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"Sierra Leone's Anti-Corruption measures; a paradigm shift in prosecution policy

Francis Ben Kaifala, the Commissioner of Sierra Leone's Anti-Corruption Commission, recently addressed the 14th Commonwealth Regional Conference for Heads of Anti-Corruption Agencies in Accra, shedding light on the country's innovative approach to combating corruption.

Kaifala emphasized a departure from discretionary prosecution decisions, introducing a comprehensive policy framework guiding the prosecution department.

Under this system, various considerations such as the nature of the offense, fairness of alternatives to prosecution, and potential impact on the economy are meticulously assessed.

The policy offers a range of non-criminal alternatives including civil penalties, restitution, forfeiture, cooperation agreements, and deferral agreements.

Notably, these measures are executed without the need for court intervention, circumventing challenges often faced within the judiciary.

By adopting such measures, Sierra Leone has witnessed tangible results, including expedited resolution of anti-corruption cases, increased public trust, and substantial monetary recoveries.

Kaifala revealed that the commission has recovered over $3.5 million in cash, which is subsequently channeled into development projects selected by the President.

Sierra Leone's strides in combating corruption have been acknowledged internationally, with a notable rise in the Transparency International (TI) index by 22 points since 2018.

Public perception of corruption has also significantly decreased, with only 7% of citizens now considering it a major issue, down from a staggering 79% in previous years.

Moreover, amidst the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, Sierra Leone has been lauded for its efficient management of funds, ranking third in Africa for transparency in handling COVID-19 relief funds.

Kaifala attributed much of the success to innovative and pragmatic approaches, particularly the implementation of non-court-based prosecution alternatives.

This shift has not only streamlined the anti-corruption process but also instilled confidence in the integrity of the commission's operations.

Sierra Leone's journey in combating corruption serves as a beacon of hope, showcasing the transformative power of strategic policies and unwavering dedication to transparency and accountability.

Story by: Joshua Kwabena Smith



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