29th March 2023.
By Bernard Abass Kargbo, Public Education Officer-ACC
The staff of Public Education and External Outreach Department (PE&EOD) of the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC), on Tuesday 28th March 2023, held a customized engagement with the top management of the Rokupa Government Hospital, Eastern part of Freetown, to discuss issues bordering on instances of corruption, the Anti-Corruption Act (ACA) 2008, as amended in 2019, and the need to maintain integrity in the workplace.
Welcoming the team from the ACC, the representative of the Medical Superintendent, Dr. David A.V. Jonjo expressed his delight in hosting the ACC. He furthered that the engagement could not have come at a better time, “we appreciate the initiative of the ACC to grace us with their presence at this time as the Hospital is striving to perfection”. He urged his colleagues to take note of the messages that the ACC team will deliver as it will guide their operations. He further assured the ACC of Hospital Management’s commitment to upholding the tenets as prescribed by law.
In her submission, the Matron of the Rokupa Government Hospital Margaret Tity Sesay, in her statement, commended the Commission on their timely sensitization and prevention drive. She noted that knowledge of the offences as enshrined in the ACA 2008 as amended, will aid their dealings with the public. “It is a great feeling to know that most of the things we often overlook are corruption offences and that this meeting will be used as a guide in our work going forward”.
Acting Deputy Director, PE&EOD ACC, Michael Sesay discussed the operations of the Commission with the Hospital Team. He informed them that the ACC operates with different Departments with specific roles, like 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. He said that these Departments are responsible for the smooth running of the Commission.
Highlighting key corruption offences related to the targeted audience, Assistant Prosecutor, ACC Georgina C.M. Vincent Esq., highlighted various Sections within the ACA 2008 as amended that are mostly violated within the hospital system. She added that “we are taking the time to educate you on these offenses as most of you are not aware of them and one must know that ignorance of the law is no excuse”. Responding to some of the comments made by participants regarding 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, if a gift will make you act otherwise then it becomes an offence.
In the area of maintaining integrity, Public Education Officer ACC, Bernard A. Kargbo underscored what it entails to maintain integrity. He maintained 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 called upon them to always maintain these principles if they want to earn public acceptance and be in the good books of 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, in which participants were made to ask questions, make comments and suggestions to the ACC team.