On June 28th 2011, Justice Ekundayoh Robert of the Highcourt of Sierra Leone acquitted Alieu Sesay and 3 others of the 57 charges brought against them by the Anti Corruption. Mr Sesay was accused of misappropriating DFID funds in the amount of 620,000 pounds for the reburbishing of NRA offices in Cline Town etc. and awarding contracts to a company owned by his wife . While the verdict has not yet been made open to the public, the ACC commissioner Joseph Kamara revealed in a press conference that the ACC fully intends to appeal the court’s decision. He explained that the NRA benefits significantly from both international donor funds as well as tax payers money and it was therefore imperative that the ACC pursue an appeal.
Elsewhere in Global Times Newspaper a commentary sans author accuses the ACC commissioner of having “deliberately watered down the case to give an easy exit route to Alieu Sesay, his wife and two others”. The article also makes mention of the out of court settlement of the NASSIT Ferry Scandal and corruption case lost in Makeni against the Bursar of the SLMB as grounds for the commisioner to “vacate the ACC head office and give way to sober-minded people to run that institution”.
While calling for the ACC commissioner to resign seems a bit dramatic, the loss of this case seems to trivialize the commissions work. Many Sierra Leoneans believed the evidence against former NRA head Alieu Sesay was enough for a guilty conviction. We expect that those who violate their oaths of office and the public trust should be punished, otherwise why spend millions in investigation and supporting the work of the ACC if they are going to fail at recovering our money.The loss of this case is a major blow to the public’s confidence in not only the commissioner but in the commission as a whole. Its time the ACC go back to the drawing board and figure out what went wrong with the prosecutions case. There are those who speculate that perhaps that government interfered with the ruling but all of that is just the usual boku tok unconfirmed rumors and gossip.
Do you still have confidence in the Anti Corruption Commission?