Abdul Tejan Cole, the new Anti Corruption Commission commissioner, has started to bite by arresting 12 officials from the Customs and Excise department of the National Revenue Authority (NRA) plus a police officer.
A release from the ACC states that the 13 were arrested last Thursday for various offences under the Anti-Corruption Act 2000 as amended. It says the officials were assisting the Commission with its investigations as the public will be kept abreast with developments. But the release does not mention the names of the 13 arrested.
This arrest came after the ACC last week indicated that it had presented to the Attorney General and Minister of Justice, Serry Kamal, a draft amendment to the ACC Act 2000, for Government’s consideration and subsequent enactment.
The proposed amendments included giving the commission legal personality and revising the role of the ACC Advisory Board, giving the Commission prosecutorial powers, creating new offences such as illicit enrichment and abuse of office and misuse.
The Commission also considered that the provision of adequate protection for whistleblowers and informers and to make it compulsory for all public servants to declare their assets and to give adequate provision for international cooperation in the fight against corruption.
These amendments, the commission considers, is to ensure that “our national legislation is in tandem with the United Nations Conventions Against Corruption (UNCAC) which Sierra Leone ratified, and the African Union Convention on Prevention and combating Corruption and related offences”.
If enacted, the ACC says, the revised legislation will signal government’s unflinching resolve to fight corruption and help end impunity in the country.