By Sulaiman B. Sowa
Considering their primary function as a revenue generating agency, the Eastern Region Office of the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) has engaged staff of the National Revenue Authority (NRA) in Kenema on ‘Upholding Integrity in Revenue Generation’. The meeting was held at the NRA Office in Kenema on 20th April 2022.
Speaking on the topic, Senior Public Education Officer of the ACC Sulaiman B. Sowa described integrity as the foundation upon which behavioral patterns are regulated towards honesty and sincerity in public service delivery. He said further that the work of revenue generation comes with an associated risk of corruption but with a mindset of focusing on targets and imbibing a culture of integrity, the tendency of bribery can be minimized. Mr. Sowa therefore implored officers at the NRA to manage their expectations and lifestyles, noting that “one’s daily problem must not exceed one’s daily bread”.
Dilating on the offences in the Anti-Corruption Act 2008 as amended in 2019, Quinton David, Investigation officer, ACC, said the effects of bribery on revenue generation is immediate and costing on the economy of the country. He carefully explained some of the key offences in the Act including Misappropriation of Public/Donor Funds/Property, Conspiracy to Commit a Corruption Offence, Bribery and Unexplained Wealth, among others. He emphasized that each of these offences carries a minimum of 5 years in jail or a fine of Fifty Million Leones or both fine and jail term as the Judge may deem it fit. He referenced Section 7 of the Act as the cardinal section that gives the Commission the powers and responsibility to do everything necessary to prevent corruption.
Mr David also drew the attention of his audience to the Asset Declaration exercise, which he described as an integrity tool necessary to integrate accountability and transparency in public service. He concluded by noting that without integrity it is easy to be sucked in a bad system than to stand out.
Responding, Head of the NRA Office in Kenema, George M. Bundeh, said that they do a delicate job which requires upholding integrity at all times. He said the Authority has done several systems reviews to prevent corruption, citing the integrated tax administration system that enables and facilitates electronic transactions without need for human interface. This, he notes, minimizes the risk of corruption in revenue generation. He concluded by acknowledging that integrity is key in effective revenue generation and therefore pledged their commitment to upholding same.