By: Alex A. Bah, Public Relations Assistant, ACC
Whilst the WILL to win the war against corruption is important, the ability to fully prepare to win is way more important. In light of this, the news of Sierra Leone’s Anti-Corruption Chief bagging a very generous, well deserving and stellar One Hundred Thousand United States Dollars $100,000 Scholarship/bursary Package did not come as a surprise to many, as he has on Wednesday, 16th August, 2023 commenced his Course leading to a Masters in Law at Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts, United States.
For a young trailblazer like him that has succeeded in achieving the unimaginable not only as a Commissioner that changed the fortunes of Sierra Leone from a once ‘World’s Most Corrupt Country” according to the 2013 Afro-Barometer Survey of the Transparency International (TI), to one of the most impressive performers, chronicling astounding numbers in every local and international data driven indexes and assessments.
Francis Ben Kaifala Esq. is known for being with an unquenchable thirst to discomfort himself in his pursuit to achieve and inspire greatness, whilst changing the narratives. This deserving package that came from Harvard University – a home of high achievers and the oldest university of higher learning in America with one of the most prestigious law schools, makes Francis joins an enviable league of leaders cut for sheer greatness, having darkened the walls of this enviable university reserved for what Plato in his book “Republic” would describe as “Philosopher King”.
Worthy to note, the gracious approval of His Excellency the President Brigadier Rtd. Dr. Julius Maada Bio, was equally not a surprise. It only reemphasizes the President’s belief in Human Capital Development especially with one of the most exceptional Public Officers that he reposes an unending trust in the abilities and dedication, manifested from his initial appointment amidst some sceptre of doubts, to such a high and noble office at a very tender age.
Moreover, the human mind that is a fundamental resource, together with the body must always be fully discharged to stretch its utmost capacity. With all what Sierra Leone achieved under the distinguished leadership of a carefully educated Queen Mary University of London and University of Texas at Austin graduate, there’s just more that the country and continent would benefit from a person Harvard has found worthy of additionally honing his enormous abilities.
The Legum Magister (LLM) Program mirrors the Harvard Global Anti-Corruption Lab, which makes it is directly connected to his work; increasing capacity for even more robust delivery.
This course provides opportunity for students to learn the legal, social, scientific, or policy perspectives of anti-corruption, and to brainstorm, exchange ideas, engage in independent research programs and projects in a collaborative, interactive setting, with students also at liberty to select one or more topics of interest to explore during the course.
With these additional academic fortification, it will surprise the public to know that the Commissioner is set to complete his manual on Structuring and Fighting Corruption in Africa that will be set for publication during this same period.
However, no public funds is involved as this is a full blown scholrarship and the bursary is not a Salary, but goes towards paying his fees, accommodation and other expenses.
He remains the Commissioner (Head) and will be coming not more than every two 2 months during this period, to do normal work.
Nonetheless, Section 5 Subsection 3 of the Anti-Corruption Act as amended in 2019 gives the Deputy Commissioner the power to perform ALL functions of the Commissioner in his absence.
However, within the specific reserves like the signing of indictments, the Commissioner will be coming during these breaks to sign.
In 2015, the Harvard Business Review Article revealed the reasons for success of a minute percentage of Top Leaders, principally as a result of the strong systems they had built. Over the last five years, a very strong system has been built at the ACC that works seamlessly even in the absence of the Commissioner, and will also be providing the desired supervision to achieving his enormous vision, until his eventual completion and return in less than 9 months.
The United States of America Department of State Global 2021 “International Anti-corruption Champion”, holds a Bachelor of Laws (LL.B) Degree with Honours from Fourah Bay College, University of Sierra Leone and was called to the Sierra Leone Bar in 2007 having passed the Sierra Leone Law School’s Bar Examinations as the Star Pupil. He holds a LL.M in International Financial Law and Economics from Queen Mary University of London, and LL.M in Comparative Constitutional Law, Administrative Law and International Human Rights Law at the University of Texas at Austin.
He was Human Rights Scholar at the Bernard and Audre Rapoport Centre for Human Rights and Justice in the US; an Obama Africa Leader 2019 and Arch-Bishop Desmond Tutu Fellow 2022.
He was the President of the Network of Anti-Corruption institutions in West Africa (NACIWA), and is also a Board Member in the African Union Advisory Board on Corruption. He was in 2021 named as one of '100 Most Influential People of African Descent Under 40" globally by the UN Initiative, MIPAD, in the Category "Politics & Governance" in celebration of UN Decade of Excellence of people of African Descent across the globe.
©️ Public Relations Unit, ACC