As part of its sustained engagements to forge formidable alliances and partnerships in the fight against corruption, the Public Education Unit of the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) Kono, on 19th May 2022 held a successful meeting with the rank and file of the Republic of the Sierra Leone Armed Forces (RSLAF) at their 9th Infantry Battalion Headquarter, Simbakoro Barracks in Koidu City. The engagement was also intended to raise their awareness on corruption issues and to discuss anti-corruption measures in their operations.
Addressing the Military Officers during their muster parade, the ACC District Monitor, Patrick Hinga George, commended the personnel for the immense role they continue to play in providing the much needed security to the nation. He said corruption has the propensity to undermine the security of any State and Sierra Leone is not an exception. He therefore encouraged the security operative to always resist, reject and report suspected corruption offences to the Commission for appropriate actions. ‘’We at the ACC at all times rely on your information in regard corruption occurrences in your institution and elsewhere and will treat those reports with urgency and confidentiality,’’ he affirmed.
Elucidating on the various methods of the operations of the Commission, Patrick Hinga said, the ACC was established to lead the fight against corruption in Sierra Leone using the three-pronged approach-Public Education, Prevention and Prosecution. He noted that, the strategy over the years has succeeded significantly in making public officers accountable in public offices and has invariably contributed in minimizing corruption in their operations.
Highlighting key corruption related offences to the officers, the ACC Senior Public Education Officer, Sam P. Gogra referenced the Anti-Corruption Act of 2008 as amended in 2019, as the encyclopaedia in the fight against corruption. He mention offences such as; abuse of office and position, misappropriation of donor and public funds or property, conspiracy, offering and soliciting an advantage, possession of unexplained wealth etc.
He furthered that public officers convicted on any of the aforementioned offences shall pay a fine of not less than Fifty Million Leones or a five-year jail term or both fine and imprisonment. He therefore admonished his listeners to maintain best practices in the discharge of their duties, roles and responsibilities.
“I encourage you all to be judicious and transparent in the utilization of all resources meant for the operations of the barracks to avoid the consequences of violating any provisions in ACC law,” the SPEO added.
In her statement, the ACC Public Education Officer Hawa Deen Conteh announced the toll free lines for reporting suspected corruption offences to the Commission. She said such offences can also be reported by individuals to any of the ACC offices in the regions or at headquarters in Freetown.
She further made mention of an attractive reward scheme for informants and whistle blowers by the Commission as an incentive for reporting corruption.
Responding with commitment to join the fight against corruption, the Commanding Officer of the Battalion Lieutenant Colonel Bas Kamara appreciated the Commission for the preventive approach and promised on behalf of his officers his undiluted support to always promote the campaign against graft.