15th June, 2021
As a mark of proactive approach to the fight against corruption, the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) has deployed Regional Senior Prevention Officers in the Provinces - stationed in Bo-to handle prevention issues in the South and East, and Makeni- to handle prevention matters in the North-West, North-East and Kono.
This latest move by the Commission is in adherence to the popular adage which says, "prevention is better than cure", in addition to the need for the continued decentralization of the work of the Commission to ensure optimum and sustainable corruption control in every nook and cranny of the country. It is also expected that this very strategic corruption prevention move will be very critical to addressing the enduring corruption vulnerabilities across Ministries Departments and Agencies (MDAs) and Locals Councils in the various regions where huge Government resources go unaccounted for yearly -- based on Reports from Government audits and other researches.
These Regional Senior Prevention Officers will lead the Commission's corruption prevention efforts in their various regions and ensure, working with their various regional structures, that sanity is provided in the handling of public resources. Their main functions will involve: examining financial records in government ministries and other bodies and determine the extent of financial loss; conducting regional monitoring activities on the implementation of systems reviews and recommendations for both regional and head quarter reviews; ensuring compliance of MDAs in the regions to legally adopted policies and programmes, laws, legislations and directives with acceptable standards, in tandem with international conventions, treaties and best practices; providing expert knowledge in the development and implementation of ethical and other policies; implementing programmes and activities in line with the Commission's mandate to reduce the general incentives for corruption in their various locations; working with existing Integrity Management Committees (IMCs) across MDAs in their various work stations in carrying out their mandates.
In August, 2019, the National Anti-Corruption Commission Strategy 2019-2023 was launched at the Miatta Conference Centre by the Honorable Vice President of the Republic of Sierra Leone, His Excellency Dr. Mohamed Juldeh Jalloh. That Strategy, which was described by the Honorable Vice President as a "National strategy that aims at confronting corruption at every level, and building an accountable and ethical Government that promotes zero tolerance for corruption, inspire integrity and promote the rule of law"; places "Prevention" efforts at the heart of the Commission's work going forward. This has seen the strengthening of the Prevention Department within the current organogram of the institution, which has led systems and processes reviews across different MDAs (with Reports published and popularized), amongst several other efforts.
Notwithstanding these massive prevention drives, the Commission continues to produce record breaking results in investigations and prosecutions-- with 90% convictions in prosecuted cases within the last three years. Figures from recovery of stolen funds are also startling-- with more funds recovered (over 30 billion Leones) in the last three years doubling the recovery in the preceding 18 years of the Commission's existence. There have also been massive public education efforts which have greatly, positively changed perceptions in the fight against corruption-- with citizens stating, in a survey by The Institute for Governance Reform in 2020 that, there has been a reduction in corruption in the public service from 70% in 2017 to 40% in 2020-within the three years.
Effective public education drive to increase public awareness and intolerance to corruption, and improving the capacity and integrity of public administration; identifying corruption opportunities and loopholes through systems and processes review, and deploying anti-corruption measures to address these anomalies or rather pin these existing loopholes, and massive investment in technology to aid corruption prevention efforts, are currently the most popular and widely acceptable anti-corruption methods in the World.
This view is reinforced by Chapter II of the United Nations Convention against Corruption. It underlines the urgent need for countries to address the risks of corruption by:
"Adopting effective and coordinated policies against corruption".
Suffice it to say, this latest move, if adequately followed up by massive investments in technologies that aid corruption prevention, can finally place the country on an irreversible path to sustainably control corruption, and build good on its successes especially within the last three years.
Similarly, the Anti-Corruption Commission has also successfully deployed District Monitors across every district in the country. These monitors will serve as focal or contact persons for complaints and general information on the work of the ACC in their various districts, where the Commission before now did not have an office.
All the deployed Regional Senior Prevention Officers and District Monitors have commenced work in earnest at their respective duty stations.
©Public Relations Unit, ACC