The Public Education and Outreach Unit of the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) Northeast office has, on March 1, 2022, conducted an outreach meeting with leaders and other members of the Mayagba Community in Pakimasabong Chiefdom, Bombali district. The meeting was held to sustain with the Commission’s continued drive to educate the public on the dangers of corruption and the gains of its elimination with the active and undivided support of the public.
Senior Public Education Officer ACC, in the region, Abdul Karim Bangura, gave an overview of the dangers of corruption at the meeting. In addition to putting serious constraints on Government’s efforts to generate adequate funds to deliver on its many obligations to the citizenry, corruption fosters poor public service delivery and illegal businesses that further create huge financial losses for the Government. According to him, corruption also worsens poverty and threatens livelihoods.
Mr. Bangura pointed out that corruption prevails in rural communities in light of community leaders who connive with public officials and project contractors to misappropriate public funds and property. In many instances, he stressed, community members who are aware of such wrongdoings would rather prefer to be tight-lipped at their own expense. The Senior Public Education Officer therefore urged everyone in the meeting to report corruption and corrupt practices to the ACC in an attempt to contain the scourge in the interest of everyone. ‘You can report corruption to the ACC by calling toll-free lines 077-985-985 or 077-986-986 and 515,’ he urged his listeners.
The community was also informed about rigid anti-graft laws as the Anti-Corruption Act of 2008 was amended in 2019. Regarding penalties, the amended Act provides that a person found guilty of a corruption offence shall be, on one count, liable to a fine not less than 50,000,000 Leones or a prison term for at least five years, or both such fine and prison term. Mr. Bangura who delivered his statement in the people’s native Temne language admonished community members, especially the stakeholders, to abstain from corruption and save themselves from having to face the wrath of the law.
In her contribution, the ACC Northeast Manager, Mariama Navo, encouraged the community stakeholders to take ownership of the fight against corruption. Given the importance of their role, she said, the local leaders should serve as standard-bearers for transparency and accountability, urging them to defend the interest of the community over personal gain. Miss Navo then assured the leaders of the Commission’s unshaken resolve and determination to combat corruption in their community: ‘The ACC is ready to work with all communities and institutions to rid our country of corruption for the benefit of everyone regardless ethnicity or regional background.”
Amadu Kalokoh, the headman of Mayagba community, responded to the anti-corruption messages on behalf on his people. He confessed that the engagement was an opportunity for the whole community to know about what the Commission does in the interest of the country. He confessed that the community had been truly empowered to resist and report corruption to the ACC, while calling for more anti-graft engagements for more information and education on how to forestall corruption. ‘I thank the ACC team very much for their commitment to win the fight against corruption, and we are glad to be part of the struggle.’
The outreach sensitization meeting was marked by the presentation of IEC materials to the headman of the community.In another development, the ACC team interacted with teachers and pupils of the community’s Chester Heath Memorial Technical Junior Secondary School, who were similarly informed about the ills of corruption with focus on the education sector. Both the teachers and pupils were encouraged to strongly reject corruption and work towards achieving learning outcomes through hard work in order to develop the country’s human capital