September 10, 2019
By Alhaji H. Sani & Dauda D.Koroma ( Intern)
The Anti-Corruption Commission yesterday publicly paraded a principal with three of his teachers at the famous Cotton Tree, Siaka Steven Street after they were allegedly caught in exams malpractices on Saturday, 7th September, 2019.
But the Sierra Leone Teachers Union (SLTU) condemned the action outright, stating that “The SLTU wishes to condemn in the strongest possible terms the treatment meted out to some teachers and heads of schools, whose dignity and human rights have been violated on the directives of ACC and the Sierra Leone Police.”
The ACC chief, Francis Ben Kaifala, on Saturday tweeted that the ACC Scorpion squad acted on intelligence and raided the Fatibu Technical Secondary School at Peacock Farm, Wellington in Freetown and arrested the principal, teachers and pupils who were using a staff room to feed students with answers to WASSCE Mathematics Private Exam for Le 1Million per student.
The four men were yesterday displayed publicly in handcuff and guarded by armed anti-riot police under the popular Cotton Tree” with placards hanging on their neck, describing their various positions and crimes committed.
The naming and shaming of the suspects had a negative repercussion on the flow traffic as vehicles were diverted from the main Siaka Stevens Street to allow bystanders have a clear view of the public disgrace.
Meanwhile, the SLTU in their statement argued that there is no law in the land that permits suspected persons to be publicly molested, paraded and put on public display at the Cotton Tree as it happened on September 9 to its membership.
“While we would continue to work with the ACC to fight against corruption, eradication of exams of malpractices and sanitization of the education system, we would strongly resist any attempt by any individual or institution, seeking to unlawfully molest teachers or bring down the dignity of the profession,” they charged.
The incident also created a huge social media debate, with some describing the act of the ACC as inhumane and one which had already presented the suspects as guilty without them being tried by a competent court of law.
Former Attorney General and Minister of Justice, Joseph F. Kamara condemned the action of the ACC.
“Public parading of suspects before due process of trial is against the presumption of innocence as enshrined in the 1991 constitution of Sierra Leone, Section 23 (4). This is a dangerous precedence that opens the floodgates of abuse,” he sates on social media.