2020

ANTI-CORRUPTION COMMISSION OF SIERRA LEONE

An independent institution established for the prevention, investigation, prosecution and punishment of corruption, corrupt practices and to provide for other related matters. 

Contact us on: +23278832131 or info@anticorruption.gov.sl
Address: Cathedral House, 3 Gloucester Street, Freetown, Sierra Leone.

Frequently Asked Questions


ANTI-CORRUPTION COMMISSION - FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

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It is a body established by an Act of Parliament to lead the fight against corruption in Sierra Leone. It was set up by the Anti-Corruption Act 2000 as the government’s response to dealing with corrupt public officials.  It is an independent body with powers to prevent and investigate reports of corrupt practices by public officials.  

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It was established in March, 2000.

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The Commission began operations in August 2000.

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The mission of the Anti-Corruption Commission is the effective prevention and control of corruption in all its forms and at all levels in Sierra Leone.

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The Commission was established to investigate instances of alleged or suspected corruption referred to it by complaint or otherwise and to take such steps as may be necessary for the eradication or suppression of corrupt practices; to prevent corruption and to educate, and to enlist and foster public support in the fight against corruption.

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The normal working hours in a week is from 8.30am to 4.45pm, Monday to Friday. Staff members are required to work for extra hours during the week and on weekends if the exigencies of the job so demands.

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The Commission will operate for as long as it takes to fight corruption such that it is no longer a threat to the stability and socio-economic development of the nation.

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The Government of Sierra Leone funds the Commission.

 

Over the years, the Commission has received funding also from GIZ, DFID, EU, IRISH AID.  

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The Anti-Corruption Commission’s logo has three main features: the National Flag, the Martial Eagle and the Motto.

 

The national flag is included in the logo to buttress the fact that the fight against corruption is a national one.  It also signifies the fact that if corruption is conquered the benefits will be realized by all Sierra Leoneans. The green colour in the flag represents agriculture, natural resources and our mountains; the white represents unity, peace and justice and the blue represents our unique natural harbour.

 

The martial eagle, whose head is placed in the center of the logo, is the largest and most powerful eagle of the open savannah.  It is often seen perched erect on a tree top waiting for its prey.  The Commission’s emphasis in using this species of eagle on its logo is not exactly on her predatory trait; rather, it is on her omniscient nature.

 

On this logo the martial eagle symbolizes an ever-present eye, watching every Sierra Leonean particularly functionaries in both the public and private sectors, as they carry out their varied functions.

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Corruption is commonly defined as “the abuse of public office for private gain”. It has also been defined as the abuse of entrusted power for personal gain or for the benefit of a group to which one owes allegiance. In our local parlance it is sometimes referred to as “yuki yuki” (shady deeds).

 

The Anti Corruption Act does not define the terms “corruption” or “corrupt practices”. However, the Act refers to a number of practices as corrupt practices. These are as follows:

 

  • CORRUPT ACQUISITION OF WEALTH: A public officer is guilty of corrupt acquisition of wealth if after investigation by the Commission, that he is found in control or possession of any resources or property or in receipt of the benefit of any advantage which may reasonably be suspected of having acquired or received corruptly or in circumstances which amount to an offence under this Act.

 

  • SOLICITING OR ACCEPTING ADVANTAGE: Any public officer who solicits or accepts any advantage as an inducement or reward on account of performing or abstained from performing any act in his capacity as a public officer; is guilty of an offence.

 

  • USING INFLUENCE FOR CONTRACTS: Any person who, whether in Sierra Leone or elsewhere, offers an advantage to a public officer as an inducement or reward for giving assistance or uses influence on any public officer for a contract commits an offence.

 

  • CORRUPTING PUBLIC OFFICER: Any person who, while having dealings of any kind with any public body, gives any advantage to a public officer or any other person to influence any public officer is guilty of an offence.

 

  • SOLICITING OR ACCEPTING ADVANTAGE FOR PUBLIC OFFICERS: Any person who solicits or accepts any advantage for or on behalf of any public officer is guilty of an offence.

 

  • MISAPPROPRIATION OF PUBLIC FUNDS OR PROPERTY: Any person who misappropriates public revenue, public funds or property is guilty of an offence.

