The Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) has concluded an awareness raising event with ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs) in Bo to popularize the Compliance Sanctions Management Procedure Handbook for public institutions. The event took place on Monday 1st November 2021at the Conference Hall of the Commission’s Southern Region office in Bo.
The handbook was developed by the ACC’s Prevention Department with support from the Open Society Initiative of West Africa (OSIWA). It serves as a blueprint for MDAs to be able to carefully implement recommendations that emanate from systems and processes reviews.
In his statement, Director of Public Education and External Outreach Department, Patrick Sandi underscored the importance of the engagement, noting that it was intended to increase public sector workers’ understanding on the compliance handbook. Mr. Sandi said that although the Commission uses several strategies to combat corruption, prevention is one of the most effective. “Prevention resonates with many progressive nations in the world than that of investigation and prosecution,” he said.
Director Sandi admitted that the ACC has always put prevention at the forefront of its fight against corruption in the country. “The prevention strategy is one which the Commission believes will go a very long way in addressing the problems of corruption in Sierra Leone,” he said. He however warned that the Commission’s focus on prevention does not in any way mean lawbreakers cannot not be investigated or prosecuted in court.
Mr. Sandi said that the Prevention Department has the primary responsibility to look into systems of MDAs with a view to conduct diagnostic study on them to identify problems, gaps, loopholes and make recommendations with a view that the MDAs will implement the recommendations from the review in order to reduce the corruption vulnerabilities. “After a period of three months, the monitoring and compliance team within the ACC will as well go to monitor those recommendations to assess how far the MDA has gone with implementation,” he said.
Mr. Sandi reminded them of the non-compliance sanctions enshrined in Section 8 of the Anti-Corruption Act 2008 as amended in 2019. The penalties, upon conviction for the abovementioned offence, he said, is a fine of not less than Five Million Leones, which will be levied on the head of the public body. In addition, he noted, disciplinary measures including dismissal or removal from office can be taken, notwithstanding the provisions of the letter of appointment or any enactment to the contrary.
Mr. Sandi described the handbook as a useful document which will enable MDAs to evaluate themselves, to see whether they are making progress or not in terms of: non-compliance, moderate compliance, significant compliance or full compliance. He informed them that it is during the monitoring process the compliance sanctions management procedure handbook will be used as a baseline to check or benchmark the implementation. Mr. Sandi said the ACC is popularizing the handbook so that it will guide the process of implementation and the process of fighting corruption through prevention.
Senior Regional Corruption Prevention Officer, Francis K. Lassayo, said the handbook was developed to ensure that systems review recommendations are adhered to for greater compliance. He noted that it also serves as a guide to state institutions and private sectors entities to take concrete steps to curb corruption.
The engagement was chaired by ACC’s Regional
Manager, South, Momodu Sittar, who stated that if review recommendations were
being adhered to by MDAs, they would address corruption issues and help improve