Analysis

UN Questions Kabbah’s corruption fight

23 November 2006 at 02:16 | 474 views

"He said there is a broad concurrence that the plunder of the national economy, through a complex nexus of corrupt practices, sheer mismanagement of public resources and lack of accountability in governance processes, in large measure account for the outbreak of the 11-year long war in the country."

The executive representative of the UN Secretary General in Sierra Leone Victor Angelo, has raised the question of whether the fight against corruption is being fought with the honesty and passion it deserves.

Speaking Thursday 16th November at the National Anti-Corruption Strategy (NACS) stakeholders’ conference, Angelo stated that ’corruption is a crime with a high human, social, political and economic price’.

He said there is a broad concurrence that the plunder of the national economy, through a complex nexus of corrupt practices, sheer mismanagement of public resources and lack of accountability in governance processes, in large measure account for the outbreak of the 11-year long war in the country.

Therefore, to ’effectively address the root causes of the conflict and build durable peace for sustainable development and stability, it is an absolute necessity that the fight against corruption be intensified and waged in a holistic and systematic manner in all facets of public service delivery without exception’.

He said the government has taken ‘some steps’ to respond to the problem but what is required is a ’strong national commitment and the application of some ingenuity as well as the careful, honest and relentless implementation of well thought-out strategies and action plans’ backed by what he described as a ’demonstrable political will’.

‘Given the urgency of the matter, and also its national importance, and the cross-cutting nature and multiplier effect of the problem of corruption, one question that we ought to ask ourselves is whether we are addressing the problem with the honesty and passion it deserves’.

Angelo questioned whether the government and the international community have ‘really committed time and resources that are commensurate with the seriousness of the challenge’. Also he asked, ‘are we sufficiently taking advantage of available national capacities and international support and good will in the fight against this problem?’

The Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) which drafted the NACS was set up in 2000. It has always been dogged by political manoeuvrings which has in a large way thwarted its growth. The ACC is perceived as a political tool which lacks any teeth to bite.

Val Collier the commissioner since the ACC’s inception was dismissed by Kabbah in inglorious circumstances in November 2005. The President then appointed his in-law, Henry Joko-Smart, the frail and old, law professor as his replacement.

Source: The Christian Monitor, Freetown.

Photo: Victor Angelo, centre.

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