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Wednesday, August 12, 2020

THE GAINS OF PRESIDENT BIO’S SUSTAINED POSTURE IN THE FIGHT AGAINST CORRUPTION

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Strategic Communications Unit
Ministry of Information and and Communications

In his days as the leader of the then most popular opposition party of Sierra Leone, His Excellency President Julius Maada Bio, quickly realized and drew the strong connection between the country’s abject poverty and backwardness, to the misappropriation of the state resources at will by the then government officials. Eager to put an end to this, President Bio in his election bid made a wholesale reinvention of the cultural perception of sacrilegiously guiding the state resources that was reflected in his campaign mantra. Upon assumption to power, President Bio has rigorously created policies in his government with capacity to restructure, to reorganize, and to translate ideas into products as essential component of the country’s economic dynamism which is what explains his passion in fighting corruption across Sierra Leone.

Whatever his critics may think about the results now, the emerging truth is that we live not merely in a country where people are gradually becoming more and more careful in expending the national resources for reasons of accountability, but one that is having a better image of corruption perception across the globe.

In his recent State Opening Address, the following are some excerpts of his speech on corruption:
“Mr. Speaker, Honourable Members, our fight against corruption will be sustained because it is good for governance, for business, and for the image of this country. Sierra Leone continues to perform exceptionally well in all global scorecards…”
“…The Anti-Corruption Commission continues to pursue corruption investigations vigorously with a very high conviction rate…”

President Bio’s Administration has made the following gains in the fight against corruption:
#- The Anti- Corruption Commission has recovered about 21 billion Leones through the Non-Conviction Assets Based Recovery. This is unprecedented in the Commission’s 18 years existence. Those funds were lost to corruption, and since they have been recovered, the President has committed them to the construction of first ever National Diagnostic Medical Center.What a boost for the medical sector and and the genera medical condition in the country!

#- In fighting and preventing corruption for even the succeeding generations , upon the occupation of the presidency, the President established the Commissions of Inquiry. Those Commissions have uncovered that President Koroma’s Administration was catastrophically overwhelmed by corrupt politicians who looted the national purse for their personal aggrandizement at the detriment of the state.Corruption and economic malfeasance were the hallmark of the last administration.

The commissions also uncovered an unprecedented abuse of power of an immeasurable magnitude .State functionaries of the said administration were hugely committed to lawlessness and violated every state protocol with impunity.

These commissions have carefully and impartially done their investigations, and on the 25th, March 2020, submitted their reports and recommendations to the President.Those reports are going to be reviewed and the White Paper would be soon issued.

#-The Anti- Corruption Act of 2019 has been amended, this is to strengthen, effectively help expedite all corruption related cases with absolute fairness.
Special Division within the High Court structure has been established for Anti-Corruption ,with functional and dedicated judges as to specifically deal with corruption related matters.

# – The National Civil Registration Authority (NCRA) has conducted verifications across the country for all public workers, this has saved billions of Leones that used to be swindled by many corrupt public officials. Some government officials used to have double or multiple pin codes collecting public funds at will and with impunity, this is no more, President Bio’s Administration has created a system to effectively take care of that.

#- Steady and exceptional growth in international ratings and indices. For the first time Sierra Leone scored 79% of 100% of the Millennium Corporation Challenge, and the country has also moved to the highest ever on the Transparency International Global Corruption Ranking Report.

This has given tremendous confidence to the International Community to help and do business with Sierra Leone, since they have realized that the President is honest , credible and hugely committed to addressing the challenges confronting the country.A clear case in point is the recent approval of millions of dollars by IMF and World Bank for the country’s sustainable development programmes .

#- National tolerance for corruption and graft were so hidh at the time President Bio took office but the consciousness and awareness of the steps being taken by Anti-Corruption in curbing corruption is paying great dividends, people are increasingly becoming afraid of involving or even becoming an accomplice to corrupt practices.

#- The roles of the Scorpion Squad in cracking on the evils taking place in education in the country is massively reducing examination malpractice.This will also prevent students being to universities vacant hence -the movement towards quality population.

#- In the area of convictions, under the stewardship of Ben Keifala over the Anti- Corruption, 32 matters have been charged to court, 28 convicted, loosing 2 while the remainings went to the appeals.
This is an immense progress, this shows how diligent and progressive the institution is.
The first time government workers in all public institutions across the country rushing to declare their assets. This is also a clear indicator that President Bio will grossly minimize or reduce corruption to a negligible point.

President Bio wants to preside over a corrupt free environment where Sierra Leoneans can invent, innovate and express themselves in the pursuit of happiness, not a society where briefcase bandits race against one another in the illicit accumulation and privatization of public wealth at the peri of the state.The President is weeded to the agenda of this country, he has a patriotic duty to Sierra Leoneans, that’s more the reason he is recruiting brilliant ideas everyday and trying to have the best of people in his Administration who truly share his emotional commitment.
Hong Kong, Malaysia, Rwanda, Mauritius etc. were endemically corrupt, but good leadership has changed the narratives of those countries, they have got exceptional governance facelift. The President believes that the same can be applied to Sierra Leone if citizens work with him in the realization of the country’s potentials.

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