By: Alex A. Bah, Communications Officer, ACC
In his quest to increase staff capacity and improve their professional development, the Commissioner of the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC), Francis Ben Kaifala Esq., on Friday 10th February 2023, gave an insightful lecture to staff of the Commission at the annual two-day staff retreat and training program organized by the Intelligence and Investigations Department, ACC at the Companero Hotel, Newton, Western Area Rural.
Elucidating on the topic; The Nexus between Money Laundering and Corruption, the ACC Commissioner described Money Laundry as an act that was done by drug traffickers, and other people involved in some unlawful activities, before politicians and public officials saw this as a perfect avenue to accumulate ill-gotten wealth.
“Where we are now is what we refer to as a Shadow system”, the Commissioner disclosed in his lecture, admonishing the officers to dig deep into their investigations, as public officials are now more creative in being corrupt, and their normal mode of investigations would not be sufficient to prove. He furthered that corrupt individuals spend a lot of time planning and stated that the team must re-strategize in its approach.
The Commissioner noted that in every money laundry activity, the first stage that comes to play is ‘ Placement’, which poses the question to the launderer on where to put it; whether to buy a house, invest in business etc. The second he said is the "Layering’, which he said is the most complex, where the launderer finds shrewd ways to direct the monies into buying, selling and even reselling properties, shares etc. in ways that it can pose difficulties to trace. He noted that ‘Integration’ is the third stage that involves the launderer making attempts to integrate their monies by somehow making donations for example to religious places, or even use these religious institutions or heads to pay or transfer these monies through their Bank Accounts.
Commissioner Kaifala also stated that corporate entities, local banks, companies, etc. are institutions that often aid and abet these money launderers. “Those who launder money are sometimes capable of incorporating thirty five (35) companies”, he averred, noting that, money launderers cunningly keep transferring their monies to multiple companies with different ownerships, and it can be traced by doing a whole mapping to unravel those who actually own different companies in order to establish the beneficiary ownership who are usually the launderers that are in shadow.
Further in his submission, the Commissioner commended the dedication of the staff, noting that their input has immensely contributed to the remarkable achievements of the Commission under his leadership.
He also said that their shrewd intelligence and investigative techniques and the fearsome Elite Scorpion Squad has raised so much awareness and heightened the consciousness of people to understand that the fight against corruption is not business as usual, but that, there are adverse consequences when someone involves in corruption and corrupt practices. He added that people are now afraid of been referred to as been corrupt and public officials no longer brazenly boast or say, as in our local parlance; “usai den tie cow na dae e dae eat”.
In his conclusion, Commissioner Kaifala underscored that, the belief and confidence the public has in the ACC is enormous, referencing the 2019 published National Corruption Perception Survey which indicated that 92% of the general citizenry has confidence in the capacity of the ACC to fight corruption.
He said projects that are materializing now are accomplished because people know the implications of embezzlement. He also mentioned that, a single phone call threat from members of the public to the ACC sends shivers down the spine of public officers who would have wanted to involve in the misappropriation of public resources.
The ACC Czar furthered that the Commission is poised to doing its work fairly, and fearlessly; apply absolute precision to ensure that actions mirroring any person(s) or institution(s) in its Press Releases are absolutely correct and accurate. Mr. Kaifala encouraged his team to work harder and continue to measure up to the many expectations of the citizenry.
The two-day intensive training was also marked with presentations on many pertinent topics made by the leadership of the Department and other Senior Officers of the Commission.
©️ Public Relations Unit, ACC