Analysis

Unmasking the monster of corruption with asset declarations

19 February 2008 at 03:18 | 867 views

By Mohamed Dativag Dumbuya,Belgium.

Every man born of a woman will agree with me that
corruption is the most widely discussed phenomenon in
Sierra Leone.You will also agree with me that it has
attracted more writers than any other topic of
relevance in our post conflict history.

The reasons are obvious-it has done more harm than even the war that destroyed over 20,000 lives in the country.The
perpetrators are wild capitalists,thinking of
promoting their selfish interests and will do it in a
way that will not affect their security and
safety.

Even when there are laws and institutions that
negate corrupt practices,impunity which is the tool of
the non-God fearing men and women,is the weapon that
is effectively used.

We cannot go on and on like this without having a
break with the past.Solidifying the commitment to
patriotism means a complete turn around of what used
to obtain.This is hypothetical to some people.But this
is achievable if the state is to operate as an entity
controlled by forthright leaders.

Frankly,we have consumed a lot of literature on the
problems facing Sierra Leone.But solutions of a
practical nature are yet locked up in the box.The new
generation of thinkers and writers are now formulating
ideas that are concrete and practicable to use as
solutuions.What was the stumbling block? Some may say
the political will was absent.Others will talk about
the system was not operating as it should be.What ever
could be the sociological differences in terms of
giving an accurate picture of what obtained in the
past,the fact of the matter is that,the system was
weak.

Accountablity as a bedrock of good governance was
difficult to see and feel.Failed politics! Systemic
failure of institutions could weaken a state and lead
to state collapse.Inspite of good intentions a leader
may have,when accountablity becomes a mockery to those
who should be its protector,then do not cry foul when
the system breaks down at night.

As Sierra Leoneans we can now boast that our country
is comparatively stable and we are of course hopeful
that our new leader have committed them selves to the
fight against corruption.But this cannot happen by
mere pronouncement.It needs the unequivocal and
unshakable determination to fight this scourge with
bows and arrows.Grandiose rhetoric cannot be a choice
for any good intentioned leader at this time in our
country’s history.

The genesis of this economic crusade will be when all
public officials declare their assets and the records
of those assets are documented and monitored by the
Anticorruptioon Commission.The advantages are
enormous.It will not only unmask this monster called
CORRUPTION but will also put a check on the
characteristically systematised and comprehensive
looting of state resources that has been the vogue in
the past.Asset declaration can help us prevent the
pillaging of the state treasury and simplify the life
style of our governing elites.This is a new dawn in
our country’s history and we should make use of the
opportunities available to us.

Inequality as a cause and symptom of poverty will be
reduced drastically if our public functionaries
declare their assets.And mind you it will be a fatal
mistake for officials to declare assets they intend to
get which could be the potential trick of corrupt
prone public officials.But the no-nonsense ACC new
leadership will never allow this to happen.This is
going to change the governance trajectory of our dear
country.Land assets,physical cash,houses,all what is
owned before taking office and after leaving office
will be declared.

Our political landscape demands cleansing in terms of
structural imbalances that promote adverse economic
losses.An achiever will be proud that wealth is got
through genuine efforts and not through grand
corruption.

Declaration of assets can also vindicate public
officials who may have got their genuine wealth but
because there is no proper record to that effect,they
may have been victims of reckless black mail from some
unprofessional journalists who may have speculated
that the wealth was acquired through corrupt means.
I am very sure the ACC that is the custodian of assets
declaration will educate the masses on the
modusoperandi and the benefits of this national
exercise to the nation.

The main interst of donors these days is to ensure the
prudent use of donor funds.Few days ago President Bush
informed the Tanzanian goverment that America would
not like to give their money to countries where the
money is stolen by few people.Which means,leaders in
africa particularly must be prepared to confront
corruption and corrupt public officials without any
compromise.

As we await our leader to set the stage for the
declaration of his assets,I encourage all well meaning
compatriots to cooperate fully in that regard.This
should be done in good faith and beyond partisan
thinking.Civil society has a stake in this.What could
be a herculean task for the ACC will be verification
of all assets declared.But those who hide their assets
will be doing it at their own peril because the ACC
will strenghthen their capacity to prove this.In any
case whistle blowers including the press should be
prepared to act as a shield and canopy for this
novelty in our country.For sure this is one practical
solution that will translate the theory we have been
pontifiating for so long on this forum about
corruption.

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