The North-West Regional office of the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) has on Tuesday 14th December 2021 held a sensitization meeting on corruption with staff and volunteers of the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry at the ministry's conference room in Karene District.
According to the Public Education Officer Mohamed Thullah, the engagement was conducted to sensitize staff on the general work of the Commission, key corruption issues in the operations of the ministry and solicit support from staff. He explained the three pronged approaches used by ACC to the fight against graft.
Addressing staff of the Ministry in Kamakwei, the Regional Manager Al-Hassan Sesay described the agricultural sector as a critical component of the economy, stimulate economic growth and could support the production of enough food to meet local consumption and for export.
In addition to providing food and other raw materials, he said, it also provides employment opportunities and livelihoods to communities.
He stated that corruption in agricultural sector is an impediment which, when fought and addressed will make the sector to produce the much needed tangibles for national development. He added that those actors who perpetuate the nefarious acts of corruption in the sector should be reprimanded by the law and made to face the penalties.
Commenting on key corrupt practices and loopholes, Manager Sesay noted that revenues relating to forestry, fertilizers, livestock and donor projects must be properly accounted for and protected by law. He underscored the significance of maintaining an effective accountability mechanism for all monies collected for and on behalf of the state and warned those who are involved in siphoning same.
Giving an overview of the offences in the Anti-Corruption Act as amended in 2019, he explained various corruption offences but not limited to misappropriation of public funds and property, protection of public revenue, abuse of office and position and influencing a public officer among others. He informed staff that the ministry and the ACC will work together to addressing problems with seed loan recovery and encouraged the leadership of the ministry to establish and operationalize Integrity Management Committee to internalize the fight against corruption.
The Senior Public Education Officer Junisa Sankoh who spoke on ethics in the workplace said, it was important for every staff of the ministry to maintain high ethical standards and to fully abide by the codes and conduct of same. He also noted attendance, punctuality and lack of integrity as major concerns to the ACC and encouraged the leadership to put in place internal control measures to enhance compliance to best practices.
Welcoming the ACC team, the District Forestry Officer Ali Badara Massaquoi thanked the ACC for considering the Ministry of Agriculture to benefit from the Commission’s public education drive that will immensely serve as a guide to the workforce of the ministry. He expressed conviction that getting the agriculture sector right means getting the economy right and eventually will impact the development of the state.