9th July 2020
The Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) Sub-regional Office in Kono has encouraged staff of District’s COVID 19 Emergence Response Centre (DICOVERC) to maintain prudent use and management of funds and property donated to contain the pandemic. This took place in a customized meeting held at Diamond Star Lodge in Koidu City, on 7th July, 2020.
According to the ACC Sub-Regional Manager, Hawanatu O. Kamara, the Commission is strongly inclined to stifle possible misappropriation of public funds or property meant to check the spread of the disease. This, she explained, is accounted for by the Commission’s Corona Virus Disease Response Transparency Task Force, which is charged with ensuring integrity, accountability, and transparency in handling COVID 19 donations.
To achieve this goal, she added, “the ACC encourages both national and international Non-Governmental Organizations as well as other institutions, and individuals to disclose donations and pledges they make to promote the fight against COVID 19”.
She said that the ACC would swiftly investigate any report of suspected misuse of resources meant for the COVID-19 fight.
Mrs. Kamara further exhorted officials of the Kono DICOVERC to regularly keep the public informed about how resources are utilized at the Centre, emphasizing that this would indicate transparency and raise stronger confidence in Sierra Leoneans and donors themselves.
‘I urge the DICOVERC team in Kono to strive to abstain from corruption by maintaining the highest principles of integrity, transparency and accountability in carrying out your daily responsibilities. I would also want to let you know that keeping your records straight is just as important,’ she warned.
Speaking on corruption offences as enshrined in the Anti-Corruption Act of 2008 as Amended in 2019, Sahid Sowa, Investigations Officer, made specific references to Misappropriation of Public Funds or Property and Misappropriation of Donor Funds or Property. He dilated on the interpretations of the offences which, he said, should attract a fine not less than Le 50,000,000 or imprisonment for a period not less than five years, adding that convicts are liable to both such fine and imprisonment.
Responding to the anti-corruption message, Sahr Samuel Sam, the Coordinator of the Kono DICOVERC, commended the laurels scored by the Commission especially under the brilliant leadership of Francis Ben Kaifala Esq. He referred to the engagement with the ACC as an ‘impetus to work harder and better’, and pledged that he and his colleagues would be mindful of the law that appertains to public funds and property.