11 December 2016
At the 17th International Anti-Corruption Conference in Panama, Gillian Dell of Transparency International conducted the interview below with Commissioner Ady Macauley.
What was Sierra Leone’s experience of the UNCAC first review cycle?
The UNCAC first cycle review process forced us to compile statistics. If you’re making submissions to an international forum you have to have an empirical basis. We have a problem with case law reporting in Sierra Leone. The legacy project for the Special Court for Sierra Leone helped us in putting together a database – SLIS – and they are also doing in-house law reporting. But we are challenged in terms of resources. We are forced to do a balancing act, choosing between compiling case law and putting effort into actual investigations and prosecutions.
How is Sierra Leone following up on the recommendations of the first review cycle?
The UNCAC review made a number of recommendations to Sierra Leone, such as on criminalisation of corruption in the private sector and of foreign public officials, as well as calling for more coordination and better extradition procedures. We have put together a plan of action for implementing the recommendations. It is imperative that we prioritise legislation. We are currently trying to put together an act covering whistleblower protection and proceeds of crime, and we are seeking to collaborate with other departments with regards to the introduction of legislation.
We have a process coordinated by the Office of the President to check our own progress against salient international benchmarks. We check what are the compliance requirements and what has been done.
Sierra Leone is in the first year of the second review cycle, currently underway. Where do things stand with the review of Sierra Leone?
We have completed the self-assessment – we’re one of nine out of the 29 countries under review in the first year to have completed the self-assessment. In preparing the self-assessment we consulted with about 10 different groups from civil society, the private sector (the chamber of commerce) and representatives of the press and they made useful inputs.
What’s your assessment of the UNCAC review process and now the second cycle?
It’s useful – sometimes you don’t realise that things are missing from your framework until someone asks you specific questions. However, the review questionnaire has too many repetitive questions that have the same answers.
Does Sierra Leone support the UNCAC Review Transparency Pledge proposed by the UNCAC Coalition?
We do largely support the principles of the Pledge. We are willing to post a timetable. The name of the focal point is on the UNODC website, in the IRG Country Profiles pages in the list of experts. We’d also be happy to announce the completion of the report, when it is ready, and where it can be found, including the location on the UNODC website. Also, we will publish the full country report and are happy to hold a briefing with civil society about the report and its recommendations.
How about the sixth principle relating to allowing civil society representatives to attend meetings of UNCAC subsidiary bodies, such as the Implementation Review Group and the Working Groups?
We should do things in a transparent way, but it is currently difficult to bring civil society into the meetings of the UNCAC subsidiary bodies. I think it would be feasible for civil society representatives to come in and be observers, but without the authorisation to make statements. This might be a way to solve the controversy around the participation of civil society representatives in the IRG.