The Centre for Accountability and Rule of Law (CARL) hailed the announcement by the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) that it has launched a full-scale investigation into alleged mismanagement of public funds by Members of Parliament (MPs). CARL says it is victory for citizens’ voices for accountability, and of the Commission’s genuine demonstration of commitment to the fight against corruption. There have been several unproven allegations of corruption against MPs over the last decade, but the latest probe was initiated after Hon. Ibrahim Tawa Conteh of Constituency 132 and the Clerk of Parliament Hon. Paran Tarawally traded accusations of mismanagement and misappropriation of funds during separate radio interviews in Freetown. Members of the public, who were clearly outraged by the accusations, demanded accountability for alleged financial mismanagement, especially by these two officials. “It is about time that the fight against corruption was taken to our elected representatives in parliament”, said Ibrahim Tommy, Executive Director for Centre for Accountability and Rule of Law, adding “It is commendable that the ACC felt that it was not enough to investigate only the two officials who traded the accusations on public radio, but has chosen to look into the financial management practices of all MPs and the parliamentary administration”. Previous efforts to hold MPs and the parliamentary administration accountable for public funds managed by them were either futile or stoutly resisted, but CARL urges the ACC to leave no stone unturned in its quest for truth and accountability for the people of Sierra Leone. We further urge the leadership of Parliament, as well as of all the political parties represented in Parliament, to refrain from taking any steps aimed at undermining the ongoing investigations. As both Hon. Ibrahim Tawa Conteh and Hon. Paran Tarawally have made statements to the ACC, CARL urges every person of interest in the ongoing investigation to cooperate fully with the Commission. Corruption has been identified as a binding constraint to Sierra Leone’s development aspirations, and the highest standard of accountability is expected of those who are required by law to oversee our development efforts. In spite of recent progress in our collective effort against corruption, CARL believes that corruption is still endemic in all sectors of the economy, and until the high and mighty are held accountable, public trust in the institutions set up to fight corruption will continue to wane.
By Ophaniel Gooding
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