The Kono Regional Office of the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) has on Wednesday 16th February 2022 held a sensitization and interactive meeting on general corruption issues with various representatives of various youth organizations in Kono District.
Addressing the youths at the District Youth Center, the Regional Manager Hawanatu Omotayo Kamara said that youths are very important component in the fight against corruption, and throwing their support to the Commission would create a stronger synergy in defeating the scourge.
Mrs Kamara pointed out that corruption has accounted for the distortion and diversion of government welfare programs and undermined the goals and vision of developmental programs, more so when public funds for development are embezzled by corrupt public officials, thereby depriving society of the much-needed social services. She continued that corrupt practices range from petty corruption -whereby bribes are solicited and paid before basic essential services are provided- to large scale corruption where huge public funds are diverted into private use.
The ACC Manager also said that such sessions create the enabling environment for people to learn about the work and activities of the Commission. She therefore urged the youths to grab the event, which she described as a learning and sharing session for both the ACC and the participants.
Updating the youths on some of the offences in the Anti-Corruption Act of 2008 as amended in 2019, Senior Public Education Officer Sam P Gogra highlighted misappropriation of public and donor funds, bribery, conspiracy, abuse of office and position, amongst others as offences often committed by public officers.
Mr Gogra emphasized on the Commission’s zero tolerance stance for corruption, adding that the sum of at least Fifty Million Leones or at least five years jail term or such fine and jail term as penalties for persons convicted of corruption.
Public Education Officer of the ACC Hawa Deen Conteh said that the Commission does not work in isolation in the fight against corruption, emphasizing on the reason why it stretches its arms to both formal and informal sectors to partner with them in fighting this menace. She continued that the ACC is the leading agency in the fight against corruption but cannot succeed without the support of citizens. She called on them to report incidences of corruption in their communities, work or business places and to inculcate anti-corruption messages during their membership meetings.
Appreciating the team from the ACC, Kono District Youth Representative Sahr O Fallah thanked the Commission for taking their time to sensitize the youth about corruption and its dangers to economic development. He described the meeting as an educative platform which would serve as a guide and eye opener for the youths. He said that the youths are willing to work with the ACC especially in the area of exposing and reporting corruption in their communities.
A question and answer session and the distribution of Information, Education and Communication materials formed part of the engagement.