Chargé d’Affairs at U.S. Embassy Freetown, Elaine M French, presented Francis Ben Kaifala with the Department of State International Anti-Corruption Champions Award. Mr. Kaifala was honored for his leadership as the Commissioner of Sierra Leone’s Anti-Corruption Commission, which has enhanced efforts to fight corruption in Sierra Leone, including the strengthening of anti-corruption laws and working to hold public officials accountable for corrupt acts.
Mr. Kaifala was one of 12 Anti-Corruption Champions from different countries recognized by United States Secretary of State, Antony J. Blinken, for changing the world for the better through their work to combat corruption and fight for transparency and accountability. These champions are members of government, the press, civil society, and the judiciary.
As President Biden has emphasized, “We must start with diplomacy rooted in America’s most cherished democratic values: defending freedom, championing opportunity, upholding universal rights, respecting the rule of law, and treating every person with dignity.” Combating corruption is a key part of this commitment.
The honorees are Judge Ardian Dvorani (Albania); Attorney General Diana Salazar (Ecuador); Ms. Sophia Henry Pretrick, Investigative Advisor for the Compliance Investigation Division of the Pohnpei State Auditor (Federated States of Micronesia); Mr. Juan Francisco Sandoval Alfaro, Chief of the Special Prosecutors Office against Corruption and Impunity (Guatemala); Mr. Ibrahima Kalil Gueye of the Organization for Positive Change (Guinea); Ms. Anjali Bhardwaj, Founder of NGO Satark Nagrik Sangathan (India); Ms. Dhuha Mohammed, Director General for Electronic Payments at the Central Bank of Iraq (Iraq); Mr. Bolot Temirov, investigative journalist and editor-in-chief of Factcheck.kg (Kyrgyz Republic); Mr. Mustafa Abdullah Sanalla, Chairman of Libya’s National Oil Corporation (Libya); Mayor Victor Sotto of Pasig (The Philippines); Mr. Francis Ben Kaifala, Commissioner of the Anti-Corruption Commission (Sierra Leone); and Mr. Ruslan Ryaboshapka, former Prosecutor General (Ukraine).
The selected honorees represent the many anti-corruption champions performing vital work around the world who often face threats, arrest, and persecution, while others may work in underfunded, undervalued, or otherwise challenging circumstances. This award is an acknowledgment that all are making a difference. While we are recognizing these 12 champions, we are honored to work hand-in-hand with many other reformers around the world, and we celebrate all the unsung heroes who are striving to make a difference.