By: Sulaiman B. Sowa
The Prevention team of the Eastern Regional office of the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) has, on the 12th October 2021, engaged chiefdom authorities in Small Bo and Nongowa chiefdoms on the Diamond Area Chiefdom Development Fund and its use for public development. The engagement took place at the chiefdom offices of Blama, Small Bo Chiefdom and Kenema in Nongowa Chiefdom, Kenema District respectively.
Speaking on the purpose of the engagement in Blama Town and Kenema, Senior Prevention Officer Francis Kinnie Lassayo, said the engagement is pursuant to Section 7 of the Anti-Corruption Act of 2008 as amended in 2019, which gives the Prevention Department the mandate to look at the systems and procedures of public institutions for the prevention, eradication or suppression of corruption and corrupt practices.
He said, the engagement is also meant to enlighten and educate chiefdom authorities on not only what constitutes chiefdom development funds and how same should be used, but to also track the utilization of the resources for community development. He emphasized the fact that chiefdom diamond area development funds should take center stage in development in communities. He informed both chiefdom authorities that the prevention drive had commenced in other districts and chiefdoms with outcomes that are informative and instructive about the significance of sustaining prudent financial systems and procedures in chiefdom development funds for community development
Mr. Lassayo concluded by stating that the prevention drive will use various methodologies to ascertain how chiefdom development funds were used to foster development in communities. Such methodologies, he noted, will include inspection of receipts and proformas, verifying payments, examining bank reconciliation and statements, inspecting cashbooks and revenues received and lodged in chiefdom accounts. He therefore called on all chiefdom stakeholders to support the prevention drive that will be beneficial for community development.
Paramount chief of small Bo Chiefdom, Daffie Benya said that, of the many works done by the Commission, prevention is one that seeks to not only stop corruption but puts systems and processes that ensure best practices in the use of public resources. He informed all that Chiefdom Area Diamond Development funds are not monies for personal use, but public funds meant for the development of chiefdoms through various projects. He referenced the construction of 28 stores, 7 of which are completed, as a project undertaken by the chiefdom for the benefit of the people. He called on all chiefdom stakeholders to support the prevention drive as a measure to help rather than to create trouble for them.
On his part, Paramount Chief of Nongowa Chiefdom, Sadiq Mattoe Kapuwa said, the Commission and its prevention drive are manifestations of fighting corruption before it happens. He informed chiefdom authorities that the prevention approach is not a witch-hunt but a measure of instituting best practices to ensure that public monies received by the chiefdom office are utilized for public development. He also made mention of some developmental projects undertaken by his chiefdom, justifying the fact that the chiefdom area diamond development funds have been used for community development. He said upon his ascension to the throne, he has implemented several internal changes all geared towards making the chiefdom office productive in facilitating development in the chiefdom