By: Alex A. Bah
With the release of the maiden edition of the Africa Open Parliament Index (OPI) on Friday 22nd July, 2022, by the Parliamentary Network Africa (PN Africa) and the Africa Parliamentary Monitoring Organizations Network (APMON), the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) acknowledges the recognition of the Parliament of the Republic as Sierra Leone emerges 2nd out of 13 countries assessed in the West African sub-region.
The Index which assessed the openness of Parliaments in Africa was launched on Wednesday, July 20, 2022, in Accra, Ghana, under the distinguished patronage of the RT. Hon. Speaker of Ghana’s Parliament, Alban Sumana Bagbin.
With three benchmarks used for the assessment: Transparency, Civic Participation and Public Accountability, Sierra Leone emerges second, scoring a stellar 15.68 percent, at par with Cape Verde that emerges first on the Public Accountability Scoresheet.
The Commission is pleased with this feat. “I am very proud of our Parliament. It is not every day a powerful body like the Legislature can be investigated successfully by an anti-graft body in full; it happened in Sierra Leone. Since then, we worked with them to develop systems and processes that facilitate openness, accountability and responsiveness,” the ACC Commissioner Francis Ben Kaifala expressed on a Facebook post.
On the Civil Participation Sheet, Sierra Leone emerges third only behind Ghana and Cape Verde, and top five of the Transparency Scoresheet.
These performance indexes are critical in assessing and improving governance for better and efficient service delivery. It will equally enable non-state actors to identify systemic challenges in achieving open Parliament and better enhance sustainable legislative reforms. It is set to be released biannually.
It could be recalled that on the 14th September, 2020 the ACC informed the public in a press release about an investigation it instituted following public concerns expressed through the 2019 Corruption Perception Survey (CPS) conducted by the Public Financial Management Consortium, led by the Center for Accountability and the Rule of Law (CARL), and a BBC interview which drew the attention of the Commission about corruption in Parliament.
Moreover, on the 12th March, 2021, the Commission, through a Media Release, similarly informed the public on its conclusion on the investigation into the various corruption allegations against Parliament. The Commission recommended systems and processes review and it has since then followed on that.
During the launch of this index by the Executive Director of PN Africa, Sammy Obeng, said, “what does not get measured does not get done” and continued that introduction of this Index, “would help track the progress of African Parliaments which form the backbone of thriving democracies and offer assistance where there may be shortfalls.”
The Commission acknowledges this and therefore encourages Parliament and other institutions of Government to continue to uphold the tenets of openness, accountability, transparency and integrity.
© Public Relations Unit, ACC