By: Amie Massaquoi, Assistant Information Officer, ACC
The Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) in partnership with the Center for Accountability and the Rule of Law (CARL), has on Friday 9th December, 2022, successfully commemorated the International Anti-Corruption (IAC) Day with a National Conference on the theme “Deepening inclusivity in the Fight Against Corruption: Persons with Disabilities and the Informal Sector as critical players in the Anti-graft Campaign.
The Conference which took place at Catco Hall, 137 Wilkinson Road, Freetown, had in attendance a galaxy of stakeholders and individuals from different spheres of society, with the Vice President of the Republic of Sierra Leone, Dr. Mohamed Juldeh Jalloh, who delivered the keynote speech.
Delivering his keynote address at the event, the Rt. Honorable Vice President, Dr. Mohamed Juldeh Jalloh commended the ACC for its tremendous efforts to restore the “Respectability” of the country, adding that Sierra Leone has consecutively recorded excellent scores in the Afro Barometer Corruption Perception Survey; the Control of Corruption Mandatory Indicator in the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) Scorecard, and many other local and International Assessments. “Since 2018, we have progressively passed that indicator. Now we are at 79%. That is one of the most difficult indicators around the world to pass. I believe with the tempo, and the energy we are seeing in the ACC Commissioner, we will continue to pass that score”, the Vice President asserted.
Dr. Jalloh furthered that he is very pleased that the Commission has expanded its scope by including the informal sector, having served as a Keynote Speaker for the IAC Day commemoration in 2019. He emphasized the importance of the private sector, disclosing that the Government is opening a space for private sector companies to take over utilities so that services are provided efficiently, to maximize quality delivery for the citizens who access these services. He noted emphatically that the Government is very serious in providing the much needed space for accountability to thrive. As such, the Government has created the Accountability Framework Group that is consists of the Auditor General, the Chairman of the Public Account in Parliament, ACC Commissioner, the Financial Secretary from the Ministry of Finance, Ministry of Justice, etc., with a mandate to discuss how and what additional steps the Government would take to promote transparency, integrity and accountability
The Rt. Hon. Vice President reassured the audience and the ACC, of the unflinching commitment of the Government of His Excellency, Brigadier (Rtd.) Dr. Julius Maada Bio to the war on corruption, promotion of integrity and the building and strengthening of strong accountable State institutions. He expressed certainty that the ACC will move into its new ultra-modern edifice in January 2023, where the environment will be conducive and enabling for the ACC staff to perform their difficult work.
Commissioner of the ACC, Francis Ben Kaifala Esq, in his statement, said this year’s theme is aimed at bringing on board the informal sector and persons with disabilities in the anti-corruption campaign as they constitute a large and critical constituency in the Sierra Leonean society. “The fight against corruption should not only be the responsibility of the ACC, we need to come together and be united. The ACC firmly believes in inclusivity, that is why we have partnered with many institutions to be part of this campaign”, he noted.
He reiterated that the ACC has performed remarkably well in the fight against graft because of the Presidential and Political will and the support of international partners. The Commissioner furthered that behind the material support, the Commission has been able to gain remarkable progress in the fight against corruption because of its competent, trained and qualified team who have strongly supported him in the campaign against corruption.
Executive Director, Center for Accountability and Rule of Law (CARL), Ibrahim Tommy Esq, in his presentation thanked the ACC for what he described as their resilient efforts in the fight against corruption. He noted that CARL partners with the ACC to draw the attention of MDAs to the damaging effects of corruption in society, emphasizing that, the ACC alone cannot successfully defeat corruption. He assured all that CARL will continue to monitor and ensure that transparency and accountability is instilled in the public service. Mr. Tommy however acknowledged the progress made in the fight against corruption under the leadership of Francis Ben Kaifala, adding that it has been corroborated by many local and international corruption perception survey reports
Speaking on behalf of the private sector, Kofi Macaulay, said, the public and private sector have to take responsibility to engage in raising awareness against corruption. “As we celebrate the 19th International Anti-Corruption Day, I will encourage public and private sectors to be at the center in the fight against corruption, with ACC being in the forefront”, he said whilst proffering recommendations to bridge the transparency and accountability gap existing between the public and the private sectors.
Sahr Lamin Kortequee, Executive Secretary of the National Commission for Persons with Disability (NCPD) in his statement expressed his delight for the recognition and inclusion of PWDs by the ACC, in the conversation to solicit their support and enlist them in the fight against corruption. Mr. Kortequee stated that they are and should be recognized as strategic players in the anti-graft campaign, as they always terribly bear the brunt of corruption and corrupt practices in society. He further noted that he is particularly impressed with not just the move of the ACC in this year’s IAC Day, but also with the Disability Policy of the Commission, which he described as one of the best in Sierra Leone and Africa.
Earlier, in her remarks as the Chairperson of the occasion, Dr. Fatmatta Taqi underscored the cross-cutting negative impacts of corruption on every facet of society. She acknowledged the gains recorded in anti-corruption fight, noting that all Sierra Leoneans irrespective of physical or social status must embrace the crusade against corruption.Also in the program, the Deputy Commissioner, ACC, Augustine Foday Ngobie in his introduction of the Keynote Speaker, Rt. Hon. Dr. Mohamed Juldeh Jalloh stated that the Keynote Speaker is a well accomplished academic personality who has also successfully traversed the civil society world. He described the Keynote Speaker as a visionary leader who is passionate and committed to the ideals of the New Direction administration.