Freetown, 14th January 2024 – The National Grand Coalition (NGC) has expressed shock and deep concern over what they perceive as a lack of action by Dr. Abass Bundu, the Speaker of Parliament, regarding serious allegations of corruption and malpractice within the Sierra Leone Parliament.
The NGC specifically accuses the Speaker of aiding and abetting corruption by failing to take decisive disciplinary action against Paran Tarawally, the Clerk of Parliament, who faces corruption charges from the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC).
“The NGC finds it appalling that, despite serious allegations against the Clerk of Parliament, no concrete steps have been taken by the Parliament’s leadership to address the issue. This lack of action raises serious questions about the commitment of Parliament to uphold integrity, accountability, and transparency as a legislative organ of government,” said Alhaji K Tarawally, Ag. Deputy Secretary General of the NGC.
This concerning development is not an isolated incident. In October 2020, the same Parliament, under the leadership of the current Speaker, immediately suspended two parliamentary whistleblowers, Hon. Hindolo Moiwo Gevao and Hon. Ibrahim Tawa Conteh, following their interviews with the BBC and Radio Democracy. Both raised concerns about corruption within Parliament, but instead of addressing these concerns, the leadership referred to the allegations as unverified and sought to silence those speaking out against corruption.
The NGC believes these actions and inactions indicate a systemic problem within the Sierra Leone Parliament, where individuals raising legitimate concerns about corruption and malpractice face punitive measures while those accused of wrongdoing seem shielded from accountability.
The NGC calls on Dr. Abass Bundu to demonstrate decisive leadership and uphold the highest standards of integrity and accountability. They insist on immediate, transparent, and impartial investigations into the allegations against the Clerk of Parliament, with appropriate disciplinary actions if warranted.
In addition, the NGC urges the Anti-Corruption Commission of Sierra Leone to reconsider its approach by treating acts of corruption as criminal offenses rather than civil offenses.
Alhaji K Tarawally emphasized, “Effective anti-corruption enforcement requires certain acts of corruption, in both private and public sectors, to be classified as criminal offenses, ensuring individuals convicted of corruption must serve a prison sentence commensurate with the severity of their crimes.”
In conclusion, the NGC urges Parliament to create an environment encouraging whistleblowers to come forward without fear of reprisal. A transparent and accountable Parliament is vital for advancing democracy and good governance in Sierra Leone.