By Yanguba Kai-Samba
Opinions are divided over the ACC unusual methods in fighting corruption in Sierra Leone.
Most people in Sierra Leone would like to see harsh jail sentences for economic crimes. I would go as far as seeking death penalty for holders of public or political positions who steal or receive bribes in the course of their duties.
I believe that in a country like Sierra Leone, where corruption has brought war and destruction on the ordinary citizens, capital punishment need to be reserved for those holding offices of the state and who take decision and control the country’s money.
In Sierra Leone, our justice system has always used the hammer to catch a fly .
Anti-Corruption Chief Ben Kaifala
We have seen unemployed young men, with no other means of making a living locked up in central prison of Pademba road for the crime of stealing a mobile.
We have seen ministers and other public servants investigated by the Anti-Corruption Commission for allegedly stealing hundreds of millions of dollars , who through a process of negotiations with the ACC, returned some of their stolen wealths that in essence circumvented criminal prosecution.
The chronology of corruption and state looting for over half a century is evidenced by the poor infantile infrastructure and near collapse of Sierra Leone’s economy. This is a sovereign shame, countering it head on , is not by selective humiliation of the weakest.
Equally depressing is that treating bunch of hustlers and criminals as respectable state men ,when some of them have an odious history of corruption and ought to have been in jail, suggest that impunity breeds recycled politicians. Sierra Leoneans need to be tough on corruption from top to bottom and not the other way round.
The furore and publicity surrounding the ACC’s decision to handcuffed and put on public display , lowly paid school teachers, (many don’t receive salaries at the end of the month ), for exam malpractice is astonishing when contrasted with the public mute towards high profile corruption and stealing involving holders of political positions.
If the state gave the ACC “every necessary powers to eradicate corruption,” (which was the argument used by the ACC to justify their mistreatment of the teachers) can it then publish the assets declared by the president and his team for public scrutiny, by ignoring the rule that tied his hand from doing so, because its interpretation of every necessary means to eradicate corruption seem the ACC improvisation in fighting corruption has no limit.