Consistent with the strategic implementation action plan of the National Anti-Corruption Strategy (NACS) 2019-2023, the NACS Secretariat, on November 15, 2022, held an interactive meeting with key participants from eight local councils, including all five councils in the Northern-East region, Kono District and Koidu New Sembehun City, and Karene District Councils, as well as the media. The meeting took place at the Anti-Corruption Commission’s North-East region office, Mena Hills, in Makeni to principally reveal the findings and recommendations of the third and fourth quarters of 2021 draft NACS Monitoring Report.
Before the presentation of the draft report, the Director of the NACS Secretariat, Nabilahi Musa Kamara, stated that the country has seen three regimes of the working strategic action plan against corruption since 2005, with the current fourth one running to the end of 2023.
The establishment of the NACS, according to the Director and Lawyer, is in sync with Article 5 of the United Nations Convention against Corruption (UNCAC), which states that State Parties ‘develop and implement or maintain effective, coordinated anti-corruption policies’ to foster public participation, the rule of law, integrity, transparency and accountability. As such, the current national strategy, he pointed out, is a roadmap that reflects the views and opinions of the citizens on how to effectively combat corruption from 2019 to 2023.
The Director further noted that, NACS is a major aspect of the ACC’s prevention measures as it carries out ‘structural interventions’–meaning, to coordinate the implementation of NACS through the Office of the Commissioner as provided in Section 5 (1c) of the Anti-Corruption Act of 2008 as amended in 2019 – to curb graft within Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) and local councils. The Prevention Department, on the other hand, is engaged with ‘process interventions’, that is; it ensures that those structural mechanisms by NACS function well and fully. He emphasized that although these two arms are different, they are mutually reinforcing to securing the goals of the ACC.
Mr. Kamara thanked the councils represented in the learning and sharing session for their continued support in the fight against corruption and stellar performance in complying with implementing their action plans as shown in the draft monitoring report. ‘The report is comparatively analytical, comprehensive and shows that local councils have performed better than MDAs,’ he averred.
Making her contribution, the Deputy Director of NACS Secretariat, Edita Fofana, congratulated the councils on their impressive performance in fighting corruption in their different localities. She however cautioned the participants that the findings of the report should serve as a motivating factor to do much more by the end-line evaluation of the implementation action plans in March 2022. Similar sentiments were expressed by Mariama Navo, who heads the ACC’s North-east Region office.
Debuting the Report, Moses Bangura, Senior Monitoring and Compliance Officer, ACC, mentioned that amongst other reasons the presentation created an opportunity to identify challenges and map out strategies to better perform at implementing the remaining action plans for NACS 2019-2023. He added that the report looked at four thematic areas, namely; internal audit, administration, human resource, and procurement to determine the merit of the local councils with respect to their action plans, on the scale of 0 -100%
According to him, the local councils were graded on a standard formula provided in the ACC’s Compliance Management and Sanctions Enforcement Procedure Handbook, which was published with funds from the Open Society Initiative for West Africa (OSIWA) in July 2020.
Based on the draft report, Bombali District and Makeni City Councils fully complied with each scoring 100%; Koinadugu District, Karene District, and Koidu New Sembehun City Councils scored 90%, 92%, and 93% respectively; while Tonkolili District, Falaba District, and Kono District Councils significantly performed scoring 82%, 80%, 80% respectively. Comparative to the 1st and 2nd quarter performance rating, the performance of these local councils in the 3rd and 4th quarter was marvelous.
The introduction of the draft monitoring report ended on a note of encouragement to do much more to prevent corruption in the local councils, and a pledge by the media actors to inform the public about the work of the NACS and the incredibly impressive performance of the local councils.