A team from the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) led by Musa Jawara, the Head of Outreach Unit, on Monday 9th May 2022, held an awareness raising and sensitization meeting with residents of the Rogbere Village in Port Loko District, North-West Region on the significance of the Social Safety Net (SSN) and the Grievance Redress Mechanism (GRM) component and also updated the public on progress made in the fight against corruption.
The outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, it would be recalled undoubtedly slowed down economic progress and negatively impacted the livelihoods of the poor beyond measure. The Government of Sierra Leone with support from the World Bank through the SSN/GRM project continued its support to cushioning the economic harshness by direct cash transfer every quarter the sum of One Million, Three Hundred and Nine Thousand Leones (Le.1,309,000/=) to beneficiaries.
Speaking at the meeting, Musa Jawara admonished residents of Rogbere to see corruption as the common enemy everyone must fight collectively. He urged them to be bold enough to report instances of corruption especially within the implementation of the SSN project. That our level of poverty is but the cause of corruption was emphasized by Mr. Jawara. He added that religious leaders must continue to help preach against corruption as the Holy Books are clear on the ills of corruption. On the aspect of recoveries the Commission has made so far, the Outreach Unit Head updated his listeners that the Commission has recovered over Forty Five Billion Leones (Le.45,000,000,000) in four years from 2018 to March, 2022. He further informed them about the Commission’s re-introduction of the ten percent (10%) Whistleblower Reward Scheme which provides that, anyone who aids the Commission with cogent information leading to the conviction or recovery of public funds and property.
Earlier, David Yusuf Kabia, Public Relations Assistant ACC catalogued the expectations of the Government of Sierra Leone and the World Bank in regard the SSN project. He encouraged them to wisely use the cash provided in order to cushion their difficult economic situations which the COVID-19 pandemic exacerbated.
Responding the people expressed their happiness for having a team from the ACC for the first time since its inception to talk about corruption and corruption related issues. In their contributions, they informed the Commission about the many suspected corruption matters in and around the community.
Hassan Suba Kanu, a community member, stated that the Police still solicit bribes for bail and other services. He boldly told the team that teachers still ask for money before giving out Report Cards to pupils or their guardians or parents.
Today’s engagement for the people of Rogbere was an eye opener considering that they now have been empowered by the Commission with contacts to report all instances of corruption through the toll free lines of the Commission.
Rugiatu Kamara, the Village Chairlady assured the Commission that no more will anyone suspected of involvement in corruption at Rogbere will go unreported and unpunished.
Questions and answers climaxed the engagement at Rogbere Village.