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Frequently Asked Questions

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1. What is the Anti-Corruption Commission of Sierra Leone?
2. When and how was it established?
3. When did the Commission begin operation?
4. What is the Mission of the Commission?
5. What are the main functions of the Commission?
6. What are the working hours of the Commission?
7. How long will the Commission operate for?
8. Who funds the Commission?
9. What does the Anti-Corruption Commission logo stand for?
10. What is the meaning of corruption in Sierra Leone?
11. What is an advantage?
12. Can you consider as an act of corruption or sign of appreciation if a public officer received a gift from an individual after a successful performance of duties?
13. What is the mandate of the Commission?
14. What are the main strategies put in place by the Commission to carry out its mandate in the near future?
15. Is the mandate of the Commission to fight corruption limited to government and public authorities only or binds the private sector as well?
16. Does the operation of the Commission cover the whole of Sierra Leone?
17. Do Anti-Corruption laws bind Sierra Leoneans working in our embassies and consulates?
18. Do the Anti-Corruption laws bind non-Sierra Leoneans working for NGOs?
19. Who is a Public Officer?
20. Does the Anti-Corruption Commission have the mandate to investigate the President?
21. Are there persons immuned from the investigations of the Commission?
22. Does the Commission cooperate with other agencies in carrying out its mandate?
23. Are the police, military and prison officers excluded from the Anti-Corruption Commission’s mandate?
24. Is Prevention a good strategy to fight corruption?
25. Can the Commission prosecute cases of corruption?
26. Can the Commission arrest and detain corrupt officials on its own?
27. What can the Commission do to get back stolen public money kept away in international banks by convicted corrupt officials?
28. Is there any provision for protection of persons who report cases of corruption to the Commission?
29. Are there penalties for persons who make false reports or mislead the Commission?
30. What will the Commission do if a person or institution refuses to cooperate with its investigations?
31. Is there a special Anti-Corruption Court?
32. Is education important in the fight against corruption?
33. How can someone report corrupt practices to the Commission?
34. Can the people trust the Commission to treat their information confidentially?
35. To whom is the Commission mandated to report to on its operations?
36. Is there any reward (financial or otherwise) given to people who expose corruption?
37. Who appoints the Commissioner and Deputy Commissioner of the Commission?
38. How are staffs recruited in the Commission?
39. Is the Commission an independent body?
40. What benefits has the Anti Corruption Commission ever brought to this nation?
41. Who are the members of the Advisory Committee?
42. How were they appointed?
43. What is their role?
44. How can an individual help fight corruption?
45. Some people consider the Anti-Corruption crusade as a witch-hunt against people who fall out of favor with the government. Is this true?
46. Has there ever been an instance where an Anti Corruption Commission Official suffered threat, molestation, physical assault or any other form of restraints in the conduct of his/her official duties?
47. Has Sierra Leone ratified any international convention relating to corruption?
48. Is a Public Officer under a duty to declare his/her asset?


Q1. What is the Anti-Corruption Commission of Sierra Leone?

It is a body established by an Act of Parliament to lead the fight against corruption in Sierra Leone. It was set up by the Anti-Corruption Act 2008 as the government’s response to dealing with corrupt public officials. It is an autonomous body with powers to prevent, investigate and prosecute corrupt practices by public officials. ...Back To Top

Q2. When and how was it established?

It was established in March, 2000. ...Back To Top

Q3. When did the Commission begin operation?

The Commission began operations in August 2000. ...Back To Top

Q4. What is the Mission of the Commission?

The mission of the Anti-Corruption Commission is leading the fight against corruption through public education, prevention, enforcement and compliance for the benefit of all citizens. ...Back To Top

Q5. What are the main functions of the Commission?

The Commission was established to investigate and prosecute instances of corruption referred to it by complaint or otherwise and to take such steps as may be necessary for the eradication or suppression of corrupt practices; to prevent corruption and to educate, and to enlist and foster public support in the fight against corruption. ...Back To Top

Q6. What are the working hours of the Commission?

The normal working week is from 8.00am to 5.00pm, Monday to Thursday, and from 8.00am to 4.00pm on Friday. Staff members are required to work for extra hours during the week and on weekends if the exigencies of the job so demands. ...Back To Top

Q7. How long will the Commission operate for?

The Commission will operate for as long as it takes to fight corruption such that it is no longer a threat to the stability and socio-economic development of the nation. ...Back To Top

Q8. Who funds the Commission?

