By Fasalie Sulaiman Kamara
The Deputy Vice President of West Africa in the Department of Compact Operations at the Millennium Challenge Corporation says Sierra Leone needs to do more in the fight against corruption for it to benefit from the MCC fund. Jonathan Bloom was speaking at a news conference at the Africell American Corner in Freetown.
He said “governments are assessed on best practice of democratic governance, investing on people, free economic system and most importantly on corruption”, adding that Sierra Leone passed four out of the six main indicators which he said was just average, and that it failed in the area of corruption which he said was the most important indicator in MCC's assessment. That, Bloom went on, was why the Board had decided not to vote Sierra Leone for re-selection.
“I have been instructed to continue engaging the government of Sierra Leone on Compact development for the country to improve on the indicators”, he said, noting that even though the country did not pass it was making effort in the fight against graft. He acknowledged the setting-up of the Anti Corruption Commission and the recent passing of the Freedom of Information Law. He said that Sierra Leone was assessed on 15 out of the 20 indicators on corruption with the available data. He stressed that the indicators they used were not US government data but rather documents produced by third party organisations.
State House Chief of Staff, Dr. Richard Konteh said “the reason why Sierra Leone failed was because of bad reporting on the country”. He noted the Transparency International's report on corruption perception which ranked the country as the worst place for bribery was the main cause of the country not re-selected. “Corruption is not just a fight for government alone, it is a fight for every Sierra Leonean” Konteh said, adding that the government felt disappointed that the country did not qualify for MCC funding. He said they remained committed to the fight against corruption.
United States Charge d’Affaires to Sierra Leone, Kathleen FitzGibbon said “ US Embassy will continue to work with the MCC office in helping the country to meet the MCC benchmarks".
(C) Politico 19/12/13