Joseph Fitzgerald Kamara, Commissioner Anti Corruption Commission (ACC) has stated that impunity hampers fight against corruption in the country.
He made this statement this week at a public lecture at the Bank of Sierra Leone complex in honor of International Day against Corruption celebrated 9th December every year.
“Certainly there is still issue of impunity; meaning that there are still people that get away with the fight against corruption”, the ACC Boss highlighted noting that it puzzles the ACC to see some of their convicts walking freely on the street.
Joseph Kamara said: “Sometimes when we charge, we still see that some people get bail after being convicted, these are challenges that abound and not only on Sierra Leone but in many other places. We are working with the judiciary; we are improving on the quality of our investigations, improving on the quality of our prosecutions and also bridge the aspect of the law wherein once someone is convicted they go through the door and escape; you see them back on the street all because of the situation that we have on bail pending appeal. These are challenges we intend to address.”
Joseph F Kamara however stated that there is much more engagement and enlightenment on corruption today unlike any other time and for this he thanked the media.
“Today in Sierra Leone there is heightening awareness on issues against corruption and we are glad to report that many respondents are taking it very favorably and that government and the ACC are doing their best to advance the fight,” he said.
He also dilated that the thrust behind the public lecture is in consonance with the International Anti Corruption Day 9th December and therefore it is being marked with series of activities in the week “highlighting attention to the issues of corruption in Sierra Leone and globally.”
He added that they are glad to have invited Peter Conze founding member Transparency International a leading NGO in the fight against corruption adding that the public lecture highlighted issues of corruption globally and also what countries are doing about it and how Sierra Leone can learn from those lessons.
Making a comparative analysis on his and that of Peter’s public lecture, the ACC Boss said that there are a lot of similarities; the awareness on the ills of corruption and described it “as becoming an environmentally threatening phenomenon. Today issues of the environment are threatened by corruption, issue of leadership is affected by corruption, issues of good governance are threatened by corruption even the welfare that we have is being threatened by corruption. We have to address that otherwise we will find ourselves in the developmental zone, still continue to border on the red zone in the fight against corruption. In the last five years we moved upward, before we have been at the pan ultimate end of the wrong, but now we have moved up to 117/119 we have moved for over 39 spaces upward. We are not satisfied, we want to move away completely from the back end, and we want to ensure that we as a people are prepared to fight against corruption. The government is prepared to fight and support the Anti Corruption Commission and there is a political and public will.”
Joseph Fitzgerald Karma nonetheless underscored that corruption is widespread and does not reside in a particular discipline alone; citing that even within the media there is corruption; the judiciary and many other areas but noted that efforts are being made to curb it for which he called on the media, Civil Society, government and individuals to support the ACC in curtailing it.