ACC to investigate alleged corruption highlighted in technical audit report
April 17, 2019
By Ibrahim Tarawallie
Commissioner of the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) yesterday assured of their determination to press ahead investigating issues of alleged misappropriation of funds or funds improperly applied as highlighted in the technical audit report, despite stern warning by parliament to hands off the report.
According to Francis Ben Kaifala, they are mandated under section 7 of the ACC Act to investigate corruption, while also taking steps to prevent and eradicate same.
“Our laws tell us that we should investigate corruption from whatsoever source in Sierra Leone. There were no limitations stated in that law as to what source we should live and what we should use. It is general, broad and far reaching,” Mr. Kaifala said.
During the laying of the special technical audit report conducted by Audit Service Sierra Leone alongside expert auditors from Ghana, Tanzania and South Africa last week, Deputy Speaker of Parliament, Hon. Sengepoh Solomon Thomas warned the ACC and the Ministry of Finance to hands-off the report until after thorough scrutiny by the house.
However, the ACC czar stated that he had made it clear to some Members of Parliament that they will not be in conflict as they will be doing theirs, while the commission will be looking at it because their role is criminal investigation.
“We cannot turn a blind eye on information of corruption because if we do, we will be letting down the people of Sierra Leone. I believe we are going to do it simultaneously. Our actions are going to be subordinated but we are all aim at the same goal- ensuring transparency and accountability in public service,” he noted.
Mr. Kaifala stated that it is the belief of the commission that when such a report comes out, it is important for them to look into it to help in ensuring greater transparency and accountability in public service.
He expressed determination to investigate the Le274, 192, 412, among other funds, alleged to have been misappropriated at the Road Maintenance Fund, as well as billions of lioness allegedly squandered or improperly applied at the National Telecommunications Commission (NATCOM), SIERRATEL, Sierra Leone Cable Limited (SALCAB), Sierra Leone Roads Safety Authority (SLRSA) and the National Public Procurement Authority (NPPA).
“We already have a plan of action on the report. We will investigate, scrutinize documents and come out with real investigative report as to whether there was criminality or not,” he said.
He added that they will either use the report to investigate and prosecute those responsible, advised on systems and processes and also ensure that there is a wider prevention drive within the system.