Sierra Herald would continue to remind the authorities in
Sierra Leone about the need for them to minimise corruption
and this medium strongly believes that examples of honesty
and general integrity must be initiated by those put in
positions of trust and leadership.
of the African Union on corruption held in 2002 clearly
how serious this evil is within African societies. For a
continent to lose as much as an estimated 148 billion
dollars annually through corruption speaks volumes of the
need to drastically reduce, if not eliminate corruption.
Sierra Leone, we would urge the authorities to put their
money where their mouths are and tackle this problem that
has reduced a once-proud nation to begging on its knees.
the time to get things done rather than relying on sound
bytes to please donors. Now is the time to show that the
future of Sierra Leone rests squarely on all of us. We take
this opportunity of constantly reminding ourselves of what
has been said of corruption in Sierra Leone. President Ahmad
Tejan Kabbah even went as far as to link it with the
security of the State.
We need to remind ourselves of the importance of setting
achievable goals and implementing strategies that would lead
us to our dreams of making life worth living for all Sierra
Leoneans. This calls for even more role-model demonstrations
of good governance, accountability and the rule of law from
leaders. It is a must therefore, that all those who are put
in public trust set examples for others to follow and the
Sierra Herald would want to remind all those in authority
and the general public about what has been stated in
connection with the issue of corruption, the cancer that is
destroying the very fabric of Sierra Leone. Excerpts from
some key statements.
Corruption, either grand (the looting of state coffers by
those in public trust, the illegal trading in diamonds) or
petty (the charge demanded by a low-ranking official for a
service that should be free), remains endemic in Sierra
Leone. It has become a way of life for many. Society has
come to accept, even expect, corruption. As always the poor
suffer most, and the poorest of the poor most of all. They
are denied access to education, healthcare and medicine
because they cannot afford to make the extra payments
demanded by corrupt officials. They are denied justice when
the legal system is twisted by bribery. And they suffer when
corruption diverts scarce resources away from development or
deters essential domestic and international investment.
The system for prosecuting those found out is itself
corrupted by inertia, and the failure to punish those
responsible. The temptation therefore remains.
of the people entering politics and the civil service in
Sierra Leone do so in order to make money. Personal gain, or
loyalty to family, tribe or party, is put before national
interest. And the consequence of this is that the country is
damaged and everyone loses out.
Clare Short, British Development minister
Corruption within both the public and private sectors in
Sierra Leone is endemic. It permeates all levels of
government and most business transactions. Scandals
involving the looting of state coffers and development aid
are commonplace. Even though the situation has recently
improved, a large percentage of Sierra Leone's diamonds are
still thought to be traded illegally, depriving the Sierra
Leonean government of much needed revenue to support public
Petty corruption, extortion, and bribe-taking, particularly
by police officers or low ranking officials, is rampant.
Money has to change hands in order to secure entrance for
children into public school, receive treatment in a public
clinic, obtain a permit, authorisation, or letter from a
ministry, or even file a police report. Corruption has
historically bought the support of both the police and the
army, making them subject to political interference and
undermining their duty to protect. Personal gain through
corruption remains the primary motivation for those entering
the civil service.....the efforts of those seeking redress
through the legal system are often frustrated by corruption
within the very system designed to combat it.
Human Rights Watch Briefing Paper, July 2002
It is worth emphasising that all our efforts to provide food
for the hungry, clean water and electricity for our people,
build and equip hospitals and schools throughout the
country, would be futile if we do not eliminate corruption -
that vicious enemy of our society.
Once again, I wish to assure you that I have personally
committed myself to the continuing fight against corruption
at all levels of our society, and in both the public and
private sectors. Honourable members, I need your help in
this struggle against this enemy of the nation. I entreat
you to regard corruption as a national security issue. It is
....We will continue to maintain zero tolerance for
corruption. In order to reinforce our national
anti-corruption strategy, we will ensure the speedy
prosecution of corruption cases by appointing a Judge or
Judges with sole responsibility over such cases.
President Ahmed Tejan Kabbah at the State opening of
Parliament in July, 2002