statement, Paramount Chief Gulama of Kayamba Chiefdom, Moyamba District, said this is the very first time a sitting Commissioner of the ACC is visiting them in Moyamba Town. In Mattru Jong, Bonthe District, Section Chief Aruna Lahai Bekui who deputized the Paramount Chief, PC A.B Sheriff expressed delight in the visit of the ACC boss and said it is the right step in the right direction.
Addressing the jammed packed Halls, Chairman of the Moyamba District Council, Mbogba, Chairman of Bonthe District Council, Moses Probyn, and Mayor Bonthe Municipal Council, Layemin Joe Sandi, lauded the Commissioner and his team for the pains taking to reach out and hold these Town Hall meetings in their jurisdictions. They said the primary responsibility of the Council is to take development to the door steps of the people living in the remote places in the country.
The Heads of the City ad District Councils in Moyamba and Bonthe Districts and Municipality, congratulated Commissioner Kaifala for the many Awards and recognitions he has received locally and internationally for his strong leadership and relentless efforts demonstrated in the fight against corruption in the country.
Representatives of Civil Society Groups, the Media and Women’s Groups thanked the Commissioner for the meetings, and acknowledged that since the establishment of the ACC in 2000, Francis Ben Kaifala is the first Commissioner to visit the communities of Moyamba, Mattru Jong and Sherbro Island. They all pledged their membership’s unflinching support to the anti-graft crusade.
Coordinator of Operations, Emmanuel Koivaya Amara Esq. and the Director of Public Education and Outreach, ACC, Patrick Sandi moderated the meetings.
Questions and Answers sessions formed part of the engagements.
To further update the community people on the work of the Commission, radio panel discussions were held at the different community radio stations in Moyamba (Radio Modcar), Mattru Jong (Voice of Women and Jangay Radio), and Sherbro Island (Radio Bontico) and the proceedings of the Town Hall engagements were broadcast LIVE on the aforesaid radio stations.