19th March, 2021
The Prevention Department of the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC), has on Friday 19th March, 2021, presented a report of its findings and recommendations on the systems and processes review on the Ministry of Social Welfare to the leadership and staff of the Ministry.
The presentation ceremony took place at the Conference Hall of the Ministry in Freetown.
Giving an overview of the exercise, the Director of the Prevention Department, Rashid Babar Turay, said the Department is charged with the responsibility of preventing the occurrence and or existence of corrupt practices and opportunities in public offices as provided for under Section 7, (2) (g&h) of the Anti Corruption Act 2008 as amended in 2019.
He said the Department conducts unsentimental and thorough reviews of practices, systems and processes of ministries, department and agencies (MDAs) of government, with the view of addressing weaknesses and bad practices that are either corrupt and or can lead to corruption and misuse of public resources.
He said, in October of 2020, with support from the Open Society Initiative for West Africa (OSIWA), the Systems and Processes Unit of the Department commenced the review of the Ministry.
Mr. Turay said the Commission discovered several systemic weaknesses in the Ministry for which seventy-five (75) recommendations have been proffered to the Ministry for tangible, affirmative and appropriate steps to address the anomalies or face sanctions, as prescribed under the Anti Corruption Act, 2008 as amended in 2019.
He said, with support from OSIWA, the ACC has also developed a Compliance Manual for public institutions to guide, tailor and direct the implementation of best practices recommended by the ACC. “The leadership of the Commission has branded 2021 as a year of compliance and enforcement, and we are very much positioned to compel MDAs to implement to the fullest all recommendations or face the sanctions stipulated in the Act,” he warned.
Head of Systems and Processes Unit, ACC, Samuel Marah Esq., made a presentation of the findings, covering the Finance, Administration, Human Resource, Procurement departments of the Ministry.
The findings include poor documentations, disrespect for expressed best practices and procedures, failure to report on activities and projects, huge cash withdrawals by staff against the regulations that require bank transfers or cheque payments, fleet and asset management lapses, poor management of the Hajj accounts, personnel management procedures not followed etc. He also outlined the corresponding recommendations for full implementation.
Head of Monitoring and Compliance Unit, ACC, Samson Saidu, admonished the leadership of the Ministry to treat the recommendations with the seriousness that they deserve.
“As stipulated by the Act, my Unit shall after 90 days commence compliance monitoring on the recommendations and failure to follow the recommendations will result in sanctions,” he warned. He said the ACC Commissioner, Francis Ben Kaifala Esq., has unequivocally pledged his commitment to enforce non-compliant sanctions contained in the Act.
The Permanent Secretary of the Ministry, Alfred Lahai, expressed delight at the recommendations of the report and pledged the Ministry’s unreserved commitment to fully implement them. “This will help enhance the delivery of our much-needed services, rebrand our public image and build stronger internal integrity systems,” he concluded.