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I am pleased to receive the Anti-Corruption Commission Annual Report for 2004 although I would have been happier to receive the 2005 Annual Report as well, because it would have presented a more current picture of the work of this valuable institution. Let me however congratulate you Mr. Commissioner, for taking the initiative to avoid a hiatus in the Reporting sequence by presenting the 2004 Report, which covers the period before you assumed duty.

This notwithstanding, I have had the chance to scan the Report which I received only yesterday and a cursory view over the contents does reveal noticeable progress in the general work of the Anti-Corruption Commission for the period covered. I have noted the achievements, frustrations and challenges of

the various sectors ranging from the Investigation Department, through Intelligence, Prevention, Community Relations to Finance and Administration and I am pleased to say that I noticed some progress in all these areas. Let me highlight one particular area of special interest - Community Relations and Sensitisation. To fight corruption and root out its odious effects in society, one needs the full support and involvement of our communities to appreciate the ills of corruption, to blow the whistle on corruption and to remain vigilant against corrupt practices, no matter what forms they take. Here I have observed the increasing marshalling of a range of community forces to act as deterrents to corruption, because at the end of the day, the real battle against corruption is not really won by the number of people locked up in prison, but by the constant realisation of a people that corruption is odious, shameful, a real hindrance to national development and as I said some time ago in Parliament, a threat to national security. Equally important is the building of strong transparency and accountability mechanisms which help to minimize the opportunities for corruption.

In this connection, the DFID Consultant who designed our Anti-Corruption Commission and also helped to establish the highly successful Hong Kong and Botswana Anti-Corruption Commissions stressed the critical role of civil society and the community at large in fighting corruption. It is in light of this that the role of the Advisory Committee was considered critical to the success of the ACC hence its creation at the very inception of the ACC. I would urge you Mr Commissioner to make more use of this Committee in the discharge of your responsibility. As you can see, they constitute a group of eminent, highly qualified, dedicated and competent Sierra Leoneans whose contribution to your work will definitely enhance the result of the Anti-Corruption Commission.

Mr. Commissioner, let me congratulate you, the Advisory Committee and your staff for the valiant efforts you are making in tackling the scourge of corruption in our country. I should in the same vein like to express our grateful thanks to DFID for their continued cooperation and support in the realisation of the objectives of the Anti-Corruption Commission.

Finally, Mr Commissioner, let me note that you have just taken the mantle of leadership of the Anti-Corruption Commission and I do realise that you have not had a soft landing. Let me however reiterate my Government's confidence in you and our belief that you bring to the Anti-Corruption Commission, professionalism, legal excellence and a tenacity of purpose that together, bode well for the growth of a vibrant and sustainable Anti-Corruption Commission that will push the frontiers of good governance and transparency to higher heights.

It is now my pleasure to receive the Annual Report of the Anti-Corruption Commission for the year 2004.

I thank you.