On the commemoration of International Anti-Corruption Day, Dr. Richard Konteh defines corruption as the abuse or misuse of entrusted power for private or personal gain. Dr. Konteh stated that corruption in Sierra Leone is a symptom of a larger disease, which is often noticed by the failure of democratic institutions and governance, resulting in poor management of revenues and resources and an absence of delivery of public goods and services.
Corruption undermines the credibility of the public sector, erodes trust in the government and its ability to steer the nation to achieve high economic growth and shared prosperity. It often weakens the impact of public service delivery, adversely affecting all citizens especially the poor.
Corruption thrives in times of crisis and the ongoing global COVID-19 pandemic is no exception. It creates significant opportunities for corruption.
The fight against corruption in Sierra Leone needs a serious rethinking. We must think beyond anti-corruption rhetoric, commission of inquiry buzz-words and traditional tactics. We need to be more strategic and rigorous, identifying and addressing corruption’s underlying causes and examining the weaknesses in key institutions and government policies and practices. We have to focus our efforts on the broader context of governance and accountability. We must promote transparency, accountability and integrity at all levels and across all sectors of society. Only then can we see the many other shapes and forms corruption can take and address this epidemic.
Fighting corruption requires a new understanding of how the global problem has evolved, for it is bigger and broader than petty bribery or crooked deals. Merely adopting a new anti-corruption law, creating another commission, or launching another ‘campaign’ will not get the job done. We can no longer fight corruption by simply fighting corruption alone.
The future of Sierra Leone no longer rests mainly on foreign aid but on the extent and effective use of the country’s resources. For that to occur, a focused and concrete approach to improve governance and accountability is critical. Reshaping the fight against corruption into a smarter strategy that integrates the challenge of improving governance and institutions in both the public and private sphere is the way forward.
This International Anti-Corruption Day, join Dr. Richard Konteh (D-Unifier) in building a better society toward economic growth and shared prosperity in Sierra Leone.
We need to stand #UnitedAgainstCorruption.