By: Alex A. Bah
The Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) has, on Friday 22nd April, 2022, in a community meeting held at the Lakka Community Center, Lakka, Freetown, shared vital anti-graft messages with the residents of the community. The meeting was attended by over 50 community members that included the Headman, Fishermen, Teachers, Religious heads and other various stakeholders in the community.
Welcoming the ACC team, Headman of the Lakka community, Foday Tucker expressed his delight for the presence of the Commission in their communities to provide a platform of interaction, noting the responsibility to fight against corruption and other vices challenging their community, rests on their shoulders. “Anti-Corruption Commission has finally come to the Lakka community, and has come to stay” Mr. Tucker stated, whilst encouraging his community members to pay rapt attention in the meeting and be champions to uphold integrity and share anti-corruption messages.
Establishing the purpose of the meeting, Communications Officer, ACC, Alex A. Bah, informed the residents that the Commission’s efforts in fighting corruption is fundamentally patterned on preventing its occurrence. He said that enlightenment is key as a way of educating the public on corruption, its dangers, and the work of the Commission and the importance of public support. He noted that this serves as a means to forestall any such act, and having community people serving as integrity ambassadors
Margaret Jones, Senior Communications Officer, ACC explained the operations of the ACC, zooming on the various Departments and Units, and the respective work they carry out with a view to minimizing corruption to the barest possible minimum.
Civil Society Partner Representative at the meeting from the West African Youth Network, Raymond Beckley, whilst talking on the role they play as CSOs in supporting the fight against corruption and promoting good governance and development, encouraged the residents to own the fight against corruption. He emphasized that the Commission relies on public support to win the fight as it cannot succeed without such support.
Outreach Unit Head, Musa Jawara premised his statement on educating the participants at meeting, on various activities of the Commission. He also talked about various corruption offences, penalties and mechanisms to make report. “It is your duty as a citizen to report corruption. This in fact is your civic right and responsibility and it behooves you therefore, to be nationalistic, and protect government resources and properties”, he averred.
Mr. Jawara furthered that as much as the commission encourages citizens to make reports, as they are protected by the ACC Act of 2008 as amended in 2019, there is also a penalty against individuals who will intentionally make false and malicious report, which will be meant to vilify a person’s character. He concluded by informing them about the 10% reward scheme to whistleblowers as an incentive to motivate and promote whistleblowing.
Various Community stakeholders who attended the meeting asked questions, and responses were provided accordingly.