I do not know how even educated people find this simple formula set by law difficult to grasp. No corruption can happen without conferment of an “advantage” on oneself or another.

So let me break it down:
1. X was already Director before he claims a PhD (whether merited or unmerited). Did he use it to confer an advantage on himself as a public officer (get the job)? No! Is PhD a requirent to become a Director or remain it? NO. No law requires that apart from a feel-good-factor! Is there an “advantage conferred” within the meaning of the Anticorruption Act? NO. The Act requires the advantage to be actual and beneficial (and costly to public resources)

2. To become ACC Commissioner the requirement is set by law and it needs only a good lawyer of the requisite experience. Francis Ben Kaifala is the Commissioner. He used a valid Law degree and Call to the Bar Certificate plus some of the best Master’s degrees ever conferred on human beings. He later claims PhD honoris causa or whatever. What advantage has he conferred on himself by claiming a useless PhD that is not even a requirement for his job? None. Zero. Had the law degree been fake would he have committed a crime (corruption)? Sure. Because without it he would not have been made ACC Commissiner. What will a fake PhD add to him? Air! NOTHING but a useless title. Did he confer an advantage on himself within the meaning of the Anti-Corruption Act by claiming the airlike useless phD. No! He may just want to feel good about himself.

Is the issue in 1 & 2 above an ethical issue that we all should be concerned about for public office? Yes. But it is administrative only; those who should take administrative action can review the situation and where necessary, act.

Could it be fraud too either by the ones who conferred or those it is conferred on? Yes. It could be; but that is a matter for the police NOT the ACC. It could even just be a scam. The police have jurisdiction over all crime apart from corruption but including fraud and forgery.

What about Human Resources Management Office (RMO)? Public Service Commission (PSC)? Public Sector Reform Unit? Ministry of Higher and Tertiary Education? The police? The Administrative and Human Resource Offices of all those individual institutions? Do they have a role? Yes. They could look into it and where they identify specific corruption crimes, refer the issue to the ACC for further investigation and punishment.

Should the ACC with 215 staff nationwide now take responsibility to do that for all these institutions established by law? That is what the public feels (and we love and appreciate the Public). ACC disagrees because it cannot abuse its own powers and unreasonably stretch itself where it has partner institutions that should take action and are already doing so. That is how institutions lose their essence and the ACC will always do what has to be done to make Sierra Leone’s transparency space better.

Where a clear case of advantage is identified, will the ACC Act? Sure. 100%. The ACC will and it is ready to do so.

Can the ACC treat it as an ethical issue and help with prevention in stead? Yes. Sure. It can and will. It will also help with public education? Sure ; that is why the Commissioner is taking time to type this out for adults to understand what the ACC has been saying for over a week and many understand – while some do not.

What next for the ACC? It will put out a statement detailing its plans vis-a-vis this issue soon.

Long live Sierra Leone!