23rd September 2019
The Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC), through its Public Education and Outreach Department, has engaged residents of Mortomeh, Madina, Looking Town, Bathurst, S.S. Camp and Regent Communities, on the roles and responsibilities of citizens in combating bribery and other forms of corruption at community level. The engagement took place on Saturday 21st September 2019, at the Regent Community Center in the Western Area Rural District.
The meeting was continuation of the Commission’s public education and community outreach campaign throughout the country to educate citizens on the work of the Commission, update them on recent developments in the anti-corruption campaign, as well as garner public support.
Speaking on the role of the community in the fight against corruption, Head of Outreach Unit at the ACC, Abubakarr Turay, described corruption as a monster, which the Government has declared war on, and which the Commission is determined to defeat.
Mr. Turay told residents of the communities to show vigilance in the monitoring of community projects and ensure that any act of corruption is reported to the ACC. He said citizens have a role in identifying public projects that are incomplete or substandard and make sure that they report to the Commission and other authorities concerned.
Mr. Turay said that the new National Anti-Corruption Strategy has recently been launched and that enforcement is at the forefront of the strategy, though public education and prevention still have critical roles to play. He said the strategy will ensure that corruption is given a befitting blow in a bid to launder the image of the country.
Mr. Turay informed his audience that the Commission, under the leadership of Francis Ben Kaifala Esq., is fierce in combating corruption at all levels as demonstrated by the recent operations to curb examination malpractices and the indictment of former Executive Director of the Sierra Leone Safety Authority Dr Sarah Bendu.
Making reference to the mudslide and flooding that ravaged the communities few years ago, Mr Turay encouraged residents of the communities to desist from engaging in activities that may be harmful to the environment.
Executive Director of Youth Against Corruption (YAC) Sierra Leone Sheku Koroma encouraged the communities to support the work of the ACC at all fronts and ensure that they desist from giving bribes to access public services.
Communications Officer, Moris Ibrahim Kanteh, whilst giving updates on the recent operations of the ACC, highlighted some of the gains made by the Commission in the last one year, including the recovery of over Eighteen Billion Leones of stolen public money. In the area of ACC cases, he said the Commission has secured over 95 percent conviction rate in decided cases.
Mr Kanteh also spoke on the proposed amendment to the Anti-Corruption Act, 2008 that is before Parliament and further encouraged the people to lobby their Members of Parliament for the Bill to be enacted. He said the Bill seeks to address the loopholes in the current Act and gives stiffer penalties where same are found to be lenient. He said the Bill will also make corruption a costly enterprise for those engaging in it.
Earlier, Chairperson of the programme who also doubles as the Head Woman of the Regent Community, Eleanor Jokomie Metzger, in her welcome address, expressed appreciation to the ACC for the engagement, which she said is timely and would give them the opportunity to address some of the corruption issues in their communities.
Public Education Officer, ACC, Christiana Jusu, spoke on the purpose of the meeting, adding that the ACC is soliciting public support in the anti-graft campaign in a bid to rid the country of corruption.
A very lively question and answer session climaxed the engagement.