All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing’ - Edmund Burke


S I E R R A  H E R A L D

Vol 8 No 4

The tendency sometimes to protect perpetrators for the sake of peace...doesn't help society. Impunity should not be allowed to stand. - Kofi Annan on Waki report

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It is refreshing to note that despite dithering over when to declare his assets, President Ernest Bai Koroma has delivered what could well be a master stroke that should go a long way in putting the brakes on the activities of those who believe that the honest are fools for their pains.

The Anti Corruption Act 2008 is welcome news and if interpreted and allowed to operate in the spirit of the letter, then Sierra Leone is on the way to regaining its credibility as a place where investors can, without fear or doubts pour hard-earned cash and resources.

This Act if allowed to operate truthfully and in the spirit of the document could see a new Sierra Leone where the corrupt will no longer be the overlords they've been and where the honest public official will no longer become the usual subject of derision and mirth. This should see the dawn of a new era where the phrase "Honesty is the best policy" will once again become a well-known figure of speech rather than the devilish and shameless exploitative "usai den tie cow"

The provisions of the Act makes interesting reading, if not uplifting and heart-warming hope. Take these for example

Abuse of office

 42. (1) Any public officer who uses his office to improperly confer an advantage on himself or any other person commits an offence.

(2) A person guilty of an offence under subsection (1) shall on conviction be liable to a fine not less than thirty million leones or to imprisonment for a term not less than 3 years or to both such fine and imprisonment.

Abuse of position.

43. A public officer who knowingly abuses his position in the performance or failure to perform an act, in contravention of any law, in the discharge of his functions or duties is commits an offence and shall on conviction be liable to a fine not less than thirty million leones or to imprisonment for a term not less than 3 years or to both such fine and imprisonment.

And this one that can make a quite worrying reading for a former head of the army, one Major-General Sheku Tarawali who believes that "gifts" are a natural part of his routine. And even after revelations on record on his tenure in office, the one and only former President Tejan Kabbah did not bat an eyelid in recommending him for the Chairmanship of the National Power Authority, the NPA. And he got the job despite failing to submit to Parliament a true declaration of assets.

Gifts. 51. (1) A public officer who solicits or accepts any gift, fee or personal benefit from any person as an inducement or reward for anything done or omitted to be done by him in the performance of his duties commits an offence and shall be liable on conviction to a fine five times the value of the gift or benefit or fifty million leones whichever is greater or to imprisonment for a term not less than one year or both such fine and imprisonment.

What would have put the icing on the cake and given President Ernest Bai Koroma even more kudos would have been an announcement from his office that he had separated the Office of the Attorney-General from that of the Minister of Justice currently held by Serry Kamal, who it appears has now become a law unto himself.

The separation of these two posts as promised by the President would have gone quite a long way in enhancing his gloss as someone who is keen to show just how serious he is about tackling corruption.

The Sierra Leone constitution goes a long way in separating the three arms of government - the Legislature, the Executive and the Judiciary.

Serry Kamal belongs to both the Judiciary as well as the Executive and this has to end.


Yearning for the mother country?

The right choice is Kevin McPhilips Travel

©Sierra Herald 2002