CHRDI EXPRESS CONCERN OVER ACC COMMISSIONER’S THREAT
We have been made aware of the threat of arrest, allegedly made by the ACC commissioner against our Chief Executive following our recent publication on the state of corruption in the country.
However, we are operating in an environment where accountability work is incredibly challenging and often dangerous. Indeed, in August this year(2016),we received similar threats from the country’s House of Parliament.
We are seeing rising threats, and/or actual restrictions on civil society organisations in Sierra Leone, imposition of barriers on NGO operations, freedom of speech, advocacy, communications, movement and assembly. We have received reliable information that the country’s Anti-Commissioner is threatening the Arrest of our organisation’s Chief Executive, Mr Abdul M Fatoma, after the recent release of the findings of a research conducted on corruption in the country.
We sincerely hope this is not true.
We are sure the ACC Commissioner is aware of the limits of his power and to that extent his mandate extends only to the investigation and prosecution of corruption offences.
Exposing corruption has never been a corruption offence as provided for in the ACC Act 2008.
The issues raised by CHRDI are of such national public importance that the ACC commissioner should be committing himself to investigating the issues raised rather than issuing threats of action that are outside of his powers.
It is noteworthy to mention that despite the claims of recovery of billions by the ACC over the past 10 years, no audit report has identified that singular claim in the audit of the government balance sheet.
Most importantly, the ACC has not published a single audit report into its activities over the past 10 years.
The ACC is not above the law. It cannot be prosecuting others whilst ignoring or turning a blind eye to corruption within its ranks.
The ACC has called on several occasions for assistance in the fight against corruption and we want to assure the ACC and its commissioner that CHRDI will continue its vital work, in exposing corruption wherever it occurs which has attracted considerable public interest and support.
Indeed, it is our organization’s laudable success in publishing authentic and accurate research findings that has led to the authorities feeling an increasing sense of insecurity and which is now prompting such ill thought out responses.
Advocacy organisations like CHRDI are important in the production of good public policy that is based on knowledge of real people’s lives and experiences and the ACC would be failing in its duties if it fails to embrace organisations like CHRDI and to that extent we call on the ACC to publicly disclaim any threat of arrest of any officer of CHRDI as baseless and not in keeping with its mandate or values.
Note: Campaign for Human Rights and Development International (CHRDI) is a Rights based social-policy advocacy Organisation. We Draw attention to the responsibility of duty-bearers to uphold human rights, and seek to support rights-holders to claim their rights. CHRDI is in Special Consultative Status to the United Nations Economic and Social Council and accredited to many UN Agencies.