The Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) has, on Tuesday, 30th June 2020, held an awareness-raising meeting with members of the Kono District Health Management Team (DHMT). Held in the DHMT’s Conference Hall, the engagement reflected the ACC’s target of empowering Government institutions with relevant information on the drawbacks of corruption, and the need to fight against the scourge for improved public service delivery and development.
Delivering the keynote address, the ACC Regional Manager in the District, Hawanatu Omotayo Kamara, described corruption as a major barrier to effective service delivery. She stressed that the costs of corruption in the country, in terms of cash loss, are huge with serious damage to the wellbeing of citizens.
Mrs. Kamara extolled the DHMT, making reference to their bravery, in helping to contain the spread of COVID 19 across the district. She however urged the health service providers to ensure they strictly observe integrity, transparency, and accountability in carrying out their commitment to the public.
‘As you are fully aware, the country as well as the world is badly affected by the outbreak of COVID-19. While the Government and its partners together with health care workers are trying to snuff out the pandemic, it is important to note that corruption is an equal foe and we should deal with it robustly as we are with COVID19 she averred.’
She opined that if the DHMT proved susceptible to corruption, more so under the present health challenges, effective health services to communities would be a tall order as such services to patients would be minimal and ineffective, and the death toll would likely go higher.
Investigations officer Sahid Sowa said, although the engagement had a prevention purpose, it was important to note that the ACC had not eased up its determination to launch continuous assault on corruption. As far as the Commission was concerned, he added, no one was above investigations, indictment, and prosecution in respect of all forms of corruption.
He made reference to the Anti-Corruption Act of 2008 as amended in 2019, quoting some examples of corruption offences and the penalties thereto. Mr. Sowa warned: ‘I would like to inform you that the ACC has no friends when it comes to investigating corruption matters. The law is applied squarely and fairly, and it is always safe not to be involved in any act of corruption, however strong the influence may be.’
Public Education Officer, Aiah P.M sourie, also made input to the discussions. He said the Commission could not fight corruption all alone, and that every effort needed to stifle the scourge would make significant difference. He further said, ‘Although the ACC takes the legal lead to combat corruption in Sierra Leone, it partners with institutions to win its cause. He therefore encouraged the DHMT to join the Commission to fight a good fight for the common good.
Speaking on behalf of the DHMT, Dr. Gerald M. Young, the District Medical Officer (DMO), said he appreciated the interaction with the ACC, as it served as a motivation to strive towards maintaining integrity, transparency, and accountability within the DHMT. He revealed that despite the challenges at the DHMT, they are trying very hard to uphold acceptable standards.
He encouraged his colleagues to consider the session with the ACC as a timely guideline in carrying out their responsibilities and duties to the public. ‘Don’t be involved in corruption. Do your work with integrity, and I am sure you will have no problems with the ACC,’ DMO emphasized.