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By: Alex A. Bah – Communications Officer, ACC

The Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) has met with beneficiaries of the World Bank-supported COVID-19 Emergency Response Program in Koryadu Town, Woafeh Section, Tankoro Chiefdom, Kono District, to raise awareness about the Grievance Redress Mechanism component of the Social Safety Net program, which the Commission is handling. The meeting took place on 23rd May, 2022 at the Koryadu Community Centre. 

Deputy Director of the Public Education and External Outreach Department of the ACC, Abubakarr Turay, spoke on the impact of the project on the people and the role of beneficiaries in maintaining transparency and accountability in the project. He said the ACC was given the task to ensure that the project is free from any acts of corruption and to provide beneficiaries and other stakeholders the opportunity to report their grievances about the project to the Commission. “The cash transfer payment is for you and members of your household and we will ensure that no one takes anything away from you,” Mr Turay told the beneficiaries. He said beneficiaries can report to the ACC through the Commission’s free toll lines of 077-985-985, 077-986-986 or through any of the Commission’s offices in Kono, Freetown (Head Office), Bo Makeni, Kenema and Port Loko.

Mr Turay reminded the beneficiaries of the purpose of the cash transfer, which is to alleviate poverty and enhance the livelihood of the beneficiaries. He said the money paid to them could be used for the provision of food, housing, business, agriculture medical and educational support to members of their households. He further encouraged them to use the funds judiciously.

Providing an overview of the SSN project and the Grievance Redress Mechanism (GRM) component of the project, Kono District Monitor of the SSN Project Patrick Hinga George informed the participants that the project first started in 2014. He said it was a program that the government advocated for to World Bank and partners, to provide "unconditional cash transfer" to alleviate the suffering of people wallowing in poverty. 

“In 2019, President Dr. Julius Maada Bio similarly advocated for the continuation of the project to cushion the hardship partly caused by the COVID-19 pandemic,” Mr George said. As a result, he said, 35,000 people were enrolled nationwide to benefit from the scheme. 

He said 2,617,000 Leones was the sum total every beneficiary received in three separate payments: 1,309,000 Leones, 872,000 Leones and 436,000 Leones respectively.

Mr George also informed the people that the National Commission for Social Action (NaCSA) is implementing the project, with Statistics Sierra Leone, Rokel Commercial Bank and the ACC partnering in executing their respective roles in the project. He said the ACC's role is to ensure that integrity is maximized in the entire project, and any issue of corruption is addressed through the GRM.

Communications Officer of the ACC Alex A. Bah, whilst informing the people about the various strides and activities of the Commission, encouraged them to provide the much-desired support in minimizing corruption to the barest minimum. He described corruption as one of the major causes of the country’s decade-long civil war as highlighted by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission Report. 

Mr. Bah said that the Commission has a huge role in the fight against corruption and thus depends on the support of the people in order to succeed. He told them that the ACC has recovered over thirty-five billion Leones, stolen by corrupt individuals. 

Earlier, the ACC Team was welcomed by the Town Chief of Koryadu Sahr Lebbie who expressed his thanks and appreciation to the World Bank, the Government, NaCSA and the ACC for their different roles in the entire project.  

Beneficiaries of the project spoke on how impactful the cash has been to them and further thanked the ACC for ensuring transparency in the project.

©️ Public Relations Unit, ACC