27th July, 2021
In a bid to empower learning institutions forestall and report corruption is a strategy employed by the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) to achieve its vision of improving the socio-economic status of all Sierra Leoneans. Evidently, the Public Education Unit of the Commission’s Northeast office engaged tutors and trainees of Mankind’s Activities for the Development Accreditation Movement (MADAM) in Makeni on how to keep corruption and corrupt practices at bay.
The engagement was held in the Conference Hall of the institute on 22nd July 2021.
Public Education Officer of ACC Abdul Karim Bangura gave an overview of the effects of corruption, which, he said, leads to an unfair distribution of national resources and, as such, deeply creates class divisions within the society. “Once state resources become the preserve of the corrupt few, majority of the masses become poor and vulnerable, thereby creating deep-seated resentment that could spark or contribute to a civil strife,” he said.
Mr Bangura said the 11-year civil war which plagued the country was partly caused by unbridled corruption as indicated in the Truth and Reconciliation Commission Report, a document that provides a roadmap for Sierra Leoneans to confront the past. He added that the ACC, set up in 2000 by an Act of Parliament, is part of the recommendations given in the Report.
He however assured the tutors and trainees that the ACC has earnestly worked so far, particularly in the last three years, to transform the grim impact of corruption on the growth of the country. He disclosed that the prevalence of corruption, according to the Afro Barometer Corruption Survey in the country, slumped from 70% in 2017 to 40% in 2020, among several national and international laurels.
He then urged them to adopt patriotism, and actively support the ACC to achieve its goals for the common good. One way to do so is to resist and report corruption to the Commission by calling 077985985 or 077986986 or 515, according to the officer. He allayed the fears of the meeting that all reports made to the Commission are treated confidentially.
In his contribution, Senior Regional Prevention Officer, Sylvester T. Sowa, informed the participants that the Commission has a three-pronged role; it prevents, investigates, and prosecutes corruption. However, the Commission places more accent on preventing corruption through extensive public education and thorough reviews of systems and procedures of public institutions. He warned that noncompliance with Systems and Processes Review Recommendations is strictly sanctioned, urging public institutions to cooperate and stay out of conflict with the anti-corruption Act.
What fosters the capacity to reject and report corruption to the Commission is integrity, Public Education Officer, Aiah P. M. Sourie, said in his statement during the meeting. He defined integrity as the right attitude and behavior and a pivotal guideline which can empower public officers to put national interest above all else. He therefore implored the tutors and trainees of MADAM to uphold probity and selflessly serve the country at any given opportunity, after he had assured the latter of the Commission’s interest in working with youth to intensify the campaign against corruption.
Founded in 1991, MADAM is a private institute with a mandate on improving livelihoods for target groups and delivering efficient and effective service in Sierra Leone. The institute had worked with Commission in the implementation of the Pay No Bribe Campaign for three straight years. Its Program Manager, Abdulai Jalloh, who ably chaired the engagement, extolled the ACC for its dedication to snuff out corruption in the country and called for more interaction with the Commission. ‘We are always ready to work with the Commission,’ he pledged.
Other tutors who made meaningful contributions confessed the engagement was an eye-opener to the realities of the corruption and its dreadful impact.