West Africa states up anti-graft efforts
Freetown - Law enforcement officials from seven West African states on Monday discussed ways of stepping up their fight against corruption at a US-sponsored conference in Sierra Leone.
Organised by the US state and justice departments, the four-day conference will increase "the capacity of law enforcement officials in investigative technique to outwit corruption", a US embassy statement said.
"Fighting corruption is a central priority of US foreign policy and the US is committed to building upon the foundation established by the UN Convention against corruption (UNCAC) by providing technical assistance to equip law enforcement agencies with the knowledge and skills to investigate and prosecute public corruption," the statement said.
"The conference is part of the US government's effort to assist in building accountable institutions in west africa as part of the West Africa Co-operative Security Initiative (WACSI) to address the growing threat of transnational organised crime and drug trafficking in the region," it added.
The Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) in Sierra Leone over the weekend said it had paid into the government's coffer a total of $1.35m recovered in fines from corrupt individuals since 2009.
Transparency International this year ranked Sierra Leone 134 out of nearly 200 countries in its 2011 Corruption Perception Index.