I have just read through the recently released 2019 Audit General’s report and I cannot help but bring this particular example to the fore….
“We requested for payment vouchers (PVs) and supporting records in respect of all overseas travels to ascertain whether travelling costs were within the approved budget of the Ministry and whether they were approved by the Ministry of Finance. The PVs and supporting records were submitted and during our review of selected transactions, we observed that a total of US$43,918 (Le381,026,900) was expended as daily subsistence allowance (DSA) and air ticket costs for overseas travels for which there was no evidence to indicate that the travels were cleared with the Ministry of Finance. This was contrary to Executive Order No. 2, issued on 25th April, 2018.”
To me, this is a clear manifestation of Political Corruption.
In the political realm, corruption undermines democracy and good governance by flouting or even subverting formal processes. Corruption in legislative bodies reduces accountability and distorts representation in policymaking; corruption in the judiciary compromises the rule of law; and corruption in public administration results in the unequal distribution of services. More generally, corruption erodes the institutional capacity of government as procedures are disregarded, resources are siphoned off, and public offices are bought and sold.
Political corruption undermines the political will to curb corruption, and it takes many forms, such as state capture, patronage networks, opaque political party financing, vote buying and unresolved conflicts of interests.
I believe this is a key area that traditional anti-corruption efforts have failed.
Have any recent high-profile cases of fraud or corruption caught your attention? What makes these cases noteworthy and what do they tell us about the potential risks of conducting business in Sierra Leone? More than a million dollars stolen or lost, every year.
Corruption erodes trust in government and undermines the social contract. Corruption impedes investment, with consequent effects on growth and jobs. Sierra Leoneans must put their feet down and demand things from the government.
Making inroads against corruption requires determined efforts to overcome vested interests. Transparency and open governance are typically part of the story, but rarely the whole story. Institutional weakness facilitates corruption, particularly imbalances between a strong executive branch and weak legislature and judiciary.