Francis Ben Kaifala, the Commissioner of Sierra Leone’s Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC), impressed leaders of various anti-corruption agencies in Africa with Sierra Leone’s remarkable progress in the fight against corruption. Kaifala presented Sierra Leone’s success stories at the Africa Union Advisory Board on Corruption (AUABC) Symposium, which took place in Arusha, Tanzania. The symposium marked the 20th anniversary of the implementation of the African Union Convention on Preventing and Combating Corruption (AUCPCC).
During a panel discussion on the experiences of national anti-corruption agencies in the last 20 years, Commissioner Kaifala highlighted the key factors contributing to Sierra Leone’s unprecedented achievements. He emphasized the significance of the 2008 Anti-Corruption Act, which granted the ACC extensive powers. One notable provision mentioned by Kaifala was the Revolutionary Assets Declaration Regime, which empowered the Commission to seize, freeze, enforce, and impose administrative sanctions. He explained that failure to declare assets could result in salary withholding and eventual dismissal from public office.
“We can’t keep arguing against SCIENCE and DATA” is what I told the gathering of the African Anti-corruption family in Arusha, Tanzania last week.
Data is the torchlight of the 21st Century! pic.twitter.com/coxKqOByj6
— Francis Ben Kaifala🇸🇱 (@FrancisKaifala) July 18, 2023
Kaifala further outlined Sierra Leone’s anti-corruption strategy, which is based on prevention, public education, and enforcement through investigation and prosecution. He highlighted that in 2018, the country conducted a nationwide consultation to address its poor performance in local and international corruption indexes. As a result, Sierra Leone invested in strengthening its anti-corruption infrastructure, leading to significant improvements and positive outcomes.
The ACC’s achievements were reflected in various indexes and assessments. These include a decrease in corruption prevalence from 70% in 2015 to 40% in 2020 according to the Afro-Barometer Report. Transparency International Corruption Perception Index also showed improvement, with Sierra Leone’s ranking improving from 130 in 2017 to 110 in 2022. The Millennium Challenge Corporation Scorecard demonstrated progress in controlling corruption, with a score of 83% compared to the previous failing score of 49%.
At the conclusion of the symposium, Alex A. Bah, the Public Relations Assistant of the ACC, presented Sierra Leone’s progress in implementing the AUCPCC. He highlighted the Commission’s efforts in prevention through sector reviews, the National Anti-Corruption Strategy, assets declaration, public education, and investigations and prosecutions. Bah’s presentation garnered admiration from other countries, including South Africa, which was particularly impressed with Sierra Leone’s public education initiatives such as public lectures, town hall meetings, and the establishment of Integrity and Accountability Now Clubs in schools and colleges.
Sierra Leone’s success stories at the AUABC Symposium showcased its commitment to combating corruption and its remarkable progress in strengthening anti-corruption measures.