From Awareness Times Newspaper in Freetown

Sierra Leone's Anti Corruption Commission Should Clear the Air!
By the Editorial Board of Awareness Times Newspaper
Feb 5, 2010, 17:18

In today’s edition, we have reproduced a Commentary that was prominently published last week in the Unity Newspaper of opposition Sierra Leone People’s Party. We don’t subscribe to the allegations therein but we are bringing them to the fore again today because no-one from Anti Corruption Commission (ACC) has seen fit to denounce the terrible insinuations and strong allegations therein.

We believe such serious and grave allegations, especially the ones concerning the Deputy Commissioner Morlai Buya Kamara, must be immediately addressed by ACC if that entity is to maintain its public credibility. The visible public relations exercise by Mr. Morlai Buya Kamara since the publication hit has not been enough to address the issue. We respect Mr. Kamara’s integrity otherwise he might not have passed parliamentary scrutiny but we believe the issue calls for more than the sudden placement of his face all over newspapers as he lectures ‘corrupt’ school principals.

Publishing his photos is not enough. What Sierra Leoneans will like to know is whether the Deputy Commissioner indeed has such a sordid corruption legacy haunting him. And if so, what the heck is he doing at our Anti Corruption Commission? Over to the ACC...!

The ACC and the Fight against Corruption Amidst a Mole
A Commentary Culled from the SLPP's Unity Newspaper

The ACC boss Abdul Tejan Cole is without doubt a fine gentleman who has dispensed himself well in every pie he has put his hands in.

He excelled as a scholar and a researcher and gained universal acclamation for his work on transitional justice in South Africa. It was against that backdrop that his appointment to champion the fight against corruption in this system which institutionalized graft in the country was received with vigorous nods of approval by both ruling and opposition parties.

But unfolding events on the front of his crusade and the tardiness with which the entity he is heading is executing its duties has left much to be desired of the man and his institution. The ACC’s crusade against graft has been very selective to say the least and smells of too much interference from some latent forces with very long hands.

ACC officials are not bound to attest to this but it is open secret that some people have been insulated from prosecution. Also, it is now obvious that had the British development assistance office DFID not written to them for investigation of the NRA boss Allieu Sesay and cognizant of the gravity of ignoring the finger that feeds them, the ACC, for all the press exposures of the ingrained graft that has plagued that entity, was not going to take action.

The ACC after a supposed through investigation of Afsatu Kabba and her shady Income Electric deal, fell short of perspicacity in calling things by their proper names in that improper arrangement. To set critical minds ticking, President Koroma, after the ACC report, shifted Afsatu Kabba from the Energy Ministry to Marine Resources, in very obvious efforts to divert the public’s mind from her. It is now obvious that the shady and improper deal or to use the words of the ACC, the faulty lines in a flawed and costly contract, was not a single undertaking by Afsatu Kabba alone but a nexus of persons going not beyond State House.

Months now running into a year after the anti graft body launched an investigation into the purchase of a useless ferry by NASSIT using contributors money, the ACC has not come out with anything concrete on it. Two of the persons involved in the waste of a colossal sum of £2,300,000 to purchase toys in the name of ferries are very close to the presidency.

Informed sources say the former Director General of NASSIT who has now been made the country’s Financial Secretary, Edmund Koroma, grew up in the same house with the current president. Could it be that because of his thick involvement in the dissipation of the country’s money that is why the ACC has been tardy and inexplicably quiet over the NASSIT ferry case? The speed and rapidity with which the ACC investigated and prosecuted the former Health Minister when juxtaposed against the slow and snail pace of investigation of the NASSIT ferry, leaves one with obvious conclusions that the ACC is both eclectic in matters it takes up and inefficient.

In all of these, the role of some ACC officials comes under the microscope and thorough scrutiny of critical minds. One such person is the Deputy Commissioner Buya Kamara. For someone to champion the fight against anything, he has to stand above reproach for that thing which he is battling against. This man lacks the ethos to actually fight corruption in any society because he is himself of a very corrupt nature. The circumstances under which he left Global Funds are very sordid. He tampered with money for Malaria and was exposed for all to see. Yet this president who claims he is leading a crusade against graft had the chicanery to appoint a man who has been proved corrupt, to the position of Deputy Commissioner ACC.

In the wake of the seeming tardy and eclectic nature of the ACC, one would not be far from correct to assume that Buya Kamara’s appointment to the ACC is to serve as the eye of the C.E.O. of the country. Little wonder that Abdul Tejan Cole’s efforts are not being felt by the people and his reputation is slowly eroding.

After all the scenarios painted in earlier paragraphs, one may ask if there is a mole in the ACC who is on a quiet mission for this corrupt-laden APC government?

© Copyright 2005, Freetown, Sierra Leone.