 

  • IMPEDING FOREIGN INVESTMENT: Any public officer who knowingly performs or abstains from performing any act in his capacity as a public officer in order that a non-citizen investor or potential investor is coerced, compelled or induced to abandon his investment or, as the case may be, is prevented from proceeding with his initial investment, to the advantage of any other person is guilty of the offence of corruption in respect of foreign investment.

 

  • CORRUPT TRANSACTIONS WITH AGENTS: Any agent who, without lawful authority or reasonable excuse, solicits or accepts any advantage as an inducement to or reward for or otherwise on account of his performing or abstaining from performing or having performed or abstained from performing any act in relation to his principal affairs or business is guilty of an offence.

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The Act prevents public officers from soliciting or accepting an advantage. It also prohibits the offering of an “advantage” to public officers as an inducement or reward in order to influence a contract.

 

In the Anti-Corruption Act “advantage” includes

      • Any gift, loan, fee, reward or commission consisting of money or any valuable security or other property or interest in property.

      • Any office, employment or contract

      • Any payment, discharge or liquidation of any loan; and

      • Any other benefit or favour (except entertainment).

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            The Act does not define a gift. However, if for example, the gift was given as an inducement to or reward for or otherwise on account of the public official performing or abstaining from performing any act in his capacity as a public officer then it will be considered as a corrupt practice.

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            The Anti-Corruption Commission is mandated to provide for the prevention of corrupt practices:

 

Ø           By taking necessary measures for the prevention of corruption in Government ministries, departments and other public bodies including instructing, advising and assisting any person or authority on ways in which corruption practices can be reduced.

Ø           By educating the public away from involvement in corrupt practices and by soliciting public support in the fight against corruption.

Ø           By investigating instances of alleged or suspected corrupt practices referred to it by any person or authority or which comes to its attention by way of complaint or otherwise.

 

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The Commission uses a three-pronged approach of public education, corruption prevention and confrontation to fight corruption. 

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            The Act puts a lot emphasis on public officers, but that does not limit the Commission to public officers only. Some of the offences created in the Act can apply to persons who are in the private sector. If a person from the private sector while having dealings of any kind with any public body, gives any advantage to a public officer or any other person to influence any public officer that person is guilty of an offence under the Act.

 

The Commission has also engaged the private sector in its prevention and public education work. The Commission is committed to promote effective standards of integrity, transparency and accountability in the public and private sector.

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            The Act gives the Commission the mandate to cover the entire country. The Commission at present has five offices outside the capital, Freetown. These offices are in Bo, Makeni, Kenema, Kono and Port Loko in the south, north and east regions of Sierra Leone. District Monitors have been deployed to all sixteen districts in the country to support the Social Safety Net (SSN) programme and public sensitization on the ills of corruption.

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            Yes. The Anti Corruption Act 2008 states that any person who whether in Sierra Leone or elsewhere offers an advantage to a public officer as an inducement is guilty of an offence. The Act also states that any public officer who, whether in Sierra Leone or elsewhere solicits or accepts any advantage as an inducement to or a reward is guilty of an offence.  Sierra Leoneans in embassies and consular abroad fall within this category.

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            Yes it does. The Anti-Corruption Act 2008 defines a public body as including any organisation, whether local or foreign, established to render any voluntary social service to the public or any section thereof or for other charitable purposes, which receives funds or other donation for the benefit of the people of Sierra Leone. 

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According to the Anti-Corruption Act 2008, a public officer is a holder of a public office. "public office" is an office in the service of the Government of Sierra Leone, and includes service in, the offices  of President, Vice-President, Minister, Deputy Minister, Attorney-General and Minister of Justice, member of  Parliament, Magistrate, Judge of the Superior Court of Judicature, and offices in the Armed Forces, the Police Force,  a public corporation or on the board thereof; a local authority, any commission or committee established by or under  the Constitution or by or under any law or by the Government.

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            Yes.  In Part I of the Anti Corruption Act “public officer” is defined as a holder of a public office. Public offices are defined as including the offices of the president, vice-president, minister, deputy minister, etc.  The holders of all of these offices may be investigated by the Commission.

