Inspector General of the Sierra Leone Police, Francis Alieu Munu, Tuesday, 15 March, signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Sierra Leone Drivers Union, Sierra Leone Road Safety Authority, Institute of Governance Reform (IGR) and the Anti-Corruption Commission as a strategy to stamp out corruption in the force and the country as a whole.
Mr. Munu said it was the collective responsibility of all and sundry to fight corruption in the country and that mechanisms have been put in place to weed out corrupt police officers from the force.
The Sierra Leone Police last year came under severe scrutiny after the IGR published a report which highlighted illicit payments of bribes by commercial drivers to some members of the police force, especially traffic personnel. The report was titled: “Ending Bribery for Traffic Officers in Sierra Leone.”
The report, among other things, exposed corruption in the police force, especially in the Traffic Division, which it claimed received an estimated Le81 billion in illicit payments made to them by commercial motor drivers in the Western Area alone, in 2015.
The report alleged that five out of every 100 drivers interviewed during the survey alleged that they pay bribe whenever they are stopped by the police for minor traffic offences, with 60% of respondents claiming to have paid bribes ranging from Le5,000 to Le 20,000 to traffic personnel.
IG Munu emphatically stated in the MoU that he was ready to work with the organisations to ensure that the SLP maintain international standards and best practice.
According to IGR’s Executive Director, Andrew Lavali, the development was absolutely promising towards fighting corruption in Sierra Leone.
He said the collaboration with the police was an example of productive state-citizens dialogue and that the country was beginning to enjoy fruitful relationships.
Last year, the Executive Director of Centre for Accountability and Rule of Law (CARL), Ibrahim Tommy, said corruption was a major impediment to development in the country, and made reference to several corruption allegations that emerged during the Ebola outbreak.
He noted that several organisations had issued reports on corruption in the country, especially on the police, adding that the IGR report was in continuation of the fight against corruption in Sierra Leone.
“The Transparency International Report (TI) on corruption and that of Afro barometer always focus on holistic issues; this is the first time a local organisation has gone ahead to quantify revenue lost as a result of corruption at a particular sector,” said Mr. Tommy, who urged Sierra Leoneans to take the IGR report seriously so that punitive measures would be taken against those found culpable.