The Government of Sierra Leone funds the Commission. Over the years, the Commission has received funding also from GTZ, DFID, IRISH AID. ...Back To Top

Q9. What does the Anti-Corruption Commission logo stand for?

The Anti-Corruption Commission’s logo has three main features: the National Flag, the Martial Eagle and the Motto. The national flag is included in the logo to buttress the fact that the fight against corruption is a national one. It also signifies the fact that if corruption is conquered the benefits will be realized by all Sierra Leoneans. The green colour in the flag represents agriculture, natural resources and our mountains; the white represents unity, peace and justice and the blue represents our unique natural harbour. The martial eagle, whose head is placed in the center of the logo, is the largest and most powerful eagle of the open savannah. It is often seen perched erect on a tree top waiting for its prey. The Commission’s emphasis in using this species of eagle on its logo is not exactly on her predatory trait; rather, it is on her omniscient nature. On this logo the martial eagle symbolizes an ever-present eye, watching every Sierra Leonean particularly functionaries in both the public and private sectors, as they carry out their varied functions. ...Back To Top

Q10. What is the meaning of corruption in Sierra Leone?

Corruption is commonly defined as “the abuse of public office for private gain”. It has also been defined as the abuse of entrusted power for personal gain or for the benefit of a group to which one owes allegiance. In our local parlance it is sometimes referred to as “yuki yuki” (shady deeds). The Anti Corruption Act does not define the terms “corruption” or “corrupt practices”. However, the Act refers to a number of practices as corrupt practices. These are as follows: • CORRUPT ACQUISITION OF WEALTH: A public officer is guilty of corrupt acquisition of wealth if after investigation by the Commission, that he is found in control or possession of any resources or property or in receipt of the benefit of any advantage which may reasonably be suspected of having acquired or received corruptly or in circumstances which amount to an offence under this Act. • SOLICITING OR ACCEPTING ADVANTAGE: Any public officer who solicits or accepts any advantage as an inducement or reward on account of performing or abstained from performing any act in his capacity as a public officer; is guilty of an offence. • USING INFLUENCE FOR CONTRACTS: Any person who, whether in Sierra Leone or elsewhere, offers an advantage to a public officer as an inducement or reward for giving assistance or uses influence on any public officer for a contract commits an offence. • CORRUPTING PUBLIC OFFICER: Any person who, while having dealings of any kind with any public body, gives any advantage to a public officer or any other person to influence any public officer is guilty of an offence. • SOLICITING OR ACCEPTING ADVANTAGE FOR PUBLIC OFFICERS: Any person who solicits or accepts any advantage for or on behalf of any public officer is guilty of an offence. • MISAPPROPRIATION OF PUBLIC FUNDS OR PROPERTY: Any person who misappropriates public revenue, public funds or property is guilty of an offence. • IMPEDING FOREIGN INVESTMENT: Any public officer who knowingly performs or abstains from performing any act in his capacity as a public officer in order that a non-citizen investor or potential investor is coerced, compelled or induced to abandon his investment or, as the case may be, is prevented from proceeding with his initial investment, to the advantage of any other person is guilty of the offence of corruption in respect of foreign investment. • CORRUPT TRANSACTIONS WITH AGENTS: Any agent who, without lawful authority or reasonable excuse, solicits or accepts any advantage as an inducement to or reward for or otherwise on account of his performing or abstaining from performing or having performed or abstained from performing any act in relation to his principal affairs or business is guilty of an offence. ...Back To Top

Q11. What is an advantage?

The Act prevents public officers from soliciting or accepting an advantage. It also prohibits the offering of an “advantage” to public officers as an inducement or reward in order to influence a contract. In the Anti-Corruption Act “advantage” includes . Any gift, loan, fee, reward or commission consisting of money or any valuable security or other property or interest in property. . Any office, employment or contract . Any payment, discharge or liquidation of any loan; and . Any other benefit or favour (except entertainment). ...Back To Top

Q12. Can you consider as an act of corruption or sign of appreciation if a public officer received a gift from an individual after a successful performance of duties?

The Act does not define a gift. However, if for example, the gift was given as an inducement to or reward for or otherwise on account of the public official performing or abstaining from performing any act in his capacity as a public officer then it will be considered as a corrupt practice. ...Back To Top

Q13. What is the mandate of the Commission?

