“Food self-sufficiency can be attained when ethical standards that promote sustainable agriculture are not compromised due to dishonesty”, says District Agriculture Officer, Saidu Bamayange. Mr. Bamayange made this statement in a customized meeting organized by the Anti-Corruption Commission, (ACC) Public Education Unit, South at the Ministry’s Conference Hall, Chinese Farm, Bo City, on Tuesday 23rd August 2022.
He furthered that the District Agriculture Office is charged with the responsibility to coordinate and supervise agricultural activities and advise the public and private sectors on policy issues.
Speaking at the meeting, ACC Senior Public Education Officer, Abdulai Saccoh acknowledged that natural and human induced causes do not only continue to beset agricultural productivity but also pose a serious challenge towards the country’s efforts to achieve Goal (2) Two “End hunger” of the Sustainable Development Goals. Saccoh recognized that despite the huge resources that have been directed by Government and its development partners to ensure increase in agricultural produce, it seems unattainable. He asserted that until conscious and deliberate actions are taken to address system weaknesses in public sector institutions food self-sufficiency would be far-fetched.
Mr. Saccoh drew their attention to some thorny issues that continue to plague the growth of public sector institutions such as lateness, absenteeism, weak internal control system, abuse of discretionary power, misuse of public revenue and property and nepotism. He underscored that corruption erodes trust, hampers economic development, exacerbates poverty, worsens environmental crisis, impedes agricultural growth, undermines effective revenue management, reduces direct foreign and domestic investments and distorts public spending.
Saccoh advised staff of the Ministry of Agriculture to be law abiding because the Commission would ensure that whosoever contravenes any provisions in the Anti-Corruption Act 2008 as amended in 2019 would be prosecuted.
ACC Public Education Officer, Mohamed A. Kabba in his submission, enumerated some of the progress the Commission continues to make in the fight against corruption as indicated in local and international good governance and anti-corruption rankings and indexes. Mr. Kabba averred that such progress would not have been achieved without the collective resolve of patriotic Sierra Leoneans who choose to mainstream anti-corruption measures into their day to day operations. He also reminded the participants of the legislative and administrative reforms that have taken place in the past fours which have made corruption a high risk and low return venture. Kabba emphasized that prominent among the reforms is the increased in punishment for offenders of the Anti-Corruption law.
In her statement, ACC Public Education Officer, Yangie Deborah Sesay said the sustained public education engagement with Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) was intended to promote integrity and ethical values among employees. She stated that despite the Commission focuses on raising public awareness and prevention of corruption, prosecution of alleged corrupt persons will continue unabated. Miss Sesay encouraged them to put into practice values that have been conveyed to them in order to help change the negative public perception about MDAs. She assured them of informants’ protection and shared the various ACC reporting channels.Question and answer session formed the high point of the engagement.