The Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) Northeast Regional office, in its quest to build partnership and mainstream anti-corruption measures in public institutions, has held a customized sensitization meeting with the staff and management of Women’s Actions for Human Dignity- Sierra Leone (WAHD-SL), a non-governmental organization.
The meeting took place on Thursday 16th September 2021 at the conference hall of WAHD-SL, 3 Masuba Road in Makeni.
The Regional Manager of the ACC Mariama Navo impressed upon staff of WAHD-SL to adopt anti-corruption measures in their work, noting that “this is a call for best practices, accountability and transparency in the operations and activities of the organisation. It is not about how many cases of women you handle; but to change a single woman’s life carries a huge impact in society.” She admonished the organisation to uphold integrity as many temptations might come their way when there are funds to implement programmes.
Some people think the Commission has no business with the private sector. Miss Navo however said the current National Anti-Corruption Strategy mandates the ACC to look into activities of public and private sectors as long as they receive funds for and on behalf of the people of Sierra Leone. She said WAHD-SL should continue to control their internal processes, procedures and practices, adding “you cannot do humanitarian work without integrity.”
Public Education Officer of the ACC Abdul Karim Bangura registered the purpose of the visit as to strengthen the relationship between ACC and WAHDA-SL. He recounted a number of actions which the organization must do to partner with the Commission. He admonished them to team up with the ACC to defeat the common enemy of corruption. “The work of the Commission is not all about indicting people,” noting that more efforts are most times driven towards prevention and public education. He informed his audience about the recent deployment of prevention officers in the regions to help build systems and processes of institutions.
Mr Bangura warned that corruption is no longer a profitable venture as the 2019 Anti-Corruption (Amendment) Act now stipulates for any convicted person to pay restitution and serve a jail term of not lessthan five years or pay a fine of not less than Fifty Million Leones or such fine and imprisonment. He encouraged staff of WAHD-SL to be mindful of the offences while implementing their humanitarian work.
In her statement, the Director of WAHD-SL, Betty A. Sesay, expressed gratitude and appreciation to the ACC for the engagement, adding, “the knowledge gained today will enable us to pass on our messages to the communities we work with.” She expressed her desire to work with the ACC and formalize the collaboration and partnership through a memorandum of understanding (MoU). She assured the Commission of her willingness to incorporate ACC staff in their activities of monitoring and awareness raising.