STATEMENT OF THE COMMISSIONER, MR. JOSEPH FITZGERALD KAMARA ON THE COMMEMORATION OF INTERNATIONAL ANTI-CORRUPTION (IAC) DAY 9th DECEMBER 2014
Fellow compatriots, today December 9 is the day set aside by the United Nations as the International Anti-Corruption Day. Countries all over the world observe this day by raising people’s awareness on the damaging effects of corruption and what is required for combating and preventing it.
As we observe this day in Sierra Leone under the dark cloud of the Ebola epidemic which has negatively impacted every sector of life in the country, the Commission sympathizes with our compatriots who have lost their loved ones to this affliction. The ACC fully appreciates the selfless services of health workers who face life threatening challenges daily to defeat the pandemic. We as a Commission, will continue to pray for deliverance from this disease.
Proactive measures have taken by the Commission to ensure transparency and accountability in the use and management of public/donor resources meant to contain the virus. the A press statement cautioning on judicious expenditure was issued followed by a senior management team visit to regional Ebola operational centres. The Commission is also keenly monitoring the disbursement and expenditure of Ebola funds.
The Anti-Corruption Commission as the statutory organ that provides leadership in fighting corruption continues to discharge its mandate assiduously.
The National Anti-Corruption Strategy for 2014- 2018 was formally launched in June 2014. This strategy provides a comprehensive framework to curbing corruption in Ministries departments and agencies with the establishment of Integrity Management Committees in all MDAs. To strengthen this initiative, the ACC has undertaken the mainstreaming of anti corruption measures in the civil service.
In July this year the Commission launched the 2013 National Corruption Perception Survey report which indicated that 76% of Sierra Leoneans have confidence in the effectiveness of the ACC. This finding is also reflected in the 100% willingness of sierra Leoneans to join the fight against corruption. Manifestation of these is evidenced in the 100% conviction rate in corruption cases prosecuted in the high court of Sierra Leone.
For the first time the ACC secured convictions on the offences of “possession of unexplained wealth” and “failure to declare assets”. The Commission in 2014 also paid into the consolidated fund an amount of about five hundred million leones as recoveries from individuals and organizations.
International recognition of these successes resulted in Sierra Leone attaining the first place benchmark by the Commonwealth heads of anti corruption agencies in Africa as a country for transfer and peer learning.
The Transparency International corruption perception index of 2014 shows Sierra Leone has made steady progress in the fight against corruption. Out of 174 countries surveyed in 2014, Sierra Leone is ranked 119, with a score of 31, which rates the Country ahead of Gambia, Togo, Cameroon, Nigeria, Kenya, and even Russia. The country has moved 39 spaces upwards in the TI rankings within the last five years, from 158 in 2008 to 119 in 2014.
It is worthy to note that winning the fight against corruption requires our united and determined efforts. National integrity institutions such as the judiciary, the Sierra Leone correctional services, the Sierra Leone police, the auditor general, office of the ombudsman, the national public procurement authority, must take on anti corruption as a major activity in their annual program plans.
Civil society organizations and the media will need to become more involved in the fight against corruption by expanding the scope of anti corruption partnerships which are critical for good governance.
To make reporting of corruption easier and faster, the Commission has developed a new internet application which can be accessed on Google play in the Sierra Leone app using a smart phone.
In the face of these successes there are great challenges for us as a nation. The inability of Sierra Leone to meet the qualification for the threshold and compact package of the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) was due to the inadequate control of corruption. The delay in the implementation of the right of access to information needs immediate action.
Given the dire consequences of allowing corruption to thrive in our country, as we observe the international anti corruption day let us remain steadfast and resist with all enthusiasm any acts of corruption in all spheres of life for the progress of our beloved country.
I wish for us all a merry Christmas and a prosperous new year.