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            The Act does not exclude any Sierra Leonean from investigation. However the Constitution of Sierra Leone, which is the supreme law, gives the President immunity from prosecution whilst he is in office. Sub section of Section 48 of the Constitution provides that while “any person holds or performs the functions of the office of President, no civil or criminal proceedings shall be instituted or continued against him in respect of anything done or omitted to be done by him either in his official or private capacity.”

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            Yes. The Anti-Corruption Commission collaborates with other public and private bodies and with civil society. Some of the institutions the Commission works with include the Ministry of Finance, the Accountant-General’s Department, the Audit Department, National Public Procurement Authority, Office of National Security, the Sierra Leone Police, Parliament and its oversight committees and the National Accountability Group (NAG). The Commission also collaborates with a number of international organisations like Interpol.

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No, they are not.  They are public officials so they fall within the mandate of the Commission.

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Prevention has been recognized globally as one of the three fronts in which the battle against corruption is been fought. Corruption flourishes in weak systems. By undertaking preventive actions such as examination and reviewing of system and procedures, monitoring projects, work practices and public officials, holding corruption related workshops, promoting best practice guides, good corporate governance, ethics and codes of conduct, the incidents of corruption can be eliminated or drastically minimize thus resulting in improved transparency, accountability, effective service delivery, economic and social stability.

 

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1.            What is the work of a Prevention Officer?

 

           A Prevention Officer is mandated to prevent and eliminate opportunities for corruption in Government ministries, department and other institutions and organizations that fall within its mandate under the Act. In the execution of their duties, Prevention officers thoroughly study systems and procedures in public offices and review their work practices. Following the review they develop and recommend systems and procedures that promote accountability and help reduce or eradicate corrupt practices. Institutions are then advised about these recommendations and if implemented, Prevention officers monitor the implementation process so as to ensure compliance.

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            Yes. The Commission can institute prosecution of a corrupt officer on receipt of substantial evidence of a corrupt practice. The Anti-Corruption Act, 2008 states: Being an Act to provide for the continuance of an independent Anti-Corruption Commission for the prevention, investigation, prosecution and punishment of corruption and corrupt practices and to provide for other related matters. 

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            Yes. An investigating officer is authorized on behalf of the Commissioner may, without warrant, arrest any person upon reasonable suspicion of having committed or is about to commit an offence under this Act. 

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Indictment is a document of arrest that outlines charges levied against a corrupt person signed by the Commissioner of the Anti-Corruption Commission. 

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            Sierra Leone is a member of the United Nations and a signatory to the United Nations Convention Against Corruption (UNCAC).  A fundamental principle of the Convention is asset recovery. Several provisions of the Convention specify how cooperation and assistance are to be rendered in the case of embezzlement of public funds or confiscated property and subsequent return to its State of origin by providing proof of ownership or recognition of the damage caused to a requesting State. Effective provisions on asset recovery contained in the Convention are to support the efforts of States to redress the worst effects of corruption while, at the same time, sending a message to corrupt officials that there is no place to hide their illicit assets.

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            The Commission provides protection for anybody who informs the Commission of corrupt practices. The information and the identity of the informer will be kept secret between the Commission and the informer.

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Yes. Sub section (1) of section 6 of the Act provides that any person who wilfully—

a.         makes or causes to be made to the Commission a false complaint or report that an offence has been committed under this Act; or

 

b.         misleads the Commission by giving false information or making any false statement or accusation; commits an offence and shall be liable on conviction, to a fine not exceeding one million Leones or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding one year or to both such fine and imprisonment.

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            The Commission has powers to enforce the attendance of witnesses and examine them and to compel the disclosure of any information or the production of any accounts, books, documents or articles. Failure by a person or institution to cooperate with the Commission is an offence under the Act.

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No.  However, corruption cases are usually referred to specially assigned judges of the High Court.

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Yes. Education is very important in the fight against corruption; because public education of corruption would help the citizens to know about the evils of corruption and the benefits of a corrupt free country; which will strengthen the confidence of citizens to support the Commission in the fight against corruption. 

