In its drive to instill integrity, transparency and accountability in the mining sector, the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) regional office in Kono District has engaged the management and staff of the National Minerals Agency (NMA) on best practices in the management of public funds and issues of integrity, transparency and accountability in the discharge of their duties. The meeting was held on Tuesday14th September, 2021 at the NMA office, D.O Barracks in Koidu.
Regional Manager of the ACC Hawanatu Omotayo Kamara said the meeting was intended to educate and engage staff of NMA on various corruption issues and to ensure that staff inculcate the said values in the discharge of their duties. She said that there is a need for the ACC and the NMA to foster effective partnership and collaboration as the mining sector is one of the strongest pillars of Sierra Leone’s economy.
Mrs Kamara also pointed out that the Commission has been receiving complaints and concerns from the public on the conduct of mining officers attached to the different chiefdoms in the district. She therefore admonished the staff to be more professional and to make a firm resolve against corruption.
The Kono District Monitor of the ACC Patrick Hinga George said that corruption should be seen as a common enemy, as it has been the main cause of the country’s stagnated growth. He also pointed out that corruption has accounted for the alteration and deviation of government’s goals and visions which has undermined development. He went on to note that working as a permanent or temporary staff makes all of the staff public officers and as such covered by the Anti-Corruption Act of 2008 as amended in 2019. He therefore urged the management to institute internal control measures that will guard against mismanagement of revenues collected and to ensure that activities and operations of the Agency are in consonant with best practices.
Commenting on key corruption issues, Public Education Officer of the ACC Sam P Gogra provided a concise explanation on related corruption offences including misappropriation of public or donor funds, abuse of office, influencing a public officer, corrupt acquisition of wealth, etc. He therefore reminded the NMA staff of the key provisions of the Anti-Corruption (Amendment) Act 2019, which has increased fines and imprisonment terms for persons convicted of corruption. Mr. Gogra underscored the importance of reviving the Agency’s Integrity Management Committee and the display of its service charter at all times. He encouraged them to always report acts of corruption to the Commission through the toll-free lines 077985985, 077986986 or 515.
The Regional Manager of the NMA office in Kono Kai Lebbie expressed gratitude to the ACC for the engagement, which he described as educating, timely and of great significance. He said the NMA works in consonant with the 2012 Mines and Minerals Act which gives them the mandate to regulate the operations of mining companies, dealers and miners. He said the Agency is a revenue generating institution and that the office in Kono has raised over six hundred million Leones (Le 600,000,000) so far this year. He pledged the NMA’s commitment to continue to generate the much-needed revenue from the country’s minerals in order to ensure the people of Sierra Leone benefit from their proceeds.