As the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) continues its customized engagements with Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) to identify and forestall corruption prevalence in their operations and management systems, the ACC Public Education and Outreach Unit in Kono on Wednesday 26th January 2022, held a successful sensitization meeting with staff of the SLPMC and PMB at the office of the Produce Monitoring Board in Koidu City.
Addressing staff of the two agencies, the Regional Manager Kono, Hawanatu O. Kamara referred to Section 7 (1) (a) of the AC Act of 2008 as amended in 2019, which mandates the Commission to take all necessary steps as may be necessary for the prevention, eradication or suppression of corruption or corrupt practices.
She stated that the Commission is not a witch-hunt entity but one that is determined to ensure quality service delivery by all public bodies in line with her vision: ‘’ to have a corrupt free Sierra Leone where the socio-economic needs of its citizens are met.’’ She referred to the audience as a reliable partner in development and therefore urged them to refrain from every aspect of corruption in discharging their responsibilities.
Highlighting some achievements of the Commission within the last three years under the leadership of the current Commissioner, Francis Ben Kaifala Esq., ACC District Monitor, Patrick Hinga George revealed that the Commission continues to record tremendous gains in the global perception indexes as evidenced in the Millennium Challenge Corporation scorecard on control of corruption indicator with a successful pass of 83%.
He further stated that Sierra Leone has for the third time in three years progressed upwards in Transparency International’s Global Corruption Country Rankings, moving from 117 in 2020 to 115 out of 180 countries surveyed in 2021. In addition to the International rakings, he also revealed that the Commission continues to make huge progress in financial and physical assets recoveries from corrupt Sierra Leoneans.
Citing key corruption-related offences in the AC Act of 2008 as amended in 2019 which are usually committed by public officials, the Senior Public Education Officer, Sam P. Gogra highlighted: bribery, misappropriation and embezzlement of donor and public funds, violation of procurement rules, abuse of office and position and failure to declare assets and liabilities among others. Gogra stated that fines and prison term have been increased to a minimum of Fifty Million Leones and/or five years imprisonment respectively upon conviction by the High Court.
Public Education Officer Hawa Deen Conteh after dilating on the significance of the Online Assets Declaration process took the public officials through the methods of reporting corruption and encouraged them to make use of the toll-free lines of 515, 077-985-985 and 077-986-986. She assured them of their protection by the Commission as provided for by Law.
In his response during the meeting, Vixson V. Kanneh, Co-ordinator of the Produce Monitoring Board (PMB) applauded the ACC team for the educative and interactive session. He said the AC Act of 2008 as amended in 2019 which highlights offences and their corresponding penalties is not accessible to all which makes such engagement extremely necessary.
PEO Unit, Kono