Sierra Leone-Accountability-Corruption

Sierra Leone: Uproar as anti-graft agency publicly shamed suspects

APA-Freetown (Sierra Leone)

Sierra Leone's Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) took the fight against graft to a new level on Monday when it paraded suspects facing charges of involvement in exams malpractice. The agency said the move is part of a new strategy of naming and shaping corrupt officials as a deterrent against graft.

The suspects, who are teachers, allegedly took money from candidates sitting to the private West African Senior Secondary Certificate Examinations. They were busted over the weekend in an operation the ACC said was prompted by a tipoff.

They were rounded up after a raid by the 'Scorpion Squad' of the Commission on the Fatibu Technical Secondary School located at Peacock Farm, Wellington, in the East end of Freetown. The ACC said they caught the students taken a General Mathematics exam in a private room and answers fed to students.

"The ACC received Intelligence that the Principal of the School and teachers were collecting Le1milliin ($100) from willing pupils to facilitate them to be spoon fed answers while exam was ongoing," the
Commission said in a statement released via social media.

"The ACC Scorpion Squad struck with precision, arresting all the pupils and the teachers responsible, including the Principal of the School. One female pupil collapsed, and has been taken to the
hospital. Others who broke the ceiling of the staff room so as to escape, were similarly rounded up and detained but some escaped," it added.

On Monday, the teachers, in handcuff and with placards hanged on them bearing words suggesting their admittance to guilt, were made to stand at a popular intersection in the center of Freetown.
The ACC justified the move with a provision in the Anti-Corruption Act that says it can take whatever action necessary to fight graft.

But Many Sierra Leoneans who condemned the action of the ACC cited the principle of innocent until proven guilty. The Sierra Leone Teachers Union also condemned the act by the Commission, saying while it supports the fight against graft; it couldn’t accept molesting its members.


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