By: Alex A. Bah, Public Relations Assistant, ACC
The Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC), together with its partners, on Saturday December 9, 2023, climaxed this year's International Anti-Corruption (IAC) Day Commemoration with an interfaith service held at the Commission’s Integrity House, Tower Hill in Freetown.
Making a statement on behalf of the Commission, Director of Finance, Sheku Kanu expressed his profound thanks to the religious leaders who would provide useful insights about what the Holy Books preach about corruption. He said the need for God's divine support to the work of the Commission cannot be overstated.
He said the Commission over the years has done tremendous work in the fight against corruption with unprecedented results that have positioned the country as an emblem of success. "Over the years we have recovered over 40 Billion Old Leones from corrupt offenders and institutions and we have paid same into the Consolidated Revenue Fund for the use of the people of Sierra Leone," Mr. Kanu furthered.
He said that the Commission is currently crafting its 5th Generation of the National Anti-Corruption Strategy, and there are ongoing nationwide consultations on how the fight against corruption should be patterned for the next five years-2024-2028. He underscored that the Commission is poised to further consolidate its many gains in the fight against corruption, but it so much relies on all aspects of society to provide the much desired support as the fight against corruption is a "People's Fight". "We continue to call on everyone, particularly the religious leaders, whom we so believe and trust to ensure that they include anti-corruption messages in their sermons," he averred.
Delivering his sermon, Rev. James Boye-Caulker, commenced by referencing Galatians 6:8; "For he that soweth to his flesh, shall of the flesh reap corruption, but he that soweth to the Spirit, shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting". He said corruption is so bad that is causes untold sufferings to people, and that it caused God to have Noah build an ark and had the world to a fresh start with in the aftermath of a ravaging flood.
He said the corrupt are most often very perturbed and apprehensive, because they know the abuse of their office or any vantage position is in sharp contrast with their conscience and society. Therefore, he admonished that public officers must ensure they have God in their thoughts whilst conducting themselves within their duties by eschewing any corrupt tendencies whatsoever.
The Amir of the Ahmadiya Muslim Jamaat in Sierra Leone, Musa Mewa Esq., in his sermon said that the Quran strongly condemns bribery and other acts of corruption in the strongest of terms. He disclosed that the Prophet of Islam, Mohammed (SAW) said Allah's curse is on the briber, the one receiving and the agent facilitating it.
He said religious leaders should also be cautious about the way they receive financial contributions from members of their congregations. This, he said, can be an incitement as they most often would not ask or care to know the sources of the offerings in their places of worship. "Anybody that earns through corrupt means must not bring those contributions to the mosque" as that in itself can be seen as spiritual laundering.
Reverend Fr. Joseph T. Kamanda, in his sermon said that corruption denies access to education, medical care, among others and most of the Prophets spoke against the scourge.
"We have good reasons to say thanks because of how much we have achieved as a nation," Reverend Fr. Kamanda stated. He particularly spoke about examination malpractice describing it as a "conspiracy against the future of this country." He said this keeps happening in spite of the efforts of the Commission and stressed that it is responsibility of all Sierra Leoneans to address it.
Sheikh Abdul Karim Koroma Esq. in his lecture stated that humans have dual tendencies to do good or bad. He said our responsibility is to suppress the bad and live a standard of life that will enhance societal preservation. He said that corruption reduces the blessing that mankind gets from Allah, and therefore encouraged all and sundry to support the cause of fighting the menace.
Earlier, Director of Public Education and External Outreach, Patrick Sandi in his statement as chairman of the event said that the Commission recognizes the importance of spiritual guidance and direction in the fight against corruption. He therefore stated that as a very religious and religious tolerant country, it is so important to invoke God's divine touch into the fight.
The Interfaith Worship ended with prayers for the President of Sierra Leone, the Leadership and staff of the Commission, and the People of Sierra Leone