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

February 5, 2009

S I E R R A  H E R A L D

Vol 7 No 2

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

ministers and mps face jail terms and fines in sierra leoneThe ACC boss and the President - Photo: AWOKO

Law makers in Sierra Leone (MPs) and policy executioners in the Ernest Bai Koroma set-up face jail terms of up to a year and a twenty million leone fine each for failing to declare their assets as required by law (The Anti Corruption Act 2008).

According to the Head of the Anti Corruption Commission, Abdul Tejan-Cole only 18 MPs or so out of a total number of 128 had so far bothered to submit their asset declaration forms -  a source of great disappointment to the Anti Corruption boss who sounded clearly betrayed in a BBC interview this morning on the programme Network Africa.

He told the BBC's Umaru Fofanah that only 15 ministers and deputy ministers out of a total number of 45 have thought it fit to honour this obligation despite the fact that their political boss himself President Ernest Bai Koroma had done his in the full glare of media publicity. (Sierra Leoneans still have to know the contents though).

The Parliamentarians deserve special condemnation in this regard for it was their same selves who gave the final nod for the new Anti Corruption Act of 2008 which seemed to have given the fight against corruption by the ACC some teeth in the battle to clean Sierra Leone's Aegean stable of filthy corruption.

The MPs deserve special condemnation because they of all sectors of governance should have known about the penalties involved and the pat they got on the back for making the Act a reality something that could be used in the fight against this singular menace that is responsible for all the ills of the country.

The MPs must be picked out for special condemnation because their failure to declare their assets as stipulated by a law which they made smirks of a lack of respect for the rule of law and a gross negligence of duty.

The MPs must come in for special condemnation because it was they who without thinking of the constitutional and moral implications took upon themselves to disrupt the holiday season and and mood on January 1 this year to gather their shameless, greedy and self-seeking selves up to the late hours in Parliament to make Libyan leader Khaddafi an "honorary MP" in our national and sacred institution.

And for the Ministers and Deputy Ministers not to have declared their assets despite the extension of the deadline portrays a set-up made up of lawless, self-seeking, greedy and opportunistic vandals so pre-occupied with getting rich at whatever cost that such obligations are never given a second thought.

They have, by this singular action, also shown a gross lack of respect for the man who appointed them into their various posts - the President Ernest Bai Koroma.

If the President could have gone as far as to do his duty and declare his assets to the Anti Corruption Commission - what gives these minions and assistants of his the gall, the temerity not to follow his example? MORE

And as the defaulters rush in to file their assets after hearing that interview this morning, the Sierra Herald would want to remind them about the provisions and penalties outlined in the Act. This is for those in the Cabinet and deputies who believe that the lies and falsehood which they got away with in the Parliamentary Appointments Committee is not going to be the same.

Any person who

(a) fails without reasonable cause, to furnish to the Commission a declaration which he is required to furnish in accordance with the provisions of this Act;

(b) knowingly makes any false statement in such declaration;

c) fails without reasonable cause to give such information or explanation as the Commission may require;

(d) after a certificate in respect of a declaration has been published in the Gazette pursuant to subsection (2) of section 121, publishes any statement whatever (orally or in writing) challenging the accuracy of that certificate or the honesty or credibility of the declarant, otherwise than by way of a complaint to the Commission;

So that's the warning and what is at stake here.

Make a false declaration and you are in for the high jump (The Courts)

Please see AWOKO for details of defaulting Ministers and Deputies

Yearning for the mother country?

The right choice is Kevin McPhilips Travel

©Sierra Herald 2002