As part of its institutional approach to preventing incidences of corruption in public sector institutions, the Kono Regional Office of the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) has engaged the management and staff of the Sefadu Correctional Center (SCC) in Kono, on various issues of corruption.
Speaking at the meeting held at the Office of the Officer in Charge on Tuesday 2nd August 2022, the Regional Manager, ACC Kono Office, Hawanatu Omotayo Kamara said the meeting was intended to inform and engage staff of the SCC on various corruption issues in order for them to inculcate ethical values in the discharge of their duties.
In her presentation to the SCC staff on key corruption related offences, the ACC Regional Manager made a simplified explanation of offences in the Anti-Corruption Act 2008 (as amended in 2019) such as; offering, soliciting and accepting advantage contrary to Section 28, soliciting an advantage for a public officer contrary to Section 35, misappropriation of public funds and property contrary to Section 36, abuse of office contrary to Section 42, abuse of position contrary to Section 43, influencing a public officer contrary to Section 30, protection of public property and revenue contrary to Section 48 and receiving gift for a corrupt purpose contrary to Section 47.
She also pointed out that ACC operations are informed by the type of reports and intelligence received from all walks of life. The ACC Regional boss used the occasion to encourage staff to be mindful of the anti-corruption laws and their interaction with the public when performing their official duties.
Manager Kamara informed them that the 2019 Amendment Act of the ACC has empowered ACC to cancel all contracts deemed not to be in the interest of the public or a section thereof, strengthened the asset declaration regime, introduced trial in absentia, legalized the out-of-court settlement, criminalized examination malpractices and increased the punishment for offences from Thirty Thousand New Leones (Thirty Million Leones in the old currency) or three years imprisonment to Fifty Thousand New Leones (Fifty Million Leones in the old currency) or five years imprisonment. On this note, she encouraged them to maintain best practices and inculcate ethics and anti-corruption measures in the discharge of their duties. She commended the SCC for their continued support in the implementation of the National Anti-Corruption Strategy adding that SCC is the only Government institution that sent a report of their IMC meeting to the Commission in the region.
In his welcome remarks, the Officer in Charge of the Correctional Centre, Abu Bakarr Kabba thanked the ACC Team for their patience to engage and sensitize staff on various matters of corruption which he said, will guide their operations and enhance collaboration. He expressed commitment to providing an enabling environment and a conducive atmosphere for staff and inmates.
Public Education Officer, Hawa Deen Conteh who spoke on ethics in the workplace stated that ethics as a key component of integrity controls the conduct, attitude and behavior of public officers to be professional in the line of duty. In terms of internalizing the fight, she said Integrity Management Committees (IMC) provide a road map to the fight against corruption in Government institutions especially service delivery institutions adding that, a functional and an operational IMC will ensure strong internal controls to address corruption vulnerabilities in MDAs. She also highlighted various methods of reporting corruption to ACC and mentioned that whistle blowers are the most important assets in the fight against corruption. She encouraged them to maintain high ethical standards in their daily operations.
Questions and answers session together with presentation of ACC's information, education and communication materials climaxed the occasion.