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‘Corruption attacks the foundation of democratic governance’

…Says ACC Boss

September 12, 2018

By Hassan Gbassay Koroma

curruption

Photocall by the ACC and CSO partners at the signing

Commissioner of the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC), Francis Ben Kaifala Esq, has noted that corruption is a dangerous act that has the tendency to attack the foundation of democratic governance and bestow more importance on individuals than the collective.

“Corruption is a dangerous thing. It attacks the very foundation of democratic governance, it makes the individual more important than the collective and when the individual is more important the collective suffers because without the collective there is no stake,” he said.

He was speaking yesterday at the Commission’s conference hall in Freetown during the signing ceremony of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Civil Society Consortium on Community Accountability and Service Delivery.

Kaifala expressed his delight for signing the MOU, which he said cements a new era of collaboration in the fight against corruption, adding that a war against corruption has been declared by President Julius Maada Bio and that they are just soldiers in the fight.

“When you are engaged in a fight like corruption you need alliance, and you need alliances with institutions of people that are powerful to back you up when there is need. In the fight against corruption, there can be no better alliance than the civil society,” he noted.

He said they at the commission are very happy that CSOs are interested in helping them in the fight against graft and that they have agreed to come together to sign an MOU to cement it.

The young ACC boss continued that the MOU was also in line with the commission’s repositioning to make it a fully peoples focused commission, where their work would take the people along.

He promised to support CSOs, adding that the MOU could help solve personnel constraint facing the commission.

Also, National Coordinator for the Consortium, William Sao-Lamin, underlined their determination to work with the ACC, adding that they had started the fight against corruption prior to signing the MOU.

Lamin said the consortium comprises five CSOs – Child Welfare Society Sierra Leone, Health for All Coalition, Centre for Health Democracy and Development and Child Advocacy Network on Climate Change.

He disclosed that the joint consortium strength is over 150 members across the country, inclusive of Community Based Organisations.

He noted that fighting corruption should not be a lone man’s business but a fight of all Sierra Leoneans, adding that the consortium was of the view that a united fight would minimise corruption.

He noted that the country would be able to undertake development projects on their own instead of being dependent on donor funds, with a sustained fight against corruption.

The coordinator stated that they would partner with other line ministries, including the Ministries of Education, Health and Sanitation, and the Environment Protection Agency (EPA), adding that they would ensure that the free education programme is successful.

He called on the ACC to build the capacity of consortium members in order that the latter know exactly what the ACC is doing so that they would take the information to village level.

In his welcome statement, Deputy ACC Commissioner, Shollay Davies, said the commission was pleased to partner with the CSOs, noting that they have been working on the partnership by doing due diligence to the content of the MOU before the final stage of signing it.

Davies said the signing of the MOU between the commission and CSOs was a big step in the fight against corruption and promised to work faithfully with the CSOs to ensure the fight against corruption succeeds.

“Our commissioner once said when you fight corruption corruption will fight back and one way to ensure its does not fight back is to get the civil society organisations onboard, which is why this partnership is a big step to ensuring effective service delivery to the people of Sierra Leone,” he said.

The ACC is an independent agency of the Sierra Leone Government that investigates and prosecutes corruption cases in Sierra Leone. It was established by the Anti-Corruption Act passed by the Sierra Leone Parliament in 2000, with an amendment in 2008 giving it prosecutorial powers over more than 20 corruption offences.