By: Amie Massaquoi, Assistant Information Officer, ACC
The Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) on the 18th October, 2022, was presented a ‘Non-Prosecution Policy’ by the United Kingdom/Sierra Leone Pro Bono Network aimed at providing a blueprint or guide to decisions taken at the ACC in regard the non-conviction-based asset recovery regime.
The event took place in the Conference Room of the Anti-Corruption Commission, at 3 Gloucester Street, Cathedral House, in Freetown. The presentation of this policy was witnessed by the Directors of the different Departments at the ACC and a cross section of the UK/Sierra Leone Pro Bono Network.
The Non-Prosecution Policy is intended to guide the conduct, powers, and duties of the Commission’s prosecutors in making decision in the discharge of their functions and also serves as factors to consider in the exercise of prosecutorial discretion. Where a prosecutor decides not to charge to court, they can use other alternatives such as restitution, cooperation agreements, and asset forfeiture, as stated in the policy. The Policy intends to strengthen and enhance the growth of the anti-corruption prosecutorial framework.
In his statement, the Commissioner of the ACC, Francis Ben Kaifala Esq., thanked the Pro Bono Network for developing this policy, “the policy takes the decision making process of non-conviction-based asset recovery to another level, as most times it has been centred around the Commissioner but now with this policy ACC prosecutors will have such decision”. He added that the Non-Prosecution Policy will be disseminated for public consumption so that they too can be aware of these guidelines which will continue to boost public trust and confidence in the ACC. He assured the Pro Bono Network and the British High Commission Sierra Leone that the document will be crystallised in the operational work of the ACC.
Speaking at the event, Gelaga King a member of the UK Sierra Leone Pro Bono Network, said it was the drive for efficiency and transparency that led to the development of the Non-Prosecution Policy, which they believe to be a very important step that will ensure a change in the way which decisions are taken at the prosecutorial level, and ultimately will led to better practicing in the fight against corruption.
Richard Honey a member of the UK Sierra Leone Pro Bono Network thanked the Commissioner and his Management Team and applauded them for their remarkable efforts in the fight against corruption in Sierra Leone. He said the policy will help to continue building public trust and confidence in the work of the ACC. He added that they hoped this policy will create the desired impact in the prosecutorial dimension of the work of the Commission.
It is expected from both institutions, that the effective use of the Non-Prosecution Policy will ensure fairness, transparency and accountability and ultimately build public trust in the Commission and the justice system as well.
The event was chaired by the Director, Public Education and External Outreach, ACC, Patrick Sandi.
© Public Relations Unit, ACC