Sierra Leone: graft fight recovers more loot

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Sierra Leone legal tender

The fight against corruption is making waves in recent times, following strides by the President Julius Madda Bio led government to mitigate corruption. The Anti-Corruption Commission has churned in huge sums into the Consolidated Revenue Funds, which are monies recovered from former officials of the Ernest Bai Koroma-All Peoples Congress led administration.

Friday December 28th, the ACC presented a cheque of 7,578,449.077 (Seven Billion Five Hundred and Seventy-Eight Million Four Hundred and Forty-Nine Leones and Seventy-Seven Cent), which is about $900,000 to President Julius Maada Bio. It is part of the Le 8.4 Billion recovered in the last six months from officials of the former government.

Alfred Paolo Conteh

In a related development, on the same day, the former Deputy Defence Minister, Alfred Paolo Conteh made appearances at the headquarters of the anti graft body in Freetown “for questioning on various military procurement issues” when he was in charge. Conteh also served as Internal Affairs Minister in the same regime after his secondment at the Ebola response center.

A source at the ACC says, Sannah Marrah, the former Director General of the Ministry of Defence was also arrested for alleged corruption. Other allegations include massive siphoning of Ebola funds and other corruption related offences.

A jubilant President Julius Maada Bio said he was extremely pleased with the efforts by the ACC to end corruption in the country, saying the relentless work by the ACC provided hope that the country was moving in the right direction. He said the monies recovered by the ACC would be used to construct a medical diagnostic centre for Sierra Leoneans.

“Apart from the hospital, we will use monies recovered to build a new office for the ACC that will be symbolic. Going into the New Year, I have reasons to smile because you are delivering on my promise to fight corruption. I am extremely happy for you. This is a new Sierra Leone and we are heading for a beautiful destination,” President Bio ended.

Shollay-Davies

Deputy Commissioner of the ACC, Shollay Davies said it was a customary practice for the Commission to present to the President monies recovered from corrupt individuals which are transferred to the Consolidated Revenue Fund in line with Section 139 of the Anti-Corruption Act. He disclosed this year’s recovery of stolen funds increased by 801% from previous recoveries made since the review of the ACC Act in 2008.

Mr. Davies said based on agreements already made with suspects, the Commission is expected to recover a further Le 5,000,000,000 (Five Billion Leones) and over $ 700,000 (Seven Hundred Thousand Dollars) in the next six months. He noted that the impressive recovery is happening against the backdrop that this year the country was able to pass the control of corruption on the Millennium Challenge Cooperation with a score of 71% compared to 49% in the previous year.

Also on the Afro-barometer the percentage of public perception on corruption fell from 70% to 43% which is as a result of the political will demonstrated so far. “We look forward to the approval of the draft bill by Parliament, which seeks to review the asset recovery as well as asset management within the country, He stated. Adding that “The bill we believe will serve as a deterrent to corruption in the country.”  Reporting by Abu Bakarr Sulaiman Tarawally

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Abu Bakarr Tarawally is a Journalist based in Freetown. He works for the Sierra Leone Broadcasting Corporation as a radio producer. He has once served as Editor for a few newspapers in Freetown, including Sierra Express Media, The Exclusive Newspaper and his own newspaper, the Daily Express Publications. He is a teacher trainer, and loves writing and reading a lot. Email: abstarawally@gmail.com. Call +232 88601277 or +2327661303.

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