The National Anti-Corruption Strategy (NACS) Secretariat on Friday 4th August, 2023 held its maiden meeting with Team of Experts drawn from various facets of society, at the Conference Room, Third Floor, of the Anti-Corruption Commission’s (ACC) Integrity House, Tower Hill, Freetown.

The meeting was to primarily set the roadmap for the crafting of a new (5th Generation) National Anti-Corruption Strategy (2024-2028), following the end of implementation of the 4th generation of the NACS Strategy (2019-2023).

The Experts are drawn from various facets of society, and they are mandated to craft a new NACS that will provide a guide and direction for the country in its efforts to combat corruption in all spheres of society.

In his address, ACC Commissioner, Francis Ben Kaifala Esq. commended the Experts which he asserted emerged from a pool of competent individuals with conspicuous probity, carefully selected to have them craft a Strategy without attachment or extraneous consideration – that will adequately support the fight against corruption.

He informed them that the 2019-2023 Strategy contributed to the successes of the ACC, and the goal now is to consolidate those numerous gains.

The Commissioner further noted that the ACC sets a broad vision and the NACS narrows on it in a Strategy, which becomes the product of consultations with an array of people in various facets of society, with different shades of opinion, including the President.

He emphasized that the Strategy is all-encompassing, and it goes beyond ACC by asking a number of questions.

“What can Sierra Leone do? What can the President do? What can Parliamentarians do? What can the judiciary do? Civil Society, the Media, the Private Sector and all other people to support the fight against Corruption. The Strategy is a Sierra Leone owned Strategy and it is semi-autonomous”, the Commissioner added.

The Commissioner also disclosed that in the last Strategy people revealed that there are fine laws but that what was only needed is enforcement as there is too much impunity and disregard for law and order; so was the dire need for a radical approach, not to baby-sit the corrupt. This he emphasized was what informed the radical moves made by ACC; the creation of the Elite Scorpion Squad that carried out raids, massive arrests and detentions, and the public education strides to raise awareness on corruption and create the consciousness in people that there are real consequences for engaging in acts of Corruption.

The Commissioner underscored, this greatly contributed to position the country strategically in every local and international indexes and assessments, but there is still a lot more to do. “If in Transparency International Corruption Perception Index we were 130 at the time (in 2017) and now we are 110 (2022), we need to do more because the overall goal of the ACC in the next five years is for Sierra Leone to hit plus or minus 80 in the Index”, the Commissioner stressed.

He therefore said that prevention of Corruption should be the centerpiece of the new Strategy but they as Experts have the task and amplitude to determine the vision of the ACC for the next five years.

Nabillahi Musa Kamara, Director of the National Anti-Corruption Strategy said that when the NACS started in 2005, DFID supported the crafting of the NACS but since 2014, the Commission made a decision that proved worthy to have Sierra Leoneans in charge of developing the NACS. He said that NACS emanates from the United Nations Convention Against Corruption (UNCAC), which calls on member states to develop effective Anti-Corruption policies that will encourage the wider participation of the general public.

He quoted Section 5 (1)c of the 2019 Anti-Corruption Amendment Act that he said places the responsibility on the Commissioner to coordinate the implementation of the NACS.

He said what was notably achieved in the last five-year Strategy is enforcement, and that has significantly stifled tendencies of impunity as the Commission was driven on the mantra of Kill dog before dog yai leh dog know say die dae. “We all saw the awareness that was raised with the radical approaches the ACC made,” Director Nabbillahi averred.

Deputy Commissioner ACC, Augustine Foday Ngobie earlier in his opening address said that before this time the Commission used to bank on having foreign experts and later realized what they produced was not feasible. He said, this is the 5th Generation of the NACS that they as Experts have been called to put together, unlike the first, second and third generations that were crafted by foreign experts.

Mr. Ngobie informed them that the task will require them to interface with different crop of people, and that informed the blend in their selection to constitute the Committee.

He encouraged them to provide and produce the best noting that, prevention should fundamentally mirror the Strategy they will craft.

The selected Team of Experts made their contributions by firstly thanking the Commissioner and the Commission for the confidence and trust reposed in them, and equally assured the ACC of their unflinching commitment to a successful execution of what they described as a daunting but achievable task.

Credit: Public Relations Unit, ACC