African News

Sierra Leone and the world corruption league table

9 December 2011 at 01:00 | 596 views

Commentary

By Patrick Hassan-Morlai, PV Special Correspondent, London, UK.

The international corruption watchdog, Transparency International, on Thursday December 1, published its 2011 Corruption Perception Index. Sierra Leone ranks 134 as a highly corrupt country. A country’s ranking is based on the total number of countries that are assessed for the CPI index. Our country’s corruption is as bad as world renowned corrupt countries like Pakistan, Niger, Nicaragua, Maldives, Lebanon, Guyana, Eretria and Cameroon who are also ranked 134. Of course, other countries fared worse than Sierra Leone.

However, what is worrying about Sierra Leone’s corruption report card is that we were ranked exactly the same position (134) in the 2010 Corruption Perception Index. On this ranking alone, one could suggest that Sierra Leone failed to make progress in the fight against corruption in the last 12 months.

It is fair to say that the current Anti-Corruption Commissioner for Sierra Leone, Joseph Fitzgerald Kamara Joseph Kamara, was appointed just over a year ago. Nevertheless, a period of 17 months since his appointment in July 2010 is a reasonable time to expect some progress but to get the same ranking as last year indicates that Mr Kamara’s Commission has to double its efforts to be seen as being serious in the fight against corruption.

The 2011 Index indeed has some good news for Sierra Leone. Transparency International’s Corruption Perception Index (CPI) is based on a score of 0 – 10. Zero indicates that a country is ‘highly corrupt’ and 10 indicates a country is ‘very clean’. In Sierra Leone’s case, our CPI score in 2010 was 2.4 and in 2011 is 2.5.

It has to be acknowledged that a zero point 1 increase in the bottom quarter of highly corrupt countries in the CPI is really no consolation at all. It is worthy to note that Transparency International has suggested that a country’s score should not be compared with its previous CPI indices because the data sources used in one year may be different from previous years’ data sources. If corruption is the abuse of entrusted power for private gain in the form of bribery of officials, kickbacks in procurement, embezzlement of funds, then it is important to know that such perception of abuse of power remains the same as it was in 2010 as it is in 2011 in Sierra Leone’s case.

The ACC now has a golden opportunity to improve on its world ranking or score for next year’s Transparency International Corruption Perception Index. This will happen if the current investigations or charges for alleged corrupt practices in the Vice President’s office and the Mayoral office of Freetown City Council are pursued without fear or favour to a just conclusion. The ACC will also improve on its record by ensuring that education and sensitisation programmes about the ills of corruption target every Sierra Leonean. Prosecution, appropriate fines and sentences, and education should be central in the ACC’s arsenal for the prevention and punishment of corruption in Sierra Leone. Click here to access Transparency International CPI 2011 Report http://www.transparency.org/

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