State House, Freetown, Friday 28 December 2018 – The Anti Corruption Commission (ACC) has presented a cheque of 7,578,449.077 (Seven Billion Five Hundred and Seventy-Eight Million Four Hundred and Forty-Nine Leones and Seventy-Seven Cent) to His Excellency President Julius Maada Bio as part of the recovery of public funds during a ceremony held at State House.
Deputy Commissioner of the ACC, Shollay Davies said it was a customary practice for the Commission to present to the President monies recovered from corrupt individuals which are transferred to the Consolidated Revenue Fund in line with Section 139 of the Anti-Corruption Act. He disclosed this year’s recovery of stolen funds increased by 801% from previous recoveries made since the review of the ACC Act in 2008.
He stated that based on agreements already made with suspects, the Commission is expected to recover a further Le 5,000,000,000 (Five Billion Leones) and over $ 700,000 (Seven Hundred Thousand Dollars) in the next six months. He noted that the impressive recovery is happening against the backdrop that this year the country was able to pass the control of corruption on the Millennium Challenge Cooperation with a score of 71% compared to 49% in the previous year.
“Also on the Afro-barometer the percentage of public perception on corruption fell from 70% to 43% which is as a result of the political will demonstrated so far. We look forward to the approval of the draft bill by Parliament which seeks to review the asset recovery as well as asset management within the country. The bill we believe will serve as a deterrent to corruption in the country.”
“The New Year promises to be a year of hard work as we progress into the next trajectory. We look forward to the actualization of a special court that will try corruption cases that have stocked up in the court. We hope that we will be able to further improve on our mandate as we move towards the New Year. Already, we have recorded 100% convictions of our cases in court and we are going to have more convictions,” he said.
Deputy Minister of Finance, Dr Patricia Larvaley, said the event was a landmark one wherein for the first time the ACC was able to present such a huge sum of money to the Consolidated Revenue Fund. She said it was a new era of good financial governance noting the indicators of eradicating corruption in the country were beginning to improve, adding that was a way of setting the momentum for the Commissions of Inquiry.
On his part, President Bio said he was extremely pleased with the efforts by the ACC to end corruption in the country, saying the relentless work by the ACC provided hope that the country was moving in the right direction. He disclosed the monies recovered by the ACC would be used to construct a medical diagnostic centre for Sierra Leoneans.
“Apart from the hospital, we will use monies recovered to build a new office for the ACC that will be symbolic. Going into the New Year, I have reasons to smile because you are delivering on my promise to fight corruption. I am extremely happy for you. This is a new Sierra Leone and we are heading for a beautiful destination,” President Bio ended.