The Network Movement for Justice and Development has in a press release called for an explanation into the recent resignation of the Anti Corruption Boss Abdul Tejan Cole.
The release states “We, at the Network Movement for Justice and Development (NMJD), have been following with keen interest the public discourse, which the recent resignation of the former Commissioner of the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC), Mr Abdul Tejan-Cole, has generated. Mr Abdul Tejan-Cole resigned his position as Commissioner of the ACC in a letter addressed to the Secretary to the President dated 7th May 2010.
We note that the Anti-Corruption Commission was established by the Government of Sierra Leone in 2000 with the enactment of the Anti-Corruption Act 2000. This makes the ACC a public entity that should be accountable to the citizens of this country.
We further note that the ACC has a responsibility to investigate alleged instances of corruption and to prevent corrupt practices in all its forms and shades. Corruption stands out clearly as the single most factor that adversely affects the socio-economic development of the country.
We want to draw the attention of the general public to the fact that the ACC will find it very difficult to carry out this mandate successfully without the cooperation and active support of the general populace.
We note with great satisfaction the several initiatives of the ACC under the leadership of Mr Abdul Tejan-Cole, as well as his unwavering commitment, to fight corruption and corrupt practices in the country.
We are, however, disturbed by the fact that neither Mr Abdul Tejan-Cole, nor the ACC Advisory Board, has found it necessary to explain to the people of this country the true reasons behind the resignation. This information gap has created room for rumours and speculations by an anxious and concerned populace.
We are not oblivious of the fact that it is the constitutional right of every citizen to take up appointment and at the same time resign from it, as long as it is done within the legal parameters of the terms of employment.
We are, however, fully convinced that both Mr Abdul Tejan-Cole and the ACC Advisory Board have a moral and ethical responsibility to explain to the tax payers of this country the reasons behind such a sudden and an unexpected resignation, especially when it came at a time the ACC is prosecuting its arguably biggest corruption case ever.
We note with apprehension that the resignation came at a time when the ACC has earned the trust and confidence of the general citizenry to give them a new lease of life. But the secrecy which surrounds the resignation of Mr Abdul Tejan-Cole will erode this fledgling confidence and trust.
If there are negative factors that prompted Mr Abdul Tejan-Cole’s resignation, we are worried that such factors might continue to wreak havoc on the future operations of the ACC if they are not made public now with the view of having them addressed by the appropriate authorities.
Further, if the ACC, which was established on the foundation of transparency and accountability, can conduct its affairs in secrecy as is evidenced with the resignation of Mr Abdul Tejan-Cole, then there is the likelihood of such resignations becoming a pattern for other public officials in the country.