March 22, 2019
By Yusufu S. Bangura
Commissioner of the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) has on Tuesday told pressmen and Civil Society Organisations (CSO) at his Gloucester Street office in Freetown that their collaboration should be the reason behind the change in Sierra Leone.
Francis Ben Kaifala reiterated that the commission’s collaboration with the CSOs and the media was the reason behind the changes in the country as they cannot leave everything to politicians or politics.
He appreciated the collaborative work of the CSOs and media, and that they were very happy for the support and feedback they were receiving from the public.
He added that the commission cannot be everywhere, cannot see everything and cannot hear everything at the same time, hence the reason they work with the CSOs and media to help in the fight against corruption in the country.
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He said several months ago, they promised to expand their operations and make sure that they re-position the ACC to be truly at the end centre of social transformation and for them to achieve the objective that established the commission in 2000.
The ACC commissioner said they have recovered 12 billion Leones within 8 months and have also secured convictions for 11 persons for corruption within the same period.
He said they wouldn’t have gotten those achievements without the help of the CSOs and media, thus calling on everyone to come on board and help them kick corruption out of the country.
Commissioner Kaifala disclosed that for months now, they have been observing the operations of the customs department, particularly the vehicles, containers, and auction sections, where they have noticed that many staff were involved in bribery, deliberate undervaluation, unjustified waivers, racketeering and abuse of office, among others.
He said for the past two weeks they have seen one of the most sporadic raid actions by the ACC intelligence and investigators targeted at the revenue generating points like the Queen Elizabeth (ii) Quay in cline town and check points.
He said the raids have led to several arrests of personnel from ports security, custom staffs and their collaborators.
He added that several persons were being held under custody at the Criminal Investigations Department, thus citing the Supervisor at vehicles section at Queen Elizabeth (ii) Quay and others, who were accused of bribery and impeding investment contrary to the ACC Act.
Deputy Commissioner of ACC, Shollay Davies, said the ACC is obliged under the provision of the ACC Act to fight corruption in the country.
He added that they were going to take conscious effort and steps to ensure that the public is informed about their activities on a regular basis.
Deputy Commissioner said the objectives of the ACC were to minimize the tendency for speculation and to give enough information to the media so that they could know how to write on their mediums.
Director of Coordination activities at ACC, Emmanuel Koivaya Amara, said few months back they were having a meeting in which they declared a war against corruption in the nation, and called on Sierra Leoneans to partner with the commission to ensure that the fight be effective.
He said they were partnering and collaborating with so many institutions to put an end to corruption.