The Public Education and External Outreach Unit, of the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) Southern Region, has enlightened residents in Bumpe Town, on some of the illegal practices that have the tendency to hinder the genuine efforts directed towards improving socio-economic wellbeing of rural community. The engagement which was held at the Native Adminsitrative Court Barray, Bumpe Town, Bumpe Ngao Chiefdom, Bo District on Friday 19th August, 2022 attracted chiefdom functionaries and residents from various walks of life.
Speaking at the meeting, ACC, Senior Public Education Officer, Abdulai Saccoh acknowledged that despite the challenges rural communities are confronted with, the situation can only improve when residents do not settle for less and hold duty bearers accountable. Saccoh emphasized that corruption transcends beyond region and status and its disastrous effects undermines the delivery of quality of education, health, infrastructural projects, protection of the environment and the living conditions of citizens. “If corruption continues to go unchecked it will erode public trust, waste public resources, exacerbate injustice and poverty, undermine resource mobilization efforts and deprived vulnerable groups in society” Saccoh asserted.
He admonished chiefdom stakeholders to abstain from using customs and traditions as an excuse to extort money from the people, noting that, such act is punishable by the Anti-Corruption law. Mr. Saccoh shed light on certain ill-practices which some public sector institutions are alleged to have been engaged in, such as, soliciting of bribe, extortion of money for bail, poor management of chiefdom funds, abuse of discretionary power, poor dispensation of justice at local courts, misappropriation of school fees subsidy etc. Mr. Saccoh said the above-stated acts do not only continue to wreck untold sufferings on innocent people but also undermine socioeconomic growth.
He explained key corruption offences as contained in the Anti-Corruption Act (ACA) of 2008 as amended in 2019 and told participants that the law is no respecter of person, and that the Commission will stop at nothing to invoke the necessary provisions to punish offenders.
Public Education Officer, ACC, Mohamed A. Kabba said, public awareness engagement is an integral strategy to equip citizens with the required knowledge so that they would be in a better position to resist, reject, and report corruption. He therefore noted that the meeting was intended to empower residents and stakeholders on some of the corruption issues affecting the growth of rural communities, enlighten them on provisions in the anti-corruption law and other relevant legislations and provide them with the necessary reporting channels to expose the corrupt.
ACC’s Public Education Officer, Yangie D. Sesay said, the Commission would continue to employ the appropriate method to reduce corruption to the barest minimum in the public and private sectors. She therefore challenged residents and chiefdom functionaries to use this message to demand for more transparency and accountability from duty bearers, and to monitor projects in their communities for proper implementation and to reduce waste of the limited resources. Miss Sesay shared with them the Commission’s various reporting channels and toll free numbers, but warned that reports/complaints should not be made based on malice.
The Chiefdom Speaker, Bumpe Ngao Chiefdom Solomon .E. Jamina, was delighted to host ACC and described the engagement as an eye opening session. He noted that the knowledge gained from the sensitization would be used to expose rogues who have been using the Commission’s name to harass and intimidate them. He acknowledged the remarkable work of ACC to tackle corruption so that State resources would be utilized for the benefit of all citizens and not just a few.
The meeting was climaxed with questions and answers session and presentation of Information, Education and Communication materials.
The team also conducted an on-the-spot check at the Bumpe Ngao Community Health Center to interface with the health workers, with the view to ensuring that the free health care programme is implemented in a corrupt free manner.