Engaging public sector institutions to espouse anti-corruption messages has enabled the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) to capacitate them with the requisite knowledge in order to build an effective accountable and transparent system. Cognizant of the foregoing, the Southern Region office of the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) held a customized meeting with personnel of the Bo Correctional Service at their Conference Hall, Bo City, on Tuesday 25th January 2022.
In his statement, ACC Senior Public Education Officer, Abdulai Saccoh reminded personnel of the Sierra Leone Correctional Service of their duty to protect society by keeping inmates in secure and humane conditions whilst encouraging and actively assisting in their rehabilitation and re-integration. Saccoh acknowledged the challenges faced by public sector institutions noting that, such constrains would remain if their operations are inundated with corruption. He asserted that greed and selfishness are considered to be the incentive for the involvement by many into corruption. Mr. Saccoh furthered that the unavailability of laboratory reagents, inadequate supply of stationery, non-availability of office equipment, lack of supply of personnel uniform, no evidence of training policy are amongst the issues captured in the report. Saccoh recognized that the aforementioned issues should not be treated with levity because if they remained unresolved the country’s glorious transparent and accountability credential would be undermined. He appreciated the conscious efforts which have been directed by many institutions to improve on their accountability and transparency record but stated that the Commission will take appropriate actions against defaulting institutions.
Speaking at the engagement, ACC Senior Corruption Prevention Officer, Francis K. Lassayo described auditing as a process which sheds light on grey areas in Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) that suggest either a breach of processes and producers or failure to take proper actions in the interest of the institutions. Mr. Lassayo outlined some of the interventions the Commission has made in the Sierra Leone Correctional Service with the setting up of Integrity Management Committees (IMCs) and conducting systems reviews on MDAs to ensure proper systems are put in place to guide the operations of the institution. He said ACC does not derive pleasure in putting people behind bars but will stop at nothing in prosecuting the corrupt. Mr. Lassayo dilated on some of the corruption offences in the Anti-Corruption Act 2008 as amended in 2019. He told them that upon conviction on any of the offences in the Act, the penalty is a fine of not less than fifty million Leones or prison term of not less than five years or suffer both fine and imprisonment.
The Public Education Officer ACC, Yangie Deborah Sesay said the engagement was to enable personnel of Bo Correctional Service understand the Commission’s position in regard the Audit General’s Report 2020 Annual Report and drew their attention to some of the issues cited in the report relating to their institution. Madam Sesay reiterated the Commission’s willingness to working with public and private institutions to mainstream anti-corruption measures and encourages Heads of Units to institute internal control measures to mitigate corrupt practices.
Earlier, Assistant Director, Correctional Service South, Moses Sonny commended the ACC for enlightening on the audit report and assured the ACC team that actions will be taken to address the issues though some have already been resolved. He urged his colleagues to heed to ACC advice and work within the ambit of the law.