As part of it sustained public education drive, the Southern Region office of the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) has engaged the management and staff of SOLIDARIDAD in order to integrate anti-corruption and good governance principles into their operations. The engagement took place on Tuesday 12th October 2021 at the conference room of SOLIDARIDAD Head Office in Bo.
SOLIDARIDAD is an international non-government organization that works towards enabling farmers and workers earn a decent living income by working throughout the supply chain to make sustainability the norm.
In his statement, SOLIDARIDAD Program Manager, Luseni Kappia said the organization works in partnership with specific government ministries, departments and agencies, agricultural producers, community associations, civil society organizations, the private sector, traders, processors and exporters in the areas of oil palm and cocoa. Mr. Kappia said, the organization is also working towards increasing productivity and improving on the processing of oil palm, cashew, cocoa, coffee in order to enhance food security through food banks and linking farmers to private sector to improve and sustain their livelihoods. He affirmed SOLIDARIDAD’s commitment to integrating tenets of ethical standards and corruption prevention safeguards in the utilization and management of public funds.
Speaking at the meeting, ACC’s Senior Public Education Officer, Abdulai Saccoh, underscored the significance of the engagement and noted that employees of charitable organizations are subjected to the Anti-Corruption Act 2008 as amended in 2019. He enumerated some of the positive strides which a number of these organizations have made to improve on the socio-economic wellbeing of the underprivileged majority in society. He however expressed dissatisfaction over the abysmal implementation of projects and programs by some of these organizations and as a consequence, failed to produce the desired impacts. Mr. Saccoh catalogued a number of dishonest practices which are alleged to have been perpetrated by employees of charitable organizations which do not only adversely impact on their operations but also resulted in loss of public revenue such as; over invoicing, tax evasion, inflation in the number of beneficiaries, diversion of donor properties for personal use, short payment of participants during training workshops, among others.
The Senior Public Education Officer highlighted the amendments made to certain provisions of the Anti-Corruption Act 2008 in 2019, which increased the punishments for convicted persons for offences such as misappropriation of public/donor funds/property, adding that the courts can also mandatorily order the convicted person to pay restitution aside the court fine and imprisonment. He therefore encouraged the institution to institute ethical culture in the workplace to improve on their productivity and the organization’s image.
Public Education Officer Mohamed .A. Kabba described ethics as established rules, regulations, principles, treaties which guide the behavioral conduct of people in society. He said the Commission prides itself on four core principles, which are, integrity, transparency, accountability and respect for the rule of law. He said, upholding integrity is fundamental to successful implementation of projects and programs. He warned that corruption entrenches poverty on the masses and therefore encouraged his audience to exhibit in their daily operations high degree of patriotism, honesty. trustworthiness, fairness and professionalism.
Earlier in the meeting, Public Education Officer, Yangie Deborah Sesay, said the engagement was intended to increase employees’ understanding on the concept of corruption, work of the Commission, and establish partnership and solicit their support in the fight against corruption. She explained the three-pronged approach employed by the Commission to address systems weaknesses and tackle the scourge of corruption. Miss Sesay dilated on the role they can play in combating the scourge of corruption and the importance of reporting acts of corruption to the ACC.
A question-and-answer session and presentation of Information, Education and Communication (IEC) materials to SOLIDARIDAD formed part of the meeting.