Sierra Leone's successive governments since independence have institutionalized bribery and other forms of corruption
FREETOWN, JULY 19 2013: PACM wishes to express our profound alarm and utter disgust at the high rate of corruption in the country today. Recently, reports of increased corruption culminated in the Transparency International Report 2013 that placed Sierra Leone as the most corrupt country in the world.
Even before the Transparency International report, there has been increasing report from the media of high level corruption, whereby top government officials have been defrauding the people of Sierra Leone. These reports include widespread thievery at the National Revenue Authority (NRA), Sierra Leone Commercial Bank, ECOBANK and FI Bank. Prior to these recent reports of corruption in the country , there have been previous reports highlighting various kinds of corrupt practices throughout the country ranging from the Ministry of Health, Ministry of Defence , NASSIT, Freetown City Council, Koidu City Council, other city councils, Ministry of Agriculture, the Police and the judiciary. In particular also the case of the stolen one million dollar GAVI Fund meant for medicine. The Auditor-General’s Report also identified wide spread corruption and misappropriation of funds by various government and state functionaries.
PACM asserts that the Transparency International report released in early July only confirmed a widely held view among ordinary people that Sierra Leone’s ruling elites are among the most rapacious and voracious vultures scavenging on the already deplorable living conditions of the people where poverty, disease and want remain the rule rather than the exception.
PACM believes the TI report is a true reflection of the reality of corruption in Sierra Leone today. As Pan-Africanists, we are not surprised about this state of affairs and the report’s findings. Since the advent of the ‘new- APC’, there has been endless stream of corruption starting from Hafsatu Kabbah, former minister of Energy and Power and the well known Income Electrix saga (2008/9) , the case against the former Mayor of Freetown and various dubious mining deals signed by the Government.
This is also true under the previous SLPP administration when millions of dollars meant for post-war developmental projects where diverted into private use thereby depriving the majority of the masses of basic social amenities - including education, health care facilities, food, housing and transportation.
We are also not surprised because in Sierra Leone successive governments since independence have institutionalized bribery and other forms of corruption. For instance under the kleptocratic and dictatorial one party rule of Siaka Stevens, corruption was institutionalised and more recently the open vote buying that we saw during the last Presidential and general elections of 2012 are evidences of institutionalised state-induced corruption.
We hereby, in the strongest terms, condemn the present spate of corruption in the country. We call on the masses to demand an end to corruption by mobilizing and organizing in their various communities against corruption. It is only by direct action that we can hold public officials accountable. Rather than rely on the ineffective ruling class appointed anti-corruption commisions we must organise and take action as ordinary people to challenge this state of affairs.
PACM also demands an independent special court, that will be accountable to the masses, to specifically address cases of corruption.
Finally, PACM also calls on the masses to demand that public officers found guilty of corruption should payback stolen resources and serve jail sentences, rather than, as is the case now, pay fine OR serve jail term.
WHO WE ARE
The Pan-Afrikan Community Movement (PACM) is a grassroots Pan-Africanist, community based movement of youths, students, women, employed and unemployed workers in urban and rural Sierra Leone. We stand for the self-emancipation and self determination of the oppressed and exploited Afrikan masses at home and abroad. We are opposed to privatisation, racism, sexism, neo-colonialism, and imperialist proxy wars in Africa.
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