By: Alex A. Bah, Public Relations Assistant, ACC
The Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) has on Thursday 23rd November, 2023, played host to Richelieu Allison, the Executive Director of the Center for Security Studies and Development (CENSSAD) who doubles as the founder of the West African Youth Network (WAYN) and was a Political Adviser at the Liberian Senate. Mr. Allison who was in Sierra Leone on some other official engagements paid a courtesy visit to the leadership of the Commission at its Integrity House in Tower Hill, Freetown.
Welcoming the guest, the Deputy Commissioner, Augustine Foday Ngobie, profusely thanked Mr. Allison for what he described as years of support towards the development of Sierra Leone and Liberia. He said the two are sister nations that share a lot of commonalities and that what affects one is likely to affect the other. The fight against corruption, he said, should be a collective fight and commended him for particularly establishing an institution involving young people. “Corruption can affect me, but not as grave as it can affect my children,” the Deputy Commissioner said.
Mr. Ngobie informed him that the Head of the LACC visited the ACC two years ago and had an extensive interaction with the various Departments of the Commission to learn from them. He said that the Deputy Director of Prevention, Samuel Marah Esq., was sent to the LACC shortly afterwards to facilitate a capacity building training. He stated that the ACC and LACC are one family and the Commission is ever-ready to always provide her the needed support.
”We are achieving all of what you have heard in the fight against corruption because of the enormous Presidential and Political Will we enjoy,” Mr. Ngobie said whilst noting his expectation of same with the newly-elected President and Government of Liberia. He congratulated him on the conduct of peaceful elections in Liberia.
Expressing the purpose of his courtesy visit, Mr. Allison expressed thanks to the Deputy Commissioner of the ACC for receiving him though on a short notice, adding that it shows how much the Commission places value on its partners. He said the establishment of the WAYN in 2001 was for young people to take the lead in peacebuilding and development. He maintained that though he had passed the youth stage and had left WAYN but the institution has survived and thrived, and he was most importantly happy that it had been providing support to the fight against corruption.
Mr. Allison continued that his direct involvement in the fight against corruption was in 2020 when his institution, CENSSAD, led the writing of the first Civil Society Parallel Report on the implementation of the United Nations Convention Against Corruption (UNCAC) in Liberia. He said the report recommended the strengthening of the Liberian Anti-Corruption Commission (LACC). He said that at that time there were only two (2) Commissioners when the law made provision for seven (7) Commissioners and LACC did not have any prosecutorial power. These recommendations, he said, are what they worked with the LACC to implement.
“I want to personally commend you and the Commissioner who is a very vibrant man that has infused a new level of dynamism in the fight against corruption,”, he added whilst stating that he has been following the ACC and he was so impressed with its posture and tremendous gains. He said that he had always shared some of his experiences he had in Sierra Leone about how seriously public officials and citizens are supporting the fight against corruption.
Earlier, Director of Public Education and External Outreach Department, Patrick Sandi, whilst introducing Mr. Allison to the Deputy Commissioner said that the institution he established, WAYN, is a very strong civil society partner of the Commission and has been implementing programmes aimed at tackling corruption with specific focus on young people that are the emerging leaders.