Beneficiaries of the Social Safety Net (SSN) project in Bonthe District have on Thursday 15th June, 2023, hailed the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC), for its robust and uncompromising stance in ensuring transparency and accountability in the implementation of the SSN program, which is implemented by the National Commission for Social Action (NaCSA) with support from the Government of Sierra Leone (GoSL), World Bank and UNICEF.
This commendation was made at the District Council Hall in Mattru Jong, Bonthe District, where beneficiaries had converged to listen to anti-corruption messages from staff of the ACC.
In the testimony of one of the beneficiaries, Iye Abdulai said, the SSN cash she received has transformed her life by engaging in small scale business and providing food for her household. She lauded the ACC for its role in the project in ensuring that people the monies are meant for, receive the exact amount, coupled with the widespread sensitization regarding the operations and effectiveness of the grievance redress component in the project. There is openness, transparency, accountability, trust and integrity in the cash transfer process, Iye furthered.
Addressing his listeners, the Director, Public Education and External Outreach, ACC, Patrick Sandi underscored that, the funds are coming directly from the Government of Sierra Leone and the World Bank and must therefore be used for the correct purposes. He added that the ACC is poised to ensuring that beneficiaries are treated well and if there is any dissatisfaction, it should be made known to the ACC.
Mr. Sandi implored beneficiaries, to use the funds to transform the lives of their households and improve on their livelihoods. Updating the public on the work of the Commission, the Director said the ACC in the last five years has made recoveries in the sum of over Forty Five (45) Billion (Old) Leones cash from corrupt persons and institutions, despite court fines, houses, office equipment and vehicles.
Director Sandi also informed his listeners of the over fourteen (14) comprehensive systems reviews conducted in MDAs; in order to remove monopoly and eliminate incentives for corruption in these institutions; the over 90% conviction rate, and the existence and functionality of a modern Special Anti-Corruption Division within the High Court of Sierra Leone. Integrity Management Committees are effective in over 90% of MDAs, Mr. Sandi asserted.
Making her presentation on the role of the SSN Beneficiaries, Senior Communications Officer, Margaret Jones, said, the unconditional cash paid to beneficiaries is to enable the household to provide food, address health issues, and engage in small businesses to make them self-reliant.
Madam Jones highlighted the many favorable stories of persons who have benefited from the SSN funds, noting that, it is an act worth emulating by other recipients of the SSN funds.
In his explanation of how, where and to whom, to report if anybody experience corruption, Mohamed Brandon Kutubu, District Monitor, Bonthe said, there are so many benefits for reporting corruption to the ACC. In doing so, the person does not only expose the corrupt, but also performs a civic duty. He informed ALL, of ACC’s Reward Scheme and the Policy on Whistleblower and Witness Protection. He read out the free lines they should call to make reports-077-985-985 or 077-986-986, but can also make reports/complaints to the District and Community Monitors in the District.
In his welcome statement, Hassan Sheriff, the Human Resource Officer of the Council, who also chaired the meeting, thanked the ACC for the sensitization engagement. He pledged his people’s unflinching support to the SSN implementation. Mr. Sheriff expressed gratitude to all the major players implementing the SSN program-the GoSL, World Bank, UNICEF, ACC, Statistics SL, and Rokel Commercial Bank, and further assured them of the Council’s support.
The meeting ended with the presentation and distribution of the SSN information, education and communication materials to all SSN Beneficiary communities.