University Students in the Regions determines to Fight Corruption
A team from the Public Education and Outreach Department of the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) led by the Public Relations Officer, Alhassan Kargbo, has conducted a ten days public awareness raising campaign in different secondary and tertiary institutions in the regions.
The ten-day campaign ran from 19th -29th November 2013.
The team visited the University of Makeni (UNIMAK), Northern Polytechnic and St. Francis Secondary School in the North; Njala University and the School of Community Health Services in the South; and the Freetown College of Management and Accountancy in the eastern city of Kenema.
The objective of the campaign among other things is to increase public understanding of corruption and corruption related issues by making corruption a high risk venture with little or no profit.
Making his presentations at the different campuses of the institutions, Mr Kargbo explained the mandate, powers, functions and challenges of the Commission. He said it is important to keep students abreast with issues pertaining to the Commission and to also get them on board the fight against corruption. Mr. Kargbo educated the students about the contents of the Anti Corruption Act of 2008, which makes the Commission as an autonomous body to prevent, educate, investigate and prosecute public officials suspected of committing any of the offences in the Act, including misappropriation of public/donor funds and property, bribery, un-explained wealth, peddling influence and conflict of interest. He emphasised that any of the offences could carry a fine or custodial sentence or both.
Mr Kargbo further explained the three pronged approach used by the Commission in the fight against corruption-prevention, education and prosecution. He referred to this approach as the carrot and stick approach, wherein the failure of the preventive methods could usher in punitive measures through prosecution.
The ACC PRO disclosed that even though the ACC did not win a few of its cases in 2013, the Commission had secured convictions in over 70% of its cases in court. He also expressed the need for public support and collaboration with other public institutions especially the judiciary without whose support, the fight against corruption cannot be won.
Mr. Kargbo also spoke on the successes of the Commission’s efforts in the fight against corrupt, as shown by the country’s rankings in indices conducted by international organisations. He mentioned the Transparency International Global Corruption Index, the MO Ibrahim Index on Good Governance, the Afro Barometer Report and the TI Global Barometer Report as instruments that show that the country is making headway in the fight against corruption, and therefore assured the audience of the Commission’s resolve in the fight against Corruption.
During the interactive sessions students expressed dismay over corruption revelation and committed themselves to join the ACC in the fight against corruption.