The Anti-Corruption Commission mandated include: • To take all steps as may be necessary for the prevention, eradication or suppression of corruption and corrupt practices; • To investigate instances of alleged or suspected corruption referred to it by any person or authority or which has come to its attention whether by complaint or otherwise; • To investigate any matter that, in the opinion of the Commission, raises suspicion that any of the following has occurred or is about to occur : • Conduct constituting corruption or an economic or related offence; • Conduct liable to allow, encourage or cause conduct constituting corruption or an economic or related offence; and • To prosecute all offences committed under the Anti-Corruption Act 2001 ...Back To Top

Q14. What are the main strategies put in place by the Commission to carry out its mandate in the near future?

The Commission uses a three-pronged approach of public education, corruption prevention and confrontation to fight corruption. ...Back To Top

Q15. Is the mandate of the Commission to fight corruption limited to government and public authorities only or binds the private sector as well?

The Act puts a lot if emphasis on public officers, but that does not limit the Commission to public officers only. Some of the offences created in the Act can apply to persons who are in the private sector. If a person from the private sector while having dealings of any kind with any public body, gives any advantage to a public officer or any other person to influence any public officer that person is guilty of an offence under the Act. The Commission has also engaged the private sector in its prevention and public education work. The Commission is committed to promote effective standards of integrity, transparency and accountability in the public and private sector. ...Back To Top

Q16. Does the operation of the Commission cover the whole of Sierra Leone?

The Act gives the Commission the mandate to cover the entire country. However, due to financial reasons the Commission has only three offices outside the capital, Freetown. These offices are in Bo, Makeni, and Kenema in the south, north east of Sierra Leone. ...Back To Top

Q17. Do Anti-Corruption laws bind Sierra Leoneans working in our embassies and consulates?

Yes. The Anti Corruption Act 2008 states that any person who whether in Sierra Leone or elsewhere offers an advantage to a public officer as an inducement is guilty of an offence. The Act also states that any public officer who, whether in Sierra Leone or elsewhere solicits or accepts any advantage as an inducement to or a reward is guilty of an offence. Sierra Leoneans in embassies and consular abroad fall within this category. ...Back To Top

Q18. Do the Anti-Corruption laws bind non-Sierra Leoneans working for NGOs?

Yes it does. The Anti-Corruption Act 2008 defines a public body as including any organisation, whether local or foreign, established to render any voluntary social service to the public or any section there of or for other charitable purposes, which receives funds or other donation for the benefit of the people of Sierra Leone. ...Back To Top

Q19. Who is a Public Officer?

According to the Anti-Corruption Act 2008, a public officer is a holder of a public office. "public office" is an office in the service of the Government of Sierra Leone, and includes service in, the offices of President, Vice-President, Minister, Deputy Minister, Attorney-General and Minister of Justice, member of Parliament, Magistrate, Judge of the Superior Court of Judicature, and offices in the Armed Forces, the Police Force, a public corporation or on the board thereof; a local authority, any commission or committee established by or under the Constitution or by or under any law or by the Government. ...Back To Top

Q20. Does the Anti-Corruption Commission have the mandate to investigate the President?

Yes. In Part I of the Anti Corruption Act “public officer” is defined as a holder of a public office. Public offices are defined as including the offices of the president, vice-president, minister, deputy minister, etc. The holders of all of these offices may be investigated by the Commission. ...Back To Top

Q21. Are there persons immuned from the investigations of the Commission?

The Act does not exclude any Sierra Leonean from investigation. However the Constitution of Sierra Leone, which is the supreme law, gives the President immunity from prosecution whilst he is in office. Sub section of Section 48 of the Constitution provides that while “any person holds or performs the functions of the office of President, no civil or criminal proceedings shall be instituted or continued against him in respect of anything done or omitted to be done by him either in his official or private capacity.” ...Back To Top

Q22. Does the Commission cooperate with other agencies in carrying out its mandate?

Yes. The Anti-Corruption Commission collaborates with other public and private bodies and with civil society. Some of the institutions the Commission works with include the Ministry of Finance, the Accountant-General’s Department, the Audit Department, National Public Procurement Authority, Office of National Security, the Sierra Leone Police, Parliament and its oversight committees and the National Accountability Group (NAG). The Commission also collaborates with a number of international organisations like Interpol. ...Back To Top

Q23. Are the police, military and prison officers excluded from the Anti-Corruption Commission’s mandate?

No, they are not. They are public officials so they fall within the mandate of the Commission. ...Back To Top

Q24. Is Prevention a good strategy to fight corruption?