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            The Public Education and Outreach Department is engaged in educating the public against the evils of corruption and enlisting and fostering public support in combating corruption. The approach for accomplishing such public enlightenment includes but is not limited to the following: developing training and sensitization modules in anti corruption for use across the Pillars of Integrity; Media campaigns involving the use of print, electronic media and theatre; the strengthening of our integrity clubs in schools; Organising customised meetings with the three arms of government, and public and private institutions and with civil society; Building coalitions through the signing of Memorandums of Understanding (MOUs) with civil society and other institutions in the fight against corruption; Production of promotional materials such as billboards, t-shirts, bumper stickers, fact sheet on the Commission, posters and calendar and the publication of Newsletters; Mounting public lectures, symposia, seminars and workshops and including the anti corruption issues in syllabuses for educational institutions. 

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You can report corrupt practices to the Commission:

  • In person at Cathedral House, 3 Gloucester Street, Freetown or the Regional Offices.

  • By letter addressed to the Commission in Freetown or the Regional Offices

  • Mobile 077 985 985/077 986 986, 515 on all networks except Qcell.

  • Email – report@anticorruptionsl.gov.sl

  • Internet on our website www.anticorruption.gov.sl

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            Yes people can trust the staff of the Commission to make reports to them.  All reports are treated as confidential. The Act provides that the Commission shall provide every protection for the sources of its information.

 

The Commission’s Code of Conduct and Conditions of Services are full up with provisions regulating the treatment of confidential information. One of the core values of the Commission is that “(A)ll officers of the ACC will at all times perform their duties with the highest degree of integrity, objectivity, professionalism, honesty, competence, commitment, due diligence and without compromising on confidentiality.”

 

The code of conduct further provides that “(B) ecause the Commission’s work involves access to sensitive and confidential information that may come into their possession during an enquiry, investigation or consultation, Officers are required to use such information only in the performance of official duties.  Any breach of confidence may result in disciplinary action being taken against the Officer concerned.”

 

The code further provides that “Officers may not use information gained in the course of official duties to gain improper personal advantage or for any other person. Such use of information for improper advantage includes providing information from official records to any person outside the Commission for reasons not directly related to the work of the Commission.”

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Sub Section (2) of Section 4 of the Act provides that the Commission shall be accountable to the people of Sierra Leone.

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Yes. There is 10% reward for any corrupt case that is reported. For example in 2005 the Commission announced a financial reward of up to Le20, 000,000/00 (Twenty Million Leones) for information leading to the conviction under the 2008 AC Act

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            The Commissioner and Deputy Commissioner are appointed by the President of the Republic of Sierra Leone with the approval of Parliament.

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            Apart from the Commissioner and Deputy Commissioner all other staff members of the Commission are recruited by the Commission. The recruitment process is fair and open and appointment decisions will be based solely on merit. Management and executive vacancies will be advertised internally and externally to attract the best possible candidates for the position and encourage open competition. All applicants are subjected to a probity check before, during and at the end of their employment with the Commission

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Yes the Commission is an independent institution. Section 53 of the Act provides that the Commission shall not, in the performance of its functions, be subject to the direction or control of any person authority.

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            The Commission can point to a number of achievements.

 

  • Through its extensive prevention and education work it has been able to stimulate awareness amongst the citizenry of the country about the ills of corruption.

  • Monies misappropriated to the tuned of 30 Billions Leones have been recovered and paid into the consolidated fund to date.

  • There have been successful prosecution and convictions of corrupt individuals including Ministers and other political persons.

  • The Commission has reviewed systems and practices in a number of government ministries, department, and agencies. The ACC has introduced Best Practice Guides for government Ministries/Departments thus reducing the tendency for corruption.

  • By monitoring performances of public officers it has contributed to improved service delivery to the people at all levels and equity in resource distribution.

  • It has set up 27 Integrity Clubs in Secondary schools throughout the nation.

  • It has also set up Accountability Now Clubs (ANC) in almost all of the colleges

  • The Commission has also established Integrity Clubs for pupils in secondary schools

  • It has carried out radio and television programmes in sensitizing the nation on corruption.

