8th August 2020
The Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) Southern Region Office has sensitized officers of the Pujehun District COVID-19 Emergency Response Centre (DICOVERC) on the use and management of public and donor funds meant to combat the pandemic. The engagement took place on 7th August, 2020, at the DICOVERC office in Pujehun Town.
Addressing staff of the DICOVERC, ACC’s Southern Region Manager, Musa J.B Jawara, said the first thing to note in the management of the COVID-19 is to know that all monies provided by either the Government of Sierra Leone or donors were defined as public funds according to the Anti-Corruption Act of 2008 as amended in 2019.
Mr Jawara said the use and management of such public funds should not be at the behest of anyone but by the existing laws guiding the use of same; warning that any penny spent should be initiated by a request, approved by a head; and then receipts of all transactions recorded and kept for audit purposes.
The ACC Manager lamented on the several funds misappropriated during the Ebola crisis, noting that such was partly due to the lack of record-keeping and management. He therefore urged all to follow procurement rules as dictated by the 2016 Procurement Act and to ensure that issues such as conflict of interest and use of influence for contract do not occur in the management of the COVID-19.
Mr Jawara buttressed recent press releases from the Commission by informing all that a taskforce has been set up to instill integrity, transparency and accountability in a bid to prevent corruption in the management of the pandemic. He added that the taskforce, amongst many things, will speedily investigate any issue of corruption related to the COVID-19 and bring defaulters to book.
Coordinator of DICOVERC Pujehun District, Mohamed Kemokai, described the engagement as very timely and purposeful. He noted that the engagement has reignited the need for transparency and accountability in the use of public funds and urged all officers at the DICOVERC office to abreast themselves with laws guiding the management of public funds and resources. He assured the ACC team that all measures will be instituted to prevent corruption in the management of the COVID-19 in the district.
Chairman of Civil Society Pujehun District, Ibrahim Swaray, described the engagement as timely and educative- as he is now guided as to what amounts to public funds and how same should be managed during the COVID-19 fight. He noted that they are also monitoring the use and management of public funds meant to combat the pandemic and would raise any red flag for the attention of the relevant authorities, especially the ACC.
A question-and-answer session climaxed the engagement.