By Abubakarr Turay (ABT)
Sierra Leone has gone four places up in the 2013 Corruption Perception Index released by Transparency International (TI). The survey is a tool used by TI to assess perceived levels of public sector corruption in one hundred and seventy-seven countries around the world. Sierra Leone is ranked 119 out of 177 countries, which puts the country four places up from its 123 position last year.
In recent times Sierra Leone has been making steady progress in the fight against corruption. This is not unconnected to the country’s political decision in 2008 to give more powers to its anti-graft agency, the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC), by providing powers to the Commission to prosecute its cases and making it mandatory for all public servants to declare their assets with the Commission.
The ACC has been using a three-pronged approach in its fight against corruption in the country. The enactment of the Anti-Corruption Act 2008 has enabled the Commission to prosecute an unprecedented number of cases and secured more convictions. This has resulted in the recoveries of tens of billions of leones of stolen public monies.
The Commission’s Systems and Processes Review Department has also been able to detect the weak systems in government’s ministries, departments and agencies and put measures in place to seal the leaks that make the systems prone to corruption.
The Public Education and External Outreach Department of the Commission, on the other hand, has been raising awareness about the ills of corruption and the need for a corrupt-free society. This has also helped the Commission in building partnerships with civil society organisations whose roles are seen as key in the fight against corruption.
Sierra Leone’s growing robustness in the fight against corruption through the ACC has made it to go an accelerated thirty-nine places up in the TI Corruption Perception Index in the last five years.