Sierra Leone’s Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) paraded suspects facing charges of involvement in exam malpractice as part of a new strategy of naming and shaping corrupt officials to discourage such actions.
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, and were paraded on Monday, 9 September 2019.
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 taking a General Mathematics exam in a private room and having answers fed to them.
“The ACC received Intelligence that the Principal of the School and teachers were collecting Le1milliin (100 dollars) 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 to escape, were similarly rounded up and detained but some escaped,” it added.
On Monday, 9 September 2019, 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 centre 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.
However, 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.