By: Alex A. Bah, Public Relations Assistant, ACC
The Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) on Thursday, 30th November, 2023, provided capacity building training to staff of the National Investment Board (NIB) at the NIB Conference Room, Lamina Sankoh Street, Freetown.
Welcoming the ACC team, Executive Director of the NIB, Edward Hinga Sandy, thanked the Commission for accepting the invitation to provide capacity building training to their “newly established institution that is finding its exact strength and footings.”
Mr. Sandy said that they are keen to be guided on their mandate and the very law that guides them especially on how they will coordinate with other relevant institutions. “The ACC is not just looking at graft or how much money is misappropriated, but also when you do not comply with processes and procedures," he said.
Mr. Sandy implored staff to pay rapt attention to the presentations.
Director of Intelligence and Investigations, Evelyn Kuyateh, in her presentation, spoke about what gives the Commission the mandate to fight corruption, referencing the United Nations Convention against Corruption (UNCAC), the African Union Convention on Preventing and Combating Corruption (AUCPCC) and the Anti-Corruption Act of 2008 as amended in 2019. She stated that the country has one of the strongest anti-corruption laws in the continent and it takes uncompromising posture in enforcing them.
She highlighted some of the corruption offences contained in the Act that are of particular relevance to the operations of the NIB; influencing a public officer, peddling influence, bid rigging, bribing a public officer to influence decision of a public body, public officer using office for advantage, conflict of interest, treating a public officer, receiving gift for corrupt purpose, failure to declare assets or flawed declaration, misuse of public property, among others.
She also warned them against accruing or being in possession of ill-gotten or unexplained wealth. "The Commission is not saying you should not be rich as a public officer, but you should always be in the position to explain your wealth," she averred.
Mrs Kuyateh empathically talked about Section 38 of the Act, which speaks to impeding investment as a very serious offence that the NIB should wary of.
Director of Prevention, Rashid Turay, explained what ‘Corruption’ is, generally, it types and what it constitutes especially within the context of Investment. He added that the fight against corruption covers the thematic areas of Procurement, Infrastructure, State-owned Enterprises, Customs Administration, Service Delivery, among others.
Mr Turay also dilated on how to identify corruption red flags in the workplace, including Conflict of Interest, Cosy Relationship with a Supplier, Misuse of Discretionary Powers, Lack of Rotation of Duty, Deficiency or Repeated Mistakes in Financial Transaction, Staff Resisting Internal Control Mechanism, Expensive Purchase especially by those managing resources, among others.
"Relieve yourself by declaring potential conflict of interest if you are part of a Committee that should award a contract to someone that you realize you have a relationship with," he stated. He said that investors must sign an integrity pact in the award of contract and they should have police clearance.
Mr Turay asked that staff of NIB should encourage whistle-blowing mechanisms, whilst advising them to protect whistle-blowers. He however advised they maximize internal audits and external audits whilst ensuring recommendations are well implemented.
"I advise you maintain a gift register because you will be dealing with investors. This is in your best interest as staff. But l will most importantly advise that you avoid accepting any such gift whatsoever in the conduct of your duties. I urge you all therefore to be organizing these types of anti-corruption refresher trainings regularly," he said.
Head of Policy and Ethics Unit, ACC, Musa Kanteh, in his presentation, spoke about ‘Integrity’, emphasizing its importance to staff that will be concerned with dealing with investors and investments. He said the country so much relies on their character and posture in a bid for potential investors to take the country as a serious destination for investment.
Mr. Kanteh climaxed his presentation with the words of Immanuel Kant:"Lose your wealth and you have lost nothing, lose your health and you have lost something. Lose your integrity and you have lost everything."
A question and answer session climaxed the training event.