‘’Corruption does not only undermine the quality of training in tertiary and vocational institutions, but also causes institutions to produce unproductive and unworthy graduates’’. This statement was made by the Center Supervisor of the Kono Musu Training Center, Madam Laurel Mendenkia, during a partnership meeting with the Regional Office of the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) on the 18th October, 2022, in Koidu City.
The engagement was aimed at mainstreaming corruption prevention and anti-corruption measures in the program implementation of the institute.
According to the Centre Supervisor, skills training centers are funded by the United Methodist Church of Germany, to train young people in carpentry, masonry, welding, gara tie-dyeing, tailoring, embroidery, weaving, hairdressing and soap-making, among others. She said there is need for educational institutions to tackle incidences of corruption in the sector in a bid to lay a solid foundation for the development of the country.
Highlighting the significance of the session, ACC’s Senior Public Education Officer in Kono, Sam P. Gogra, stated that