30th March 2023.
By Bernard Abass Kargbo, Public Education Office – ACC
In its quest to disseminate and share anti-corruption messages with public officers, the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) through staff of the Public Education and External Outreach Department (PE&EOD) on Wednesday 29th March 2023, held a customized meeting with police officers at the Lumley Police Station Conference Room, Wilkinson Road in the Western part of Freetown.
The engagement aimed at educating police officers on the operations of the ACC, major corruption offences in the Anti-Corruption Act (ACA) 2008 as amended in 2019, and integrity in the fight against corruption.
In his welcome statement, Deputy Superintendent (DSP). Moses K. Tholley, representing the Local Unit Commander (LUC) was full of praises for the Commission’s move in going to sensitize them on its operations and integrity issues in the workplace, “we are thankful that the Commission has taken its time to come and explain to us officers on corruption-related issues” he furthered.
He further said that, they are ready to work with the Commission in winning the fight against corruption. He encouraged the ACC to continue the engagement with other Police Divisions in the Western Area.
Dilating on the operations of the Commission, the Acting Deputy Director, PE&EOD ACC, Michael Sesay informed officers of the Lumley Police Station that the ACC has different Departments and with specific roles. These Departments, like the Public Education which is to educate the public, the Prevention Department which is there to prevent the occurrence of corruption through the setting up of systems, processes, and procedures within MDAs, and the Intelligence and Investigation Department which gathers information on corruption related issues and investigate, among others. He said that these Departments are responsible for the all-round success which the Commission has been enjoying over the years.
Assistant Prosecutor, ACC Georgina C.M. Vincent Esq., in her presentation, highlighted key corruption offences as prescribed by ACA 2008 as amended, that are commonly contravened by police officers. She added that “we are aware of the fact that most officers do know the laws as enshrined in the ACA 2008 as amended, that is why the Commission through the PE&EOD are taking the time to educate the public and police officers on these crimes and one must know that ignorance of the law is no excuse”. On the issue of receiving gifts, she said “the danger about gifts is the motive and intent behind the gift. Does it induce someone to do or not do what he/she is paid a salary to do?” noting that, if a gift will induce you to act otherwise then it becomes an offence.
ACC’s Public Education Officer, Bernard A. Kargbo underscored what it entails to maintain integrity. He informed police officers that for one to be considered as having integrity, he/she should possess the tenets of honesty, transparency, accountability, and professionalism in the discharge of his/her duties. He encouraged the officers to always maintain these principles if they want to restore public and avoid getting into trouble with the Commission. “It is critical to establish and maintain integrity in the fight against corruption at both individual and institutional levels”, he added.
The engagement was climaxed by a plenary session moderated by Christiana F. Jusu, Public Education Officer ACC.