Commissioner Abdul Tejan Cole has stressed that he is not at the helm of the Anti Corruption Commission (ACC) to witch hunt anyone, emphasizing that “there is a common mistake by most Sierra Leoneans here that the only way to fight corruption is prosecution.”
He stressed, “that is wrong we will undertake a three-prone approach: prevention, enforcement and prosecution,” opining that, “prosecution is just one way and if we concentrate on just one way we will not succeed.”
The less than two months in office boss stressed on: “we have to do it several different ways, and the example I normally give about why it is important to engage in prevention is this scenario”.
“When people go to sleep at night, you make sure you close your doors and windows, you don’t open them and you say you wait when a thief comes in and steals then you arrest and prosecute the thief,” he noted.
He went on, “if you rely on prosecution like opening your doors and windows to allow the thief to come in and steal, so what you do, you prevent it so when somebody breaks in having done that and enters then you deal with the person and prosecute.”
The ACC boss opined further that, “we are all in favour of prosecution but it should not be the sole approach- people should not just feel the only way to fight corruption is to arrest.”
Mr Tejan Cole lamented that, “many a time one limitation that prosecution has is that if you wait until prosecution most times you are unable to recover the money because by the time it’s taken and stolen, the money disappears…Eventually you might be able to lock that person up and he will go to Pademba Road Prison and tax payers will pay to feed and maintain that person in prison, whilst if you put in place mechanisms within the various ministries, departments and agencies you will be able to prevent corruption and save money”.
That, he maintained, had been done in a couple of ministries and already and “we are working with the Education ministry, and stressed that, “where we feel we will prosecute we will prosecute, trust me I have spent most of my life doing that and I am happy doing it”.
Abdul Tejan Cole also spoke about moves being made to have corruption included in the curriculum of schools, and that dialogue was one so that teachers could be trained so that they could know exactly how to teach about corruption, “the evils of it, the ills and how it damages our society”.
He stressed home that, “we should target our next generation –we have integrity clubs in schools, so if we can have curriculum studies in the schools –corruption studies or something relating to how citizens should have a duty to report and prevent corruption and to take necessary actions we inculcate that in our students at that school level, I think there is hope for our generation in Sierra Leone.” By Samuel John