“The country’s efforts to make justice accessible to all will be unattainable when the less privileged in society are excluded due to corruption”. This statement was made by the Regional Manager, South, Legal Aid Board, Bo, Martin P Moriwai in a sensitization meeting organized by the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) Southern Region Office at the Conference Room of the Legal Aid Board, Bojon Street, Bo City on Wednesday 29th September, 2022.
Mr. Moriwai affirmed the Board’s commitment to continue to provide free legal services for the poor including legal representation, advice, assistance, legal and community based outreach, alternative dispute resolution, that are fundamental to maintain a peaceful and cohesive society.
In his statement, ACC Southern Region Manager, Momodu Sittar, underscored the significance of ensuring that justice is dispensed in a credible and fair manner to all. He said injustice in a society has devastating consequences as experienced during the country’s decade-long civil war. He acknowledged the strides of Legal Aid Board in making sure that free legal representations are available to the people irrespective of their social status.
Mr. Sittar admonished staff of Legal Aid Board not to engage in any unlawful practices that would breach public trust and expose the institution to ridicule. He reminded the participants of the consequences that await anyone convicted of corruption offences- which may amount to a fine of not less than fifty million (old) Leones, or imprisonment for a term not less than five years, or both fine and prison term.
Speaking at the meeting, ACC’s Senior Public Education Officer, Abdulai Saccoh, described the engagement as a deliberate move by ACC to work with pillars of integrity to examine and address systems weaknesses in public service delivery. Mr. Saccoh admonished them not to use the call to national service as an opportunity to accord unfair advantage to undeserving people.
He said that when integrity is absent corruption thrives and as a consequence, the core administration of justice is undermined. “This generates a substantial obstacle to the right to an impartial trial and severely erodes the population's trust in the judicial process. Mr. Saccoh said, though tremendous efforts have been made to improve the justice sector, some people continue to debar the fair dispensation of justice.He assured them of ACC's unwavering determination to ensure that fair dispensation of justice is attained in the country.
ACC’s Pubic Education Officer, Mohamed A. Kabba, said the Commission deemed it necessary to interact with Legal Aid Board to convey anti-corruption messages due to the invaluable services the Board renders to the nation. Mr. Kabba recognized that fighting corruption should not be seen as the business of the ACC alone, but rather as the civic responsibility of all citizens. He therefore encouraged them to take pride in doing the correct thing and have the courage to expose the corrupt.
A question-and-answer session formed the high point of the engagement.