Prevention has been recognized globally as one of the three fronts in which the battle against corruption is been fought. Corruption flourishes in weak systems. By undertaking preventive actions such as examination and reviewing of system and procedures, monitoring projects, work practices and public officials, holding corruption related workshops, promoting best practice guides, good corporate governance, ethics and codes of conduct, the incidents of corruption can be eliminated or drastically minimize thus resulting in improved transparency, accountability, effective service delivery, economic and social stability. ...Back To Top

Q25. Can the Commission prosecute cases of corruption?

Yes. The Commission can institute prosecution of a corrupt officer on receipt of substantial evidence of a corrupt practice. The Anti-Corruption Act, 2008 states Being an Act to provide for the continuance of an independent Anti-Corruption Commission for the prevention, investigation, prosecution and punishment of corruption and corrupt practices and to provide for other related matters. ...Back To Top

Q26. Can the Commission arrest and detain corrupt officials on its own?

Yes. An investigating officer is authorized on behalf of the Commissioner may, without warrant, arrest any person upon reasonable suspicion of his having committed or of being about to commit an offence under this Act. ...Back To Top

Q27. What can the Commission do to get back stolen public money kept away in international banks by convicted corrupt officials?

Sierra Leone is a member of the United Nation and a signatory to the United Nations Convention against Corruption (UNCAC). A fundamental principle of the Convention is asset recovery. Several provisions of the Convention specify how cooperation and assistance are to be rendered in the case of embezzlement of public funds or confiscated property and subsequent return to its State of origin by providing proof of ownership or recognition of the damage caused to a requesting State. Effective provisions on asset recovery contained in the Convention are to support the efforts of States to redress the worst effects of corruption while, at the same time, sending a message to corrupt officials that there is no place to hide their illicit assets. ...Back To Top

Q28. Is there any provision for protection of persons who report cases of corruption to the Commission?

The Commission provides protection for anybody who informs the Commission of corrupt practices. The information and the identity of the informer will be kept secret between the Commission and the informer. ...Back To Top

Q29. Are there penalties for persons who make false reports or mislead the Commission?

Yes. The Act provides that any person who wilfully— a. makes or causes to be made to the Commission a false complaint or report that an offence has been committed under this Act; or b. misleads the Commission by giving false information or making any false statement or accusation; commits an offence and shall be liable on conviction, to a fine not exceeding one million Leones or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding one year or to both such fine and imprisonment. ...Back To Top

Q30. What will the Commission do if a person or institution refuses to cooperate with its investigations?

The Commission has powers to enforce the attendance of witnesses and examine them and to compel the disclosure of any information or the production of any accounts, books, documents or articles. Failure by a person or institution to cooperate with the Commission is an offence under the Act. ...Back To Top

Q31. Is there a special Anti-Corruption Court?

No. However, corruption cases are usually referred to specially assigned judges of the High Court. ...Back To Top

Q32. Is education important in the fight against corruption?

Yes. Education is very important in the fight against corruption; because public education of corruption would help the citizens to know about the evils of corruption and the benefits of a corrupt free country; which will strengthen the confidence of citizens to support the Commission in the fight against corruption. ...Back To Top

Q33. How can someone report corrupt practices to the Commission?

You can report corrupt practices to the Commission: • In person at Cathedral House, 3 Gloucester Street, Freetown. • By letter addressed to the Commission • Telephone on 223645 • Email – report@anticorruptionsl.org • Internet on our website www.anticorruption.gov.sl ...Back To Top

Q34. Can the people trust the Commission to treat their information confidentially?

Yes people can trust the staff of the Commission to make reports to them. All reports are treated as confidential. The Act provides that the Commission shall provide every protection for the sources of its information. The Commission’s Code of Conduct and Conditions of Services are full up with provisions regulating the treatment of confidential information. One of the core values of the Commission is that “(A)ll officers of the ACC will at all times perform their duties with the highest degree of integrity, objectivity, professionalism, honesty, competence, commitment, due diligence and without compromising on confidentiality.” The code of conduct further provides that “(B) ecause the Commission’s work involves access to sensitive and confidential information that may come into their possession during an enquiry, investigation or consultation, Officers are required to use such information only in the performance of official duties. Any breach of confidence may result in disciplinary action being taken against the Officer concerned.” The code further provides that “Officers may not use information gained in the course of official duties to gain improper personal advantage or for any other person. Such use of information for improper advantage includes providing information from official records to any person outside the Commission for reasons not directly related to the work of the Commission.” ...Back To Top

Q35. To whom is the Commission mandated to report to on its operations?

Sub Section (2) of Section 4 of the Act provides that the Commission shall be accountable to the people of Sierra Leone. ...Back To Top

Q36. Is there any reward (financial or otherwise) given to people who expose corruption?

Yes. There is 10% reward for any corrupt case that is reported. ...Back To Top

Q37. Who appoints the Commissioner and Deputy Commissioner of the Commission?

The Commissioner and Deputy Commissioner are appointed by the President of the Republic of Sierra Leone with the approval of Parliament. ...Back To Top

Q38. How are staffs recruited in the Commission?

Apart from the Commissioner and Deputy Commissioner all other staff members of the Commission are recruited by the Commission. The recruitment process is fair and open and appointment decisions will be based solely on merit. Management and executive vacancies will be advertised internally and externally to attract the best possible candidates for the position and encourage open competition. All applicants are subjected to a probity check before, during and at the end of their employment with the Commission. ...Back To Top

Q39. Is the Commission an independent body?

Yes the Commission is an independent institution. Section 9 of the 2008 Act provides that the Commission shall act independently, impartially, fairly and in the public interest. ...Back To Top

Q40. What benefits has the Anti Corruption Commission ever brought to this nation?

The Commission can point to a number of achievements. • Through its extensive prevention and education work it has been able to stimulate awareness amongst the citizenry of the country about the ills of corruption. • Monies misappropriated have been recovered and paid into the consolidated fund. • There have been successful prosecution of corrupt individuals. • The Commission has reviewed systems and practices in a number of government ministries, department, and agencies. The ACC has introduced Best Practice Guides for government Ministries/Departments thus reducing the tendency for corruption. • By monitoring performances of public officers it has contributed to improve service delivery to the people at all levels and equity in resource distribution. • It has set up 27 Integrity Clubs in Secondary schools throughout the nation. • It has also set up Accountability Now Clubs (ANC) in almost all the colleges • It has carried out radio and television programmes in sensitizing the nation on corruption. • The production of a National Anti-Corruption Strategy (NACS) for the Government of Sierra Leone. • The Commission very recently is engaged in mass advocacy and sensitization in schools and communities within and outside Freetown. etc ...Back To Top

Q41. Who are the members of the Advisory Committee?

Sheikh AbuBakarr Conteh PC Haja Fatmata B. Koroma Meame Kajue Mrs. Marie Bangura Mr. Theo Nicole Haja Hawa Turay Alhaji Abassie Thomas ...Back To Top

Q42. How were they appointed?

They were appointed by the President subject to the approval of Parliament. ...Back To Top

Q43. What is their role?

They advise the Commission in areas of appointments and discipline, including termination, of staff. ...Back To Top

Q44. How can an individual help fight corruption?

Broad based participation is crucial to the fight against corruption. It is the responsibility of the public to preach, practice, and uphold honesty and integrity and report incidents of corruption for the good of the nation. ...Back To Top

Q45. Some people consider the Anti-Corruption crusade as a witch-hunt against people who fall out of favor with the government. Is this true?

This opinion is wrong. The Commission only considers investigation and /or prosecution of public officers if and only if it has evidence that an offence under the Act has been or is about to be committed. The Commission does not engage in witch-hunt activities and is not influenced by political views in the conduct of its work. ...Back To Top

Q46. Has there ever been an instance where an Anti Corruption Commission Official suffered threat, molestation, physical assault or any other form of restraints in the conduct of his/her official duties?

Yes. There have been a couple of instances of threats, molestation, and assault to some members of the Commission, and the Act states that Impede the work of a staff of the Commission is an offence ...Back To Top

Q47. Has Sierra Leone ratified any international convention relating to corruption?

Yes. Sierra Leone signed the United Nations Convention against Corruption Resolution 58/4 of 31st October 2003, on the 9th of December 2003 and ratified it on 30th September 2004. Sierra Leone also signed the African Union Convention on Preventing and Combating Corruption on 9th December 2003 but has yet to ratify the same. ...Back To Top

Q48. Is a Public Officer under a duty to declare his/her asset?

The new Act makes provision for the declaration of assets of all public officials. Asset declaration is an essential preventive tool in deterring the illegal acquisition of wealth by public officials and as such holders of public offices are now been required to declare their assets. ...Back To Top
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