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President Koroma speaks on EBOLA FUNDS: ACC can spring into action

Sierra Leone’s President has said his government is determined to ensure transparency and accountability. In an exclusive interview with Sorie Sudan Sesay, Publisher of SIERRA Update news magazine, the President said his government had instituted a real time audit of the Ebola funds and was the first to raise the red flag and warned against the illegal use of such funds.

“In the first place we instituted a real time audit of the Ebola funds because we are very determined to ensure accountability. I was the first to raise the red flag and warned that anyone involved in diverting to personal use the resources meant to fight the epidemic would be brought to account. So in the middle of the outbreak, the Auditor General duly carried out the audit unhindered. The report was made public and the citizens had the free space to discuss it,” the President said, adding “we have to allow the system to work.”

He said the AG’s report by law had to go through Parliament and that now that they have concluded their inquiry they have clearly encouraged other relevant institutions like the Anti- Corruption Commission (ACC) to take whatever actions they consider necessary.

“I think that’s where we are now. How soon the ACC would spring into action is left with them to determine, we give every institution the independence to function.”

President Koroma’s government appears to be scoring some points in the fight against corruption which has been largely responsible for underdevelopment in Africa but according to the President, “we would continue our crusade against corruption with undiminishing intensity until corruption becomes very unattractive.”

Commenting on recent demonstrations against his government especially in the United States of America, the President said, “If you sacrificed the goat but the neighbours do not come then you know something is wrong with the ceremony. If we were not doing the right things, our friends in the international community would have abandoned us, they would have suspended their support to us like they did with our predecessors. But all around, there has been commendation and endorsement for what we are doing.

We are building institutions and their capacity to ensure transparency and accountability; we have legislated on the Right to Access to Information. We are participating in open initiatives – the Open Government Initiative (OGI), the Open Government Partnership (OGP)and the Open Aid Partnership. My Ministry of Finance holds an online database that provides details of development projects; funds committed and disbursed areas of implementation and so on.”

Full text of this exclusive interview will be published in the August edition of SIERRA Update news magazine.

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