The Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) Regional Office in Kono has, on 30th November 2021, in a council meeting engaged Councillors of the Kono District Council to unreservedly support the campaign against corruption. The engagement which is dubbed as “Customised Meeting,” was held at the Council’s Hall, and attracted councillors and stakeholders across the district.
Welcoming the team from ACC, the Chairman of Kono District Council, Solomon Sahr Gbondo expressed delight in the relentless effort of the Commission in the fight against graft and the gains so far recorded. “The Council is extremely impressed with your work within the district and the more reason you have almost all the councillors within the district here to listen to what you have brought for us” he said.
In her statement on the purpose of the engagement, the Regional Manager, Hawanatu O. Kamara, said that the meeting was meant to solicit the undiluted support of councillors in the fight against graft. She further noted that councillors are “gatekeepers to development” and therefore, should be play active role as “Ambassadors” to the fight against corruption in order to enhance tangible and sustainable development in their Wards.
Hawanatu Kamara further stimulated the consciousness of councillors and council stakeholders to note that as a result of corruption, even though Kono is endowed with numerous natural resources, worst still, the said blessings are not reflective on the people and the district as a whole. She therefore entreated her audience to note that the people of Kono deserve better and the reason the ACC was in their midst.
Dilating on the achievements of the Commission within the last three years, ACC District Monitor, Patrick Hinga George, informed the audience that a guilty verdict on all three counts of corruption charges was recently slammed by the High Court in Kono against a Section Chief and a Former Councillor who are on remand for two weeks, awaiting sentence.
The District Monitor further revealed that the Commission remains uncompromising in executing its mandate and the reason for the overwhelming triumphs; and evidenced amongst other global corruption perception indexes; is the Millennium Challenge Corporation recent scorecard on the control of corruption indicator with an excellent pass of 83%.
Mr. George further stated that the priceless gains recorded by the Commission under the astute leadership of Francis Ben Kaifala Esq. have successfully rebranded the image of Sierra Leone and respectfully positioned her on the global stage. He concluded by reminding the audience that the fight against graft could be achieved with a concerted effort from all Sierra Leoneans.
In order to also enhance their knowledge on the available laws on corruption, the Investigation Officer, Sahid Sowa gave a succinct explanation of corruption offences as enshrined in the Anti-Corruption Act of 2008 and as amended in 2019. Sowa stated that fines and prison terms have been increased to a minimum of Fifty Million Leones and/or five years imprisonment respectively.
He also explained to the audience, prominent corruption-related offences including misappropriation of public and donor funds, abuse of office, soliciting and accepting advantage, failing to declare assets and liabilities, among others.
Also, the Public Education Officer, Sam P. Gogra injected confidence into the audience to report all forms of corruption related issues through the following toll-free lines: 515, 077-985-985 and 077-986-986. Mr. Gogra urged his audience to be fearless but also, be fair in reporting corruption as the law makes provision for the protection of whistle-blowers.
Responding to the submissions made, the Paramount Chief (PC) A.B.F. Ngongou II of Gbane Chiefdom thanked the ACC for its relentless strides in the fight against graft and pledged on behalf the Council his undivided support to the ACC by rejecting, resisting and reporting corruption at all times.
Questions and answers climaxed the meeting.