State House, Freetown, Thursday 6 August, 2020 - The Anti-Corruption Commission, ACC, has presented its 2019 Annual Report to His Excellency President Dr Julius Maada Bio as part of its obligations and mandate to account for its stewardship.
Its Deputy Commissioner, Augustine Foday Ngobie, said that they were presenting the report in fulfilment of the provision in Section 19(1) of the ACC Act of 2008 as amended, noting that the report comprehensively chronicled the overall activities of the Commission and captured details on all departments for the year under review.
He said that 2019 could be safely described as a year of remarkable success for the Commission, taking into consideration the achievements and success stories both locally and internationally. He also said that they were able to strengthen the Commission through the amendment of the laws which had made corruption a high risk but low return venture.
"Your Excellency, the Commission remains very grateful to you for the determined and inspiring leadership demonstrated towards the fight against corruption and the general work of the Commission. I also extend our thanks to the Ministry of Finance for its support in the payment of salaries, provision of recurrent expenditure and development," he said.
ACC Deputy Commissioner, Augustine Foday Ngobie
In his remarks, President Bio started by commending the leadership and staff of the Commission for the report and for their unwavering commitment to the fight against corruption over the last year.
"Since I assumed office, I have prioritised fighting corruption because it is a threat to our development as a nation. A corrupt country is adverse for economic and social development, foreign direct investment, effective service delivery, fairplay and equal opportunity, equal access to justice and the rule of law.
"Today, the presentation of this report gives us an opportunity to reaffirm my Government's commitment to fighting this war on corruption. As I say often, this is a war we must fight and it is a war we must win," he said.
"First, in 2019, I signed into law the Anti-Corruption Amendment Act of 2019 in fulfilment of both a manifesto and public commitment I made... second, the Special Anti-Corruption Division was established in the High Court with five (5) dedicated Judges to exclusively sit on ACC cases...
"Third, the Honourable Vice President, Dr. Mohamed Juldeh Jalloh, on behalf of my Government, launched my Government's strategic blueprint that includes the public and private sectors in fighting corruption... fourth, our international reputation has been enhanced because our international rating on controlling corruption and corruption perception indices are all very favourable...
ACC Commissioners in the audience at State House
"Fifth, Sierra Leone scored 79% in the Millennium Challenge Corporation control of corruption indicator. This was an improvement on the 71% score in 2018 during our very first year in office. Clearly, this was a significant improvement on the failing score of 49% scored by our predecessors... sixth, surveys carried out by independent civil society organisations and funded by foreign governments, indicate significant improvements in fighting corruption," he concluded.