The Regional Office of the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) in Kono, in its quest to instill transparency, accountability and anti-corruption measures in service delivery, has engaged medical and administrative staff of the Koidu Government Hospital in Kono District. This engagement took place at the hospital on 20th September, 2022.
Speaking at the meeting, the ACC Manager Kono Hawanatu O. Kamara said that corruption has been a cankerworm to the country’s development, economy and governance. Making reference to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) Report, the Manager said corruption is one of the causes of the country’s decade-long brutal civil war. As a result, she noted, the establishment of the ACC was one of the key recommendations of the TRC Report.
Mrs. Kamara said that government has spent a colossal amount of public funds on the health system, but yet the country still faces severe health challenges. She spoke on some of the unethical and immoral practices normally reported by the public, such as acts of extortion and the illicit sale of free healthcare drugs to patients. She advised both the medical and administrative staff to ensure they conduct themselves in a manner that maintains people’s trust.
The ACC Manager further outlined the different preventive approaches employed by the Commission to mainstream anti-corruption measures in the health sector such as a holistic systems and processes review of the Health Ministry, referral hospitals and other healthcare services. She said the Commission has also empowered the public with information on the operations of key service delivery institutions through their numerous radio programs and community meetings. She therefore implored the staff to desist from all forms of corruption and hold fast to ethical and anti- corruption measures, warning that the ACC can also institute investigation, as it had done in the past.
Senior Public Education Officer attached to the ACC office in Kono, Sam P Gogra, explained some of the various offences in the Anti-Corruption Act of 2008 as amended in 2019; misappropriation of public or donor funds and property, soliciting and accepting an advantage, failure to declare assets and liabilities, abuse of position, examination malpractice, bribery, conflict of interest, among others. He said the penalty for some of the offences upon conviction, is a minimum of five years imprisonment or a fine of not less than Fifty Thousand (new) Leones.
On how to report corruption to the ACC, Public Education Officer, Hawa Deen Conteh, implored the hospital staff to report acts of corruption to the Commission by making use of the toll free lines of 077-985985, 077-986986 or to report in person to the Regional Office in Kono situated at18 Sanssie Street, Koidu City. She also highlighted some of the gains made by the Commission under the leadership of Commissioner Francis Ben Kaifala and the re-introduction of the reward scheme for whistle blowers.
The Medical Superintendent of the hospital Dr. Daniel Lavalie expressed gratitude to the ACC for the engagement, which he described as timely and appropriate. He said most of the ACC messages are things he normally raises during their regular meetings. He therefore assured the ACC team of the resolve of his staff to follow best practices and ethical behaviors while rendering services to patients.