By: Bernard Abass Kargbo, Public Education Officer, ACCA team of experts contracted by the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) has on the 17th October, 2023, commenced a nationwide consultation in a bid to solicit information from various stakeholders, for the crafting of the 5th generation of the National Anti-Corruption Strategy (NACS)- 2024-2028. The maiden engagement was held at the Ministry of Basic and Senior Secondary Education Conference Hall in Port Loko. This engagement attracted participants such as bike riders, commercial drivers, traders, the media, civil society activists, public officials, members of Inter-Religious Council, etc.
Welcoming the participants, the North-West Regional Manager of the ACC, Fatu Kamara, spoke on the importance of including everyone in the development of this strategy, noting that the input of all participants will be highly cherished.
Declaring the purpose of the engagement, the Director of the NACS Secretariat Nabilahi Musa Kamara, informed his audience that the creation of the NACS stems from the decision of Sierra Leone signing the United Nation Convention Against Corruption (UNCAC) which makes it mandatory for member states to develop a national anti-corruption strategy. He described the strategy as the roadmap for the country to fight corruption in the next five years.
In developing the strategy, he said, the UNCAC provides that a national consultation must be conducted to get the views of the citizenry. “The convention indicates that in developing this strategy we should talk to a large section of people in the country, as it should have a wider participation where people will have their say on issues bordering on corruption,” he said. Mr. Kamara assured his audience that resolutions of the discussions will be part of the strategy. He announced that the next strategy is geared towards building stronger institutions which will stand the test of time to combat corrupt practices.
Opening the discussions, the Chairperson of the Team of Experts, Kebbe Koroma, challenged his audience to dig deep within them and bring out what they feel are the issues related to corruption in their various institutions and communities, what are the causes of corruption and what solutions they will proffer to combat the scourge. Mr. Koroma said that they will also have a one-on-one meeting with key stakeholders in the district. “Today we came to you, to listen to you, so that you will tell us what is happening, and we will not stop here, we will also be calling key stakeholders to tell us their own view,” he said.
The engagement was climaxed with the formation of groups who later presented their findings to the experts, followed by a question, comment and answer session.
In a separate engagement, the team also held one-on-one meetings with the Senior District Officer (SDO) and the Provincial Secretary (PS) of Port Loko, to solicit their expertise in the crafting of the Strategy.