The Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) Regional Office in Kono has assured the farmers of Kono District of huge improvement in their lives and their trade if they join and support the fight against corruption in the District. This reassurance was made in a meeting on the 30th August 2022 at the Ministry of Agriculture Office Simbakoro, Koidu City.
The meeting, according to the Regional Manager Hawanatu Omotayo Kamara, is part of ACCs public education drive aimed at raising awareness on corruption and its damaging effects and to solicit public support in fighting corruption. She assured the farmers that their hopes and aspirations for better standards of living will be revamped if they join in ACC’s call for collective efforts and determination to resist, reject and report corrupt practices in the country.
Manager Kamara furthered that agriculture is the bedrock of development and a vehicle to the country’s attainment of food self-sufficiency. She also mentioned that the Government of Sierra Leone have spent huge sums of money on the agricultural sector and that corruption has been an impediment causing the country importing rice instead of growing its own. She stated that corruption has permeated every aspect of society which has made public support pivotal in addressing it.
The Manager issued stern warning to farmers for the mismanagement of inputs supplied to them for the improvement of farming in the country.
Explaining the purpose of the meeting, ACC Public Education Officer, Hawa Deen Conteh said that the farmers will be educated on the general work of the Commission and the need for collaboration in winning the fight against corruption. She thanked the farmers for availing themselves for the engagement and said that the meeting was to inform them of the prevalence of corruption in rural settings and to also solicit support in ensuring that the war on corruption is won.
She also highlighted several corrupt practices across various sectors including the local court administration, the school system, the health sector and other areas of concern. She further pointed out several corruption demands in the aforementioned areas including but not limited to exploiting the people through the levying of exorbitant fines outside the confines of the law, payment for bail, illegal practice of "booking" at checkpoints, illegal charges in schools, corruption demands in health centers, and misuse of public funds among others.
Hawa Deen Conteh urged the farmers to desist from corruption an enterprise that contravenes the law and encouraged them to resist, reject and report corruption always, using the toll free lines of 077985985 and 077986986. She assured them of the protection provided by Section 81 of the Anti-Corruption Act 2008 (as amended in 2019) for those making corruption reports to the Commission. She further disclosed to them the re-introduction of the 10% reward for any matter reported of by members of the public, with a successful recovery.
Paramount Chief of Gbane Kandor Chiefdom, P.C Edward S. Bawa III thanked the Ministry for organizing such an important meeting and commended the ACC for the good work they have been doing in ridding corruption in every aspect of society in the country. He therefore urged the farmers to continue working hard and to make good use of the opportunity being given to them by the Government. “The Government is only there to take the lead in development but cannot succeed without the citizen’s support” PC Bawa III concluded.
The District Agricultural Officer, Lamin Mbogba, earlier heartily welcomed the Regional Manager ACC and her team and expressed profound thanks and appreciation to them for conveying anti-corruption messages to farmers in the District. He acknowledged the strides already made by the ACC and commended them for the good work done in the fight against graft.
Questions and answers session and the presentation of ACC’s Information, Education and Communication materials formed part of the engagement.
© ACC Kono Office