Sierra Leone Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) has presented to President Julius Maada Bio over 7.5 billion leones (US$876,000) of monies recovered from corrupt people entrusted with public offices and state funds in Sierra Leone.
During the ceremony at State House, Deputy Commissioner of ACC, Shollay Davies, said it was a customary practice for the Commission to present to the President monies recovered from corrupt individuals before transferred to the Consolidated Revenue Fund in line with Section 139 of the ACC Act. He disclosed that this year’s collection increased by 801% from previous recoveries made since the review of the Act in 2008.
He stated that based on agreements already reached with suspects, the Commission was expected to recover Le 5 billion leones and over US$700,000 in the next six months. He noted that that was happening in the backdrop that this year the country was able to pass the control of corruption on the Millennium Challenge Corporation with a score of 71% compared to 49% in 2017.
“Also on the Afro-barometer the percentage of public perception on corruption has fallen from 70% to 43% which is as a result of the political will demonstrated so far. We look forward to the approval of the draft bill by Parliament which seeks to review the asset recovery as well as asset management within the country. The bill, we believe, will serve as a deterrent to corruption in the country.
“The New Year promises to be a year of hard work. As we progress into the next trajectory, we look forward to the actualisation of a special court that will try corruption cases that have stuck up in the court. We hope that we will be able to further improve on our mandate as we move into the New Year. Already, we have recorded 100% convictions of our cases in court and we are going to have more convictions,” he promised.
Deputy Minister of Finance, Dr Patricia Larvaley, said the event was a landmark one where, for the first time, the ACC was able to present such a huge sum of money to the Consolidated Fund. She said it was a new era of good financial governance, noting that the indicators of eradicating corruption in the country were beginning to improve. She added that that was a way of setting the momentum for the Commissions of Inquiry.
On his part, President Bio said he was extremely pleased with the efforts by the ACC to end corruption in the country, saying that the relentless work by the agency provided hope that the country was moving in the right direction. He disclosed that the monies recovered by the commission would be used to construct a medical diagnostic hospital for Sierra Leoneans.
“Apart from the hospital, we will use monies recovered to build a new office for the ACC that will be symbolic. Going into the New Year, I have reasons to smile because you are delivering on my promise to fight corruption. I am extremely happy for you. This is a new Sierra Leone and we are heading for a beautiful destination,” he said.