In its drive to enhance integrity in the management of public funds and public procurement processes, the Kono Regional Office of the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) has engaged staff of the Advocate for Social Justice and Development (ASJD), a non-governmental organization (NGO) based in Kono, on anti-corruption laws and best practices in the management of public and donor funds. The event took place at the ASJD conference room in Koidu on 21st June, 2022.
The customized meeting, according to the ACC Regional Manager, Hawanatu Omotayo Kamara, was to engage and educatethe ASJD staff on various issues of corruption and to ensure best practices in their operations. She also noted that the engagement will serve as a platform to map out areas of collaboration in identifying corruption risks and vulnerabilities as well as mitigating same. The Manager stated that corruption is a sensitive issue in the NGO world, something that requires a clear understanding to determine its true scale, nature, effects on service delivery and ways to prevent it.
Explaining the mandate of the Commission in the fight against corruption, Senior Public Education Officer Sam P Gogra, expressed dismay that most times NGOs, contractors and suppliers are often reluctant to talk about corruption for fear that it will lead to bad publicity, unavailability of contracts, and consequent loss of funds. According to him, such funds secured for and on behalf of the people of Sierra Leone are public funds and by extension their activities and operations are covered by the ACC laws.
Mr Gogra stated that the fight against graft is not done in a fire brigade manner and it therefore requires the need to engage them on various issues of corruption and for them to institute anti-corruption measures whiles implementing donor projects.
Commenting on key corruption issues in public procurement and activities of his organisation, the Executive Director of ASJD Arthur Kargbo, thanked the ACC for partnering with them to fight corruption. According to him, their office has codes and anti-corruption policies in their internal operations. He said that their partnership with the ACC will give credence to their activities in the district and can also help them act as whistleblowers for corruption activities within their operational areas.
Mr Kargbo said that their activities are based on development and they have been operating in Kono District and beyond on education, health and mining, to ensure transparency and accountability in service delivery. He said that they often follow best practices to procure goods and services. He registered his office’s support to the activities of the ACC.