From the Editor’s Keyboard

Sierra Leone: Anti-Corruption Commission Needs Help

By  | 13 January 2014 at 00:06 | 1535 views

I know and respect Joseph Kamara, the head of the Anti-Corruption Commission in Sierra Leone. I know he loves his country and that he is a no-nonsense gentleman with a clean and progressive personality. He means well and has been trying his best to bring to book the hordes of corrupt people in both the public and private sectors in our country.

But from the investigations I have done he and his outfit has been losing cases in court recently because they do not have sufficiently trained manpower to do proper investigations to help the prosecution go after the criminals and eventually convict them. Catching and successfully prosecuting a seasoned criminal is not an easy thing, they know how to cover their tracks, that is how they "earn" their living to sustain their lifestyles.

Friends of Sierra Leone and the international community should help train Sierra Leone’s criminal investigators in both the police and the ACC or we will continue to lose billions of Leones to sophisticated white-collar criminals. You cannot expect a judge to convict a known or unknown criminal on flimsy evidence. We are now a democracy, not a dictatorship where suspected criminals are simply thrown in jail or shot. That does not however mean we do not have corrupt individuals in our judiciary and national police force.

In my investigations I have also discovered that the ACC has records of the assets of all government employees that are paid from the Consolidated Revenue Fund. Members of the public, including journalists, who want to know about the assets of state officials can simply go the the ACC and ask for their files. This information is updated every two or three years. That should kill many of the rumours flying around the country these days.

Moreover, the Freedom of Information bill is now law. You can get whatever information you need except for sensitive security information.

That is progress.