U4 Anti-Corruption Resource Centre

This Anti-Corruption Helpdesk brief was produced in response to a query from a U4 Partner Agency. The U4 Helpdesk is operated by Transparency International in collaboration with the U4 Anti-Corruption Resource Centre based at the Chr. Michelsen Institute.

Query

Please provide an update on the extent and type of corruption in Sierra Leone, including an assessment of government action to combat corruption. It would be particularly useful to have your expert view on lessons learned and how to build on positive reforms.

Purpose

To inform thinking on how to take forward support for anti corruption reforms.

Content

1. Overview of corruption in Sierra Leone
2. Anti-corruption efforts in Sierra Leone
3. References

Summary

Almost 10 years after the end of the civil war, Sierra Leone continues to face major challenges of weak governance, widespread poverty and systemic corruption, which undermine sustainable development and long term reconstruction efforts.

Corruption continues to permeate almost every sectors of Sierra Leone’s public life, compromising citizens’ access to basic public services and institutions such as health, education and the police. Corruption in the management of Sierra Leone’s abundant natural resources, including illegal diamond mining, acts as an obstacle to sustainable economic growth.

Drug trafficking and money laundering are also on the increase, with the country being used as a transhipment point from South America to Europe. Against this backdrop, corruption in the judiciary and law enforcement are of particular concern, as they compromise the state’s capacity to contain these emerging threats.

Anti-corruption institutions lack resources, staff and expertise to effectively prevent and combat corruption and the political will to fight corruption has been questioned on many occasions. After the 2007 peaceful change of government, there are some positive indications of a stronger political will to address corruption and governance challenges in the country. Recent reforms of the Anti-Corruption Commission have extended its powers and contributed to significantly improve its capacity to investigate and prosecute corruption cases. Emerging civil society activism, an outspoken media and the support of the international community to the government’s anti-corruption efforts are promising factors accompanying this positive trend.

Authors

Marie Chêne, Transparency International, mchene@transparency.org

Date

22/09/2010

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