By: Alex A. Bah
In a community engagement on the work of the Commission and awareness raising on the Grievance Redress Mechanism (GRM) in the Social Safety Net (SSN) Program, of the COVID-19 Emergency Response, residents of Musaia Town, Dembelia, Musaia Chiefdom, Falaba District, North East, Sierra Leone, embraced the anti-corruption messages conveyed by the ACC and further registered their undivided commitment to the fight against corruption. The outreach engagement which took place at the Musaia Community Centre on Thursday 16th December, 2021, attracted over One Hundred (100) participants, which included SSN beneficiaries, community stakeholders, youth groups, nurses, teachers, market women, and civil society activists.
Dilating on the Grievance Redress Mechanism (GRM) aspect of the SSN program which the Commission superintends in the Social Safety Net (SSN) project, Director, Public Education and External Outreach ACC, Patrick Sandi informed his audience that the Commission’s interest in the project is to ensure integrity and sanity in the disbursement of funds to enlisted qualified beneficiaries, whom are most affected by the COVID-19 scourge, and are wallowing in abject poverty. “These funds are provided by World Bank to alleviate the sufferings of people and monies must reach the intended beneficiaries and positively impact their lives. This is the reason why the Commission provides its oversight role to supporting the National Commission for Social Action (NaCSA) in implementing this program”, he averred.
Mr. Sandi commended the people for their interest and support in the fight against corruption, and further encouraged them to take more robust stands to advance the values of integrity and refrain from participating in or condoning corruption.
Umarr Kargbo, District Monitor of the ACC in Falaba, said that since he started working with the people of Falaba District in the aforesaid capacity, they have shown nothing but willingness and cooperation to the work of the Commission in its stride to curb graft and promote integrity. He furthered that part of the Commission’s effort in achieving its mandate, is the reason why it engages in sensitization programs to stimulate their desire in supporting the fight, and promote the values of integrity.
Communications Officer ACC, Alex A. Bah whilst providing update on the activities of the Commission; its innumerable convictions since it established the special Anti-Corruption Division in the High Court with five dedicated judges to sit on corruption matters, the over Thirty Five (35) Billion Leones stolen funds recovered, and paid into the Consolidated Revenue Fund, and the local and global approval received, he encouraged the people to continue supporting the work of the ACC by making suspected corruption or corruption related reports. In that regard, he provided the Commission’s Toll Free Lines of 515 or 077985985/077986986, or to visit any of its offices in Freetown, Bo, Kenema, Makeni, Kono and Port Loko.
Mr. Bah assured the people of their protection as whistleblowers, but strongly advised them not to make any false and malicious reports. He noted it is crime that is punishable by the Anti-Corruption Law.
Earlier, welcoming the ACC team to the district, the Town Chief, Sorie Kamara expressed his immense delight, noting that this is the second visit of the ACC in just a short period after the Commissioner recently visited them with integrity messages. “We have so far by your efforts realized how much commitment is required of us to fight corruption that is destroying our country. In our own way, we promise to imbibe your anti-corruption messages and translate them in our everyday lives and activities”, Chief Kamara maintained.
Questions and answers session climaxed the engagement.