By Sulaiman B. Sowa
The Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) Eastern Regional office has engaged the management of the Kenema Government Hospital and raised public concerns of alleged corruption issues in the Hospital. The engagement, which is part of the Commission’s public education and prevention approach in the fight against corruption, took place on the 30th September 2021, at the Government Hospital in Kenema.
ACC’s Senior Public Education Officer Sulaiman B. Sowa said, the engagement was not an investigation drive but rather meant to address complaints of corruption in the Hospital and ensure effective health service delivery.
Deliberating on concerns from the public, Mr. Sowa said they range from the sale of free healthcare drugs to absenteeism by nurses. “These allegations suggest systemic and integrity issues and they have the tendency to make the Hospital dysfunctional,” he added.
Mr. Sowa furthered that, the Commission decided to bring them to the attention of the hospital management for prompt actions. He referenced the recent memorandum of understanding signed by the Commission and the Ministry of Health which is geared towards strengthening collaboration between the two institutions in order to fight against corruption in healthcare delivery. He therefore called on the hospital management to work with the Commission to help ward off acts of corruption from the hospital.
Simplifying key offences in the Anti-Corruption Act of 2008 as amended in 2019, Quinton David, Investigation Officer, said all the allegations are linked to offences in the Anti-Corruption Act of 2008 as amended and they carry lengthy jail terms and heavy fines.
Mr. David singled out key offences such as, soliciting and accepting advantage, conspiracy, possession of unexplained wealth and misappropriation of public/donor funds. He emphasized that gifts received as an inducement or rewards amounted to corruption and that absenteeism may amount to corruption as salaries are earned and not rewarded for being absent from work. He therefore entreated all to play by the rules to prevent corruption and ensure better service delivery.
Delivering his statement, Medical Superintendent, Government Hospital Kenema, Dr. Ibrahim M. Kapuwa said the engagement did not only bring to their attention issues of corruption allegations raised by the public but also availed them the opportunity to be enlightened on the laws relating to the fight against corruption. He said such engagements are indicative of the need to enhance collaboration between the Commission and the Hospital in fighting corruption as was recently manifested in the MoU signed by the two institutions.
Dr. Kapuwa said, the concerns as raised by the public, will be taken into consideration when instituting measures geared towards preventing corruption at the Hospital.