3rd August 2021
ACC WARNS PERSONNEL AT MILE 38 CHECKPOINT AGAINST EXTORTION
In its effort to curb bribery and extortion at security checkpoints in the region, the North-West Office of the Anti-Corruption Commission has on Friday 30th July 2021 engaged Police, Military, forestry guards and Road Safety personnel deployed at the Mile 38 Check to warn them against such practices.
There have been numerous complaints from the public and resentment about the infamous Mile 38 Check Point relating to extortion and collection of bribes and other corrupt practices prevalent at the checkpoint.
Explaining the purpose of the meeting, the Public Education Officer Mohamed Thullah said the rationale of convening the meeting with the SLP and other personnel at the checkpoint was to educate and sensitize public officers on various corruption matters, bring to light various corruption offences relating to the conduct and operations of personnel and to educate them on the ACC 2019 Amendment Act and to solicit their support in the fight against corruption.
Addressing personnel at the meeting held at the Command Office at the checkpoint, the Regional Manager, Al-Hassan Sesay said the Mile 38 Checkpoint is one of the major gateways to Sierra Leone and noted that most times negative perceptions about the country are fuelled by the negative attitude of personnel at the checkpoint. He said demanding bribes from ordinary travellers and those transporting goods is not a rare occurrence and that such extortion is glaringly executed to inject feeling of legality into the act. "Anyone found in any corrupt practice will face the full force of the law," he emphasized.
Explaining key corruption related offences to personal deployed at the checkpoint at the meeting, the ACC Regional Manager made a comprehensible presentation of offences in the Anti-Corruption Act relating to offering, soliciting and accepting advantage, influencing a public officer, corrupting a public officer, soliciting an advantage on behalf of a public officer, abuse of office and position, misappropriation of public funds, protection of public revenue and receiving gift for corrupt purpose among other things. He warned them to be mindful of the anti-corruption laws and their interaction with the public when performing their duties.
He also informed them that soliciting and receiving advantage on behalf of a public officer constitute an offence in the Anti-Corruption Act. He therefore warned them against the practice of using hawkers as intermediaries in receiving bribes.
Public Education Officer Mohamed Thullah who spoke on ethics in the workplace said public bodies are created and regulated by law with defined roles and responsibilities that are germane to responsibilities and duties of public officer occupying those positions. He stated that ethics as a key component of integrity regulates the conduct, attitude and behavior of public officers to be professional in the line of duty and encouraged them to maintain high ethical standards in their daily operations. On the protection of public funds, PEO Thullah noted that government revenue collected as fines particularly by SLRSA and Ministry of Agriculture officials must be protected and accounted for as stated by law. These funds, he said, must not be used or diverted on any private enterprise and also used the occasion to warn them against the practice of carding that will deprive government of the much needed revenue to address other social services.
Welcoming the ACC team, the Divisional Traffic Officer (DTO) Assistant Superintendent of Police Alfred Turay thanked the ACC Team for sensitizing his personnel on various issues of corruption and expressed belief that the knowledge gained will serve as a guide for all officers in discharging their duties. DTO Alfred Turay lauded the initiative to engage and educate personnel at the Check point adding that the sensitization meeting will help and guide their operations and also encouraged all public officers to do the right things and to be mindful of the law in the line of duty.
Questions and answers session, and the presentation of ACC's Information, Education and Communication materials formed part of the engagement.
ACC North-West Office