As part of events to mark 2022 International Anti-Corruption (IAC) Day, the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) on 9th December, 2022 joined the Bollore Group to commemorate the IAC Day at the Company's Warehouse, Queen Elizabeth II Quay in Freetown by delivering an interactive and educative public lecture, on the theme; "Deepening Inclusivity in the fight against corruption: Persons Living with Disability and the Informal Sector as Critical Players in the Anti-Graft campaign’’.
The well attended event which attracted many staff across all levels including. top and middle level management was part of the lineup of activities organized by the Bollore Group as a mark of their continued commitment to the fight against corruption and a deliberate effort to give prominence to the Day.
Sylvanus Blake, Assistant Public Relations Officer ACC, who delivered the lecture, expressed on behalf of the Commissioner, Deputy and staff of the ACC profound gratitude to the Management and Staff of Bollore Group for their commemoration of the IAC Day. He stated that the ACC was pleased with the level of commitment and determination displayed by Bollore every year. “The IAC Day event you organize every December 9, which you invite the ACC to, is resonating well with the fight against corruption’’, Blake added.
He furthered that the ACC was only leading the national fight against corruption and as such was expectant of the unwavering support of all. He described corruption as the abuse of public office for personal gain. He stated also that corruption is a crime regardless of who is involved, when it happened and how much was involved. He stated that for some, it is only corruption when their adversaries or opponents are implicated, but will defend corrupt persons once they are their acquaintances. This scenario he said is a clear case of double standard that we should overcome as a nation if we must make progress in the fight against corruption.
Blake stated that according to JAMES CHEN, THOMAS J. CATALANO and TIMOTHY LI in their academic paper on what is Corruption, root causes, effects and ways to ameliorate it, published on the 1st June 2022, ‘’Corruption, is a dishonest behavior by those in positions of power. Those who abuse their power may be individuals or they may belong to organizations, such as businesses or governments. Corruption can entail a variety of actions, including giving or accepting bribes or inappropriate gifts, double-dealing, and defrauding investors’’.
According to Sylvanus Blake, the debilitating effects of corruption cannot be quantified in both its direct cost on loss of human lives, dignity and freedom to the breakdown of law and order, political instability, rampant and chronic shortage of basic social services and amenities, loss of public trust in governance and state institutions, tax apathy, moral decadence etc.
He also said that to prevent corruption, the following should be prioritized; a strong and intensive sensitization to reinforce best practices and alert managers and employees where to look for corruption, a robust control environment that reduces the risk of corruption as in conducting thorough background checks before hiring or promoting employees or service providers, strong accountability mechanisms in place, that reinforces a culture that fosters strong ethical behavior while holding those to account who violate the norms, setting up codes of conduct and ethics that can prevent conflicts of interest, making easy, safe and convenient to report and blow whistle on suspected corruption, whether by Managers, employees, suppliers, and customers.
Blake concluded by highlighting some of the gains made by the ACC in the past four years, in reputable and Anti-Graft indexes, surveys and assessments, that have repositioned Sierra Leone enviably internationally.
Speaking at the event, the Bollore Group’s Compliance Manager Mrs. Olu-Shola Sesay, stated that Bollore was committed to the global convention against corruption, a global pandemic that requires the holistic efforts of all including the private sector, state and non-state actors. She stated that Bollore has strong internal integrity and anti-graft policies that seek to limit the possibility of corruption within its operations and in its relationship with the public and state institutions. She underscored that at Bollore all personnel are required to uphold tacit integrity.
Country Director of Bollore Group, Bertrand Kergolen in his statement lavished praises on the ACC for the comprehensive, educative and engaging lecture, which he said left him and the staff well informed and equipped to continue the campaign against corruption. He stated that corruption is a global problem that costs the world over $3 trillion every year and its devastating consequences are by the poor and developing countries. Concluding, Mr. Kergolen said, Bollore shall continue to support the fight against corruption, a fight he stressed should continue every day in the year and not just on the 9th of December.