• February 2, 2024


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Narratives from the 2022 Audit Service Sierra Leone Report has left many with strong beliefs that government has lost the war on corruption.

The Report exposed gross misappropriation of public funds by heads of Ministries Departments and Agencies – MDAs. These, backed by the alleged theft of billions of Leones at the Ministry of Finance and payments of salaries by Clerk of Parliament to his ghost worker-wife, Abibatu Paran Tarawally among host of others are indicative of a lost plot in fighting corruption.

The crusade is completely down due to the high level of compromise attached to it, mostly aimed at protecting top ruling partisans from within. The Report is badly riddled with widespread public sector corruption, under the watch of a leader who campaigned on the mantra of fighting corruption.

That is why those who are directly responsible for extensive corruption in the country during the period under review are President Julius Maada Bio and his stooge, the Anti-Corruption Commission Commissioner, Francis Ben Kaifala. Bio and Kaifala are wanted by Sierra Leoneans from the world over for their collective failures in fighting corruption as mandated by law. Their leadership failure is unacceptable and they owe Sierra Leoneans public apology for being deceitful to the nation with impunity.

With the culture of latitude serving as the orders of his era, backed by nepotism and compromise, speak to outright lack of political will by the Bio presidency and his government as a whole in curbing corruption. There is certainly no two ways about it. It is what it is that Bio has failed the war on corruption. So, talk less about campaign promises of fighting graft and addressing bread and butter problems. The lies have not saved the day at all. Neither the bread, nor the butter remains unseen as we piece this edition of TALKING POINT.

Outrageously for the Commissions of Inquiries COIs set up by the Bio regime, exempted ex-ministers; Musa Tarawalie, Moijueh KaiKai, Mohom Vandi etc. The ploy actually exposed the Bio’s selective handlings of the fight against corruption, as Northerners and Westerners with similar status faced the crucibles. As if the administrative was brought up as a witch hunts against northerners and their closed allies in the west of the country.

To think about a tangible political will in fighting corruption, nobody expect the failed ACC under the supervision of the Office of the President to be down-playing the anti-graft campaign by now reflecting vividly on his vows. Government’s pro-activeness against corruption is only realized in pursuing political opponents. And when it comes to the involvements of top Sierra Leone People’s Party (SLPP) members and senior public servants, it ends up with endless chronicles of excuses by Kaifala.

Compromise seems to be everywhere in the fight, to a point that corrupt practice offenders who are expected to be charged to court, prosecuted and jailed if found guilty, are always trivialized through out-of-court settlements and refunds of stolen monies in the name of recovery.

As recently observed by the opposition Unity Party Leader, Dr Jonathan Sandi, the ACC under failed Kaifala and Bio has lost its crown. The commission no longer act as mandated by law, barks more than it bites. The ACC only take tougher actions against opposition politicians. And the public is always told that the ACC has recovered so and so amount of stolen money from alleged corrupt civil servants, rather than proffering charges and prosecutorial measures with stronger penalties against offenders. The more the reason the UP Leader opines that the ACC is not a money recovery agency. Dr Sandi urged government to enforce the law, charging; ‘we must defend penalties that should lead to jail’. He pointed out that the ACC was not set up as a money recovery commission. Dr Sandi among other issues described corruption as a criminal offence according to the laws of Sierra Leone.

We do hope and pray that Kaifala and Bio hear Dr Sandi very well and would do the needful.

With such a huge challenge militating against national campaign, is implicit of facts of collective failure in winning the war on corruption. Thus that Bio, the ACC as a public agency charged with the task of cleaning societal ills, President Bio, Commissioner Kaifala and his team owe the nation explanation for their failure in winning the war on corruption. Failure to provide the public with justifiable reasons for losing the anti-graft war and they should therefore declare themselves – Ben Kaifala and his boss Julius Maada Bio wanted for leadership failures.

It is hard to believe that matters involving the ex-Director-General of the Sierra Leone Broadcasting Corporation, Joseph Egbenda Kapuwa and others are hardly taken seriously by Kaifala’s ACC. Their partisan connections hardly allow the laws of the land to take its full force. Had that not been the problem of protectionisms affecting the anti – corruption crusade from within, the government would have jailed so many SLPP members by now for thieveries from the state coffers with impunity.

Corruption by every stretch of imagination is more prevalent now than before.

Classic instances are those of the shelved investigation of the Office of the First Lady, Fatima Bio, the Office of the President’s alleged falsification of receipt. Also formed part of proven records of rampant corruption under the watch of Bio, was the alarm raised by two ruling SLPP MPs, Hon. Hindolo Moiwo Gevao and Hon. Ibrahim Tawa Conteh, that their office, the House of Parliament is corrupt.

Their concerns about moral decadence in that arm of the country’s public sector were reportedly looked into by the ACC, though nothing corruptible was found. So, the whole allegation was swept under the carpet and the two lawmakers were heavily supressed by the leadership of the House’ Disciplinary Committee for allegedly raising false alarms. The corrupt nature of the House of Parliament of Sierra Leone is in the public domain for the second time. This time around it is a matter allegedly involving the suspended Clerk of Parliament, Dominium University Hon Dr Paran Tarawally.

Hon Tarawally is alleged to have hired his wife, Abibatu Paran Tarawally with Grade 7 Seven salary scale, but she never report for duty, even though Mrs Tarawally received nineteen month salary. ACC says Mrs Tarawally has refunded the money and she has been put on bail and has been released from the custody of the commission at headquarters of the Criminal Investigations Department.

The matter urged the Speaker to abscond his office for some days, saying until the rights are done he will continue to work from home. What appears to be the correct thing in the House is the catch-up suspension of the former Clerk, Tarawally. But why the delays in suspending the Clerk are the million questions on the lips of everyone.

It could be recalled that on his ascendance to the throne on 4 April 2018, Bio stormed government offices with stands of taking punitive measures against corrupt practice offenders.

Failure in meeting the expectations of the nation as pledged by state duty bearers including the presidency has left Sierra Leoneans the world over with no alternatives but to declare President Julius Maada Bio and his inept team of anti-corruption warriors led by Francis Ben Kaifala WANTED.

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