By: Sylvanus Blake, Public Relations Officer, ACC.
As part of its unwavering commitment to sensitizing and enlisting the public into the national campaign against corruption, the Deputy Commissioner, Anti-Corruption Commission, Augustine Foday Ngobie on 31st January 2023, delivered an astonishing, soul-resurrecting and character-reshaping lecture to 1,000 police recruits, comprising 759 males, 241 females, and other senior training instructors at the Peace Keeping and Law Enforcement Academy, Hastings in Freetown. It has become an established standard that the ACC, informed by the good partnership it has with the Sierra Leone Police, was provided the platform to interact with police trainees on the “concept of corruption, its effects, the benefits of a corrupt free Sierra Leone, the work of the ACC, integrity standards required of public officers and the need for all to dispassionately support the fight against corruption unreservedly”. The lecture aimed at ensuring that police recruits are au fait with and well prepared to exhibit the required ethical and professional standards, expected of police officers.
Speaking to energetic and hopeful recruits in a jam-packed hall, Augustine Ngobie appreciated the 1,000 men and women who have been gallantly selected to be enlisted in the Sierra Leone Police Force to serve their nation regardless of the visible difficulties. He underscored that they can make a huge difference if and only if they exhibit patriotism, dedication, loyalty, and discipline.
As a former Police Officer, who was sent by the Leadership of the SLP to the ACC in 2003, and has since risen through the ranks to the position of Deputy Commissioner, Mr. Ngobie told the recruits that, for them to journey through the Force successfully and achieve their dreams, they must always keep their dreams alive, exhibit self-discipline, be duty conscious and respect their authorities. “When I served this nation as a police officer across many localities, it was very tough and sometimes I felt like I was doing the unwise thing. But I held on and did not give up. I always accomplished assigned tasks without excuses. I was willing to work. What seemed then a fruitless chain of very difficult work, has today distinguished and given me a place and name in society. Success can never be achieved sustainably through illegalities. Be of a good, patient and always work hard” Mr. Ngobie inspired the recruits.
Taking his audience through what ended as a re-orientation seminar, the Deputy Commissioner elucidated on the background and establishment of the ACC, the root causes, effects, and benefits of a corrupt free Sierra Leone, the statutory and policy regime of the ACC, especially practices that can constitute corruption and their accompanying penalties, reforms of the Anti-Corruption laws and their effects on the national campaign against corruption, update on the general operations of the ACC, successes, challenges, and plans of the ACC, partnerships, and coalition building drives of the ACC and its relevance in the fight against corruption, and the consistent and impressive performance of Sierra Leone in credible international and local anti-corruption surveys and indexes. He furthered that the ACC has been able to distinguish itself as a robust anti-corruption outfit, which has earned itself and Sierra Leone a respectable and reputable place and name.
Mr. Ngobie stated that the good image of the SLP was flagrantly dragged in the mud by a few police officers who sometimes in full public view are captured on leaked video clips widely circulated on social media, extorting monies from drivers and bike riders, colluding with traffic narcotics and other counter band drugs, abuse of drugs, peddling undue influence to name but a few. This is shameful and unrepresentative of a police force that is charged with the sacred responsibility of protecting lives and properties.
He warned the recruits to distance themselves from such unspeakable behaviors and always conduct themselves professionally. The ACC Deputy Boss further told them that he is aware of the strides the Police Management Board and its leadership were making to maintain discipline, professionalism, and loyalty in the Force. Officers have been severely investigated, dismissed, and even prosecuted for behaving unprofessionally and unlawfully. He told them that the ACC will always continue to work closely with the SLP to restore public trust and confidence through discipline. “If you are corrupt and do not have integrity, the police force, public service, and Sierra Leone will not be a safe place for you. We shall always pursue and hold accountable all corrupt persons”, Deputy Commissioner averred.
Mr. Ngobie also stated that there was no service equivalent and venerable to laying down your life and blood for your motherland. He stated that Sierra Leone Police has extensive interaction and relationships with members of the public. “There is no one in Sierra Leone who in one way or the other does not interact with the police. This puts you in a precarious situation but with integrity, you will sail through unscathed, he stated.Speaking earlier, the Commandant of the Academy, Chief Superintendent of Police (CSP) Allieu Jalloh warmly welcomed the Deputy Commissioner to the public lecture, which is part of the routine for every crop of recruits, aimed at providing a platform for sufficient information and knowledge on corruption as it relates to and affects the work of the SLP. He encouraged recruits to be attentive and learn, adding that they will ask questions which the Deputy Commissioner will respond to. He told them to make good of the opportunity to interact with the Deputy Commissioner who had served the SLP before with great admiration