2022

ANTI-CORRUPTION COMMISSION OF SIERRA LEONE

An independent institution established for the prevention, investigation, prosecution and punishment of corruption, corrupt practices and to provide for other related matters. 

Contact us on: +23278832131 or info@anticorruption.gov.sl
Address: Cathedral House, 3 Gloucester Street, Freetown, Sierra Leone.

INTEGRITY MANAGEMENT COMMITTEES: A CRUCIAL ANTI-GRAFT OUTFIT

ARTICLE

 By: Sinnatu Bangura, Communications Officer –ACC

The National Anti-Corruption Strategy (NACS) implementation, which is the responsibility of the National Anti-Corruption Strategy Secretariat at the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) is the machinery established in the Commission’s structure to ensuring that, the people of Sierra Leone direct the pathway to the fight against corruption for every five years. Since the establishment of the Commission in 2000, four Strategies have been rolled out including the current which implementation started in 2019 and ends in 2023.

 

On 13th August 2019, the Hon. Vice President, Dr. Mohamed Juldeh Jalloh launched the current 2019-2023 National Anti-Corruption Strategy (NACS) at the Miatta Conference Centre, Youyi Building in Freetown. It was established as “a model to developing shared sets of responsibilities through establishing Integrity Management Committees (I.M.Cs) in Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs), encourage collaboration within and among sectors: and to direct renewed enthusiasm towards the aim of reducing corruption and building ethical society.” During the launch, the Commissioner of the ACC, Francis Ben Kaifala defined the NACS“…as a guide in waging war against corruption ...”

By Section 5 (1) (c) of the Anti-Corruption Act 2008 (as amended in 2019), the Commissioner is responsible for “the coordination of the implementation of the national anti-corruption strategy, and may in relation thereto, make standing orders, not inconsistent with this Act.”

As part of its functions, the NACS Department is responsible for the establishment of Integrity Management Committees (IMCs) in all MDAs. These IMCs are a miniature of the ACC in their respective entities. That is to say, they are responsible for the prevention of instances that would result in any MDA being deemed corrupt. The composition of an IMC includes, the Internal Auditor, Finance Officer, Procurement Officer and more. The inclusion of persons holding these positions in MDAs is deliberate because all financial documentation and or correspondences usually would require their knowledge and or approval. With full compliance with the tenets of the NACS, it is expected that procurement procedures and financial related rules would not be overlooked and thereby incur allegations of corruption. These IMCs are under the direct supervision of the NACS Department in order to ensure their compliance rate to the action plans set by the Department.

Integrity is a consistent set of moral or ethical principles and standards that is embraced by individuals as well as institutions. Integrity creates a barrier to corruption.Bob Marley once said “The greatness of a man is not in how much wealth he acquires, but in his integrity and his ability to affect those around him positively.”

The 2019 -2023 NACS which is the Fourth Generation Strategy, is the first strategy implemented by the current Commissioner Francis Ben Kaifala Esq.  And it records a compliance status of 93% for fully compliant MDAs like the National Telecommunication Commission, Pujehun District Council, and the Anti-Corruption Commission. However, 84%, represents significantly compliant MDAs; EPA, NCP, NPPS, Western Rural District Council among others. As a result, there has been a steady progress from 84% compliance rate in 2020 to 93% in the first and second quarters of 2021, while 56% of the 74 MDAs targeted were moderately complaint.

On 21st January 2020, during the inaugural meeting of the NACS Steering Committee the ACC Commissioner emphasized the need for a joint effort in mitigating corruption.

Under his leadership, the NACS Secretariat with support from the Prevention Department has successfully conducted two monitoring exercises and the reports have helped the Secretariat to measure compliance levels of IMCs through their respective MDAs and also provide guidance on the effective implementation of the NACS by MDAs and Councils. The findings of these reports have been validated by the MDAs, learning and sharing sessions held to discuss recommendations and high level engagements held at district level to seek support for the NACS implementation.

A summary of cumulative compliance status of MDAs indicate that 417 from of a total of 677 action points have been implemented which gives an overall 61% average compliance rate.

The fight against corruption goes beyond prosecuting and convicting persons found to be corrupt. The strategy helps to prevent corruption by correcting anomalies and would-be-corruption instances in MDAs which is normally the case when the Audit Service Sierra Leone publishes its Audit Reports.

In the four years of Francis Ben Kaifala as Commissioner of the ACC, this prevention mechanism has helped reduce the prevalence of corruption in MDAs by ensuring the action plans set by the IMCs and supervised by the NACS Department are fully complied with. The significance of the preventive steps taken by the Commission to ward off corruption under his watch has helped reassure citizens of Sierra Leone that corruption is not only curable but preventable. The NACS Secretariat under whose direct supervision of the action plans of the IMCs in preventing corruption is, has within the period under review held several supervisory meetings with members of the IMCs in all MDAs in order to ensure that corruption is sufficiently prevented.