November 7, 2018
By Patrick Jaiah Kamara
Barely few months as Commissioner of the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC), Francis Ben Kaifala has achieved a feat none of his predecessors were able to achieve after Sierra Leone scored an unprecedented 71 percent in the control of corruption indicator, 22 points more than the lowly 49 percent scored last year.
On November 2, the U.S. Government’s Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) released the 2019 scorecards in which Serra Leone met two out of the three requirements and passed at least nine out of the 20 indicators overall, including the tough hurdles of Control of Corruption and Democratic Rights.
Created in 2004, the Millennium Challenge Corporation is an independent U.S. Government agency working to reduce global poverty through economic growth. It provides time-limited grants and assistance to poor countries that meet rigorous standards for ‘Economic Freedom,’ ‘Ruling Justly,’ and ‘Investing in People.’
According to a press statement issued yesterday by the Office of the Vice President of Sierra Leone, the country’s remarkable pass in the control of corruption indicator on the MCC 2019 scorecard was the strongest ever recorded in the MCC country assessment since the inception of the aid organisation.
“Despite the setback in the previous years on the control of corruption indicator, a robust strategy to combat corruption was hatched in the redoubling of efforts to implement Pay No Bribe Campaign, increase recovery of stolen state funds, increase number of prosecutions and improve collaboration with other state apparatus, the media and civil society in the fight,” the release states.
The release says there is new commitment in the fight against corruption under the stewardship of President Julius Maada Bio, whose government has aggressively sought to improve accountability and transparency as part of its transformation agenda which has reflected in this year’s ‘historic pass on the control of corruption’
The release also notes that the country specifically failed the inflation rate indicator because inflation rose to 18.2 percent, above the maximum score of 15 percent.
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“The outstanding success of the control of corruption indicator makes Sierra Leone well positioned to meet the requirements to secure a compact within next year,” the release notes.
Meanwhile, the release also quoted the US ambassador to Sierra Leone as congratulating the country for meeting the governance goal as reflected in the 2019 MCC scorecard.
“Many congratulations to the government of Sierra Leone on its continued commitment to meeting the governance goals as reflected in the 2019 MCC scorecard. I would like to particulary recognise the significant increase in the very important control of corruption indicator. We remain encouraged by the progress in this area, and look forward to continued progress across the full range of indicators, particularly in economic freedom, education and health care. We are committed to the implementation of the current US$44 million Threshold Program and pledged to work closely and cooperatively with the government of Sierra Leone towards success,” the US Ambassador said.
Meanwhile, Deputy Commissioner of the Anti-Corruption Commission, Shollay Davies, said in a press statement that the brilliant score in the MCC was a strong indicator that the fight against corruption in the country was bearing fruits, thus calling on all and sundry to support the commission to prevent, suppress and curb the scourge whenever, and wherever, it raises its ugly head.”
Under the dynamic leadership of youthful firebrand lawyer Francis Ben Kaifala, the ACC is currently enjoying a new lease of life with renewed public confidence in its ability to fight graft and change the narrative against ill-gotten wealth. Already, dozens are being prosecuted in the High Court while close of Le10 billion has since been recovered under six months.