Sierra Leonean president Ernest Bai Koroma has apended his signatures on a bill that gives extensive powers to the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) to combat the entrenched and institutionalised corruption in the country.
Reiterating his government's resolve to remove what he calls "cancer" from his country, President Koroma decribed the development as "unique not only for the sub-region but for Africa as a whole. And it is a clear message that this cancer must be taken seriously," he vows.
"As leader of the opposition in the last parliament, we made our position clear that the ACC Act 2000 was most welcome but not strong enough, not independent enough to carry out the fight against corruption in an effective manner," he says, recalling his marathon campaign stance that the anti-corruption commission must be accorded "greater authority and independence."
"In less than a year in office, I have succeeded in not only reviewing the law but putting in place the Anti-Corruption Strategy Paper through its committee," he boasts, believing a success on corruption fight is capable of removing the diamond-rich country from begging for loans or aid.
Koroma, who ascended to power last year after defeating the former ruling Sierra Leone People's Party candidate Solomon Berewa, has declared his assets and handed over his declared assets form to the ACC commissioner Abdul Tejan Cole on Monday.
While exhorting all Sierra Leoneans to "read and become conversant with the ACC Act," President Koroma says "it is now mandatory for all public servants to declare their assets to the commission."
He is confident that the Act will help bring down corruption, encourage justice and prevent untold damages to the country's economy.
After months of debates and arguments, the ACC commissioner was delighted that the act finally gets presidential assent. He said since the commission has been given prosecutorial powers and enter into international co-operations, "there will be no hiding place not only for corrupt Sierra Leoneans but for foreigners who engage in corrupt practicees in Sierra Leone."
The new law has imposed stiffer penalties on corruption-related offences as well as accommodates compensations and protection for whistle-blowers.
Mr. Cole praises president Koroma for turning his words into deeds in the fight against corruption in a country that has emerged out of a 10-year brutal civil war in which hundreds of innocent civilians had had their arms and limbs cut off, killed, maimed and killed by rebels.
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