  • The production of a National Anti-Corruption Strategy (NACS) for the Government of Sierra Leone until 2013.

  • The Commission was awarded the World Bank Integrity Award in 2010

  • The Commission also gained an award of excellence organised by the International Association of Anti-Corruption Authorities (IAACA) in 2010

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            A Pro-Active Unit has been created within the Investigations Department in the Commission. The Unit works closely with the intelligence Department to help collect information and intelligence which aids the Commission’s work.

 

The Prevention Department also undertakes proactive interventions. The Anti-Corruption Commission has paid unannounced visits to MDAs that are classified as high-risk and serious corruption proned areas to conduct investigative audit trails and systems review to forestall loss of revenue to government.

 

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Was Dissolved- Two members have been appointed by the President and Approved by Parliament

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            They are appointed by the President subject to the approval of Parliament.

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            They advise the Commission in areas of appointments and discipline, including termination and many staff related issues. They also serve as checks and balances to the powers of the Commissioner and the Commission. 

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            Broad based participation is crucial to the fight against corruption. It is the responsibility of the public to preach, practice, and uphold honesty and integrity and report incidents of corruption for the good of the nation.

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            This opinion is wrong. The Commission only considers investigation and /or prosecution of public officers if and only if it has evidence that an offence under the Act has been or is about to be committed. The Commission does not engage in witch-hunt activities and is not influenced by political views in the conduct of its work.

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            Yes. There have been a couple of instances of threats, molestation, and assault to some members of the Commission, and the Act states that Impeding and Obstruction of the work of the Commission is an offence 

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            Yes.  Sierra Leone signed the United Nations Convention against Corruption Resolution 58/4 of 31st October 2003, on the 9th of December 2003 and ratified it on 30th September 2004. Sierra Leone also signed the African Union Convention on Preventing and Combating Corruption on 9th December 2003 but has yet to ratify the same.

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            Under the current law, the only officials required by law to declare their assets are officials serving in Local Government Councils. The new Act will make provision for the declaration of assets of all public officials. Asset declaration is an essential preventive tool in deterring the illegal acquisition of wealth by public officials and as such holders of public offices are now been required to declare their assets.

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The National Anti Corruption Strategy (NACS) is Sierra Leone’s commitment to the fight against corruption. It involves every pillar of integrity within the state. 

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Pillars of integrity are blocks of institutions that make up for good governance in any country. The following are the pillars of integrity in Sierra Leone.

Legislative, Executive, judiciary, Auditor General, Ombudsman, Watch Dogs Agencies, Public Service, Media, Civil Society, Private Sector, International Actors.

 

The NACS therefore is a strategy that aims to make these pillars of integrity very strong in Sierra Leone. 

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a)    To put in place good ways of delivering service to the people

b)    To promote good conditions to prevent corrupt practices 

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The NACS envisions a Sierra Leone that is free from all forms of corruption where good governance and the rule of law prevail and support the reduction of poverty for all its citizens. 

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Is to prevent and constructively engage and confront corruption by proactively carrying out comprehensive education on anti-corruption at all levels of society

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The NACS has five principles as follow:

 

a)    Comprehensive approach to the process of reform

b)    Zero – tolerance for corruption

c)    Use of multiple measures in the fight against corruption

d)    Partnership

e)    Adherence to the rule of law.

 

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These are committees set up in all Ministries Departments and Agencies (MDAs) of government and other key institutions. They are expected to serve as watch dogs and also enforce established procedures and processes in their respective ministries departments and agencies.

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The composition is as follow:

 

a)    A Chairperson

b)    A vice Chairperson and

c)    Seven (7) standing members drawn from the different departments/units within the entity. 

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The Integrity Committee shall provide a supportive environment to ensure that the recommended actions in the NACS relevant to the entity are addressed within the stipulated time frame. 

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The responsibilities are as follow:

a)    Appoint a focal person in their entity

b)    Support the focal person to develop and update annual work plan.

c)    Track and address emerging corruption issues within the entity.

d)    Mobilize resources within their entity to implement their activities.

e)    Meet at least once quarterly.

f)     Make available its quarterly report to the Steering Committee.