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AGENDA 2028…

By Ibrahim Alusine Kamara ( Kamalo)
President Julius Maada Bio campaigned in 2018 and was voted enmass because of his premise to come and fight the corruption menace and make it a thing of the past, but observers now say that the manipulations at ACC have contradicted the President’s vow.
Even the former US Ambassador to Sierra Leone, Maria Brewer, didn’t mince her words the other day in 2021, shortly before her withdrawal to her country, in calling out the Ben Kelfala-led Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) to cease the fight against corruption only by witch-hunting officials of the erstwhile APC government but to now turn the fight inward his President Bio-led Paopa government.
Maria Brewer encouraged the Bio administration to do more in the corruption fight, stating that “We can only really judge the anti-corruption measures when they turn the focus inward and not just at the previous administration…you really have to consider: are you truly committed or is it just a way to punish the old guys?”
This admonition on a public forum like Radio Democracy 98.1 by no less a person than the US Ambassador spoke volumes, coming at a time members of the opposition were fiercely rebuking the ACC for being an ‘angry tiger’ for the former APC government officials while being a shield for cronies and associates of the SLPP-led Paopa Government.
It has been much to be desired that the ACC would be quick to build mountains of accolades out of naming and shaming opposition members and other non-associates of the ruling SLPP that are linked with corruption acts but could cover up corrupt government officials who are operatives and staunch members and supporters of SLPP.
This sort of alleged biasness and inclination by the ACC to promote protectionism of his ruling party cronies, acolytes, and apparatchiks at the expense of others could be self-defeating as it is detrimental to the trust placed in Ben Kaifala as one to curb corruption in the country.
Despite he has individually won a lot of awards, it is a dismay that Ben Kelfala’s stewardship is one that may have thrown a monkey wrench into the credibility of Bio’s government, observers opined.
Not only has the former US Ambassador cautioned the Bio-led government to upgrade its fight against graft, but the US Department of State in its 2021 Report on the human rights practices in Sierra Leone, also exposed the ACC for its lack of even-handedness.
The said Report noted the lack of transparency in government and the numerous reports of government corruption in Sierra Leone, but indicated, however, that while the ACC intensified investigations into many corruption matters, it repeatedly failed to indict the most senior officials involved in corrupt practices, and instead, charged lower-level officials which left the media and opposition party members to question the objectivity and independence of the ACC.
Similarly, the Afrobarometer 2020 survey stated that citizens perceived corruption to be increasing among the judiciary, parliament, and police since 2018. In the same survey, 46 percent of respondents reported paying bribes for public services (education, health care, identity documents, and police services) in 2020, essentially unchanged from the 2018 survey result of 47 percent. Little or nothing was done against the culprits of corruption in these institutions, however, even in the face of the then Bank Governor’s open confession in the Well of Parliament that he had bribed some 68 million dollars just to get people to deposit money into the banks. This and many instances cast huge shadows on the genuineness of ACC in the fight against graft.
Meanwhile, like the one million five hundred dollar allegation that hovered over David John Francis as Chief Minister then ended in smoke because Ben Kelfala, supposedly the prosecutor suddenly became the defender, so the ACC was allegedly trying to render Paran Tarawally’s malfeasance matter a “buff” case.

Paran Tarawalie & wife- Abibatu Paran Tarawalie
“Ben Kelfala has outshined the limit of his biasness in the fight against corruption. Can you imagine him saying that he was going to consult President Bio first before taking action in Paran’s matter?” an observer bemoaned in wonder, recalling how Ben Kelfala had also treated with levity the missing several thousands of bags of rice donated by the Chinese government for the school feeding programme, saying his office could not guarantee to prosecute anybody for want of tangible shreds of evidence. To date, the said rice has not been recovered.
However, the ACC acted swiftly after revelations broke out that some four million dollars meant for the refurbishment of the Sierra Leone New York Chancery Building had been embezzled or misappropriated. Even so, the ACC allegedly didn’t act within the range of the information received, especially the specific period in which the money went missing, but looked backward before the said period, all in a bid to find loopholes and rope in persons who might not have any business with governance issues during the said period.
Furthermore, the ACC was reportedly zealous in naming and shaming poor teachers by parading them at the Cotton Tree in public view. The ACC had gone ahead to also indict traffic officers, chiefdom speakers, and clerks, all on petty offences, but why they would cover up people in big offices that steal billions and hinder employment and national development is the type of fighting corruption the citizens say they would want to know.
Corruption has been the country’s development cankerworm as public officials have had a field day in looting the state for selfish glorification, leaving the bulk of the masses in abject poverty and squalor.
The ACC was therefore established by an act of Parliament to reverse the ugly trend by ensuring that handlers of people’s resources are brought to book when they commit corrupt practices or behave contrary to official best practices. Why the ACC has failed to regard itself as an autonomous institution in carrying out its fundamental responsibilities except having to consult the President is the worry now being expressed by citizens, especially when corruption is taking a gigantic posture in the country.
As any serious anti-graft agency would not exempt any corrupt person in its spree to nip corruption in the bud, citizens say Ben Kelfala must, therefore, roll up his sleeves and pull the bull by the horns by indicting all those linked with corruption, no matter whose ox is gored.
While the citizens seem to be nitpicking what they refer to as Francis Ben Kelfala’s slanted stance in carrying out his mandate, the repeated hesitation to charge government officials and SLPP bigwigs involved in corruption leaves an impression that the ACC is being used as a shield for members of the sitting Government and a sword against the opposition either to eliminate or silent them.
Before the paper went to bed last night, however, Francis Ben Kelfala Esq. could not be reached for comments, but we eavesdropped from SLPP inside sources alleging that as young and erudite as he is, Ben has a strong political ambition under the SLPP umbrella that playing pranks with it is never an option for him!
The sources suggested that Ben is one of the few presidential materials in the making at the Sierra Leone People’s Party and rampantly indicting a people whose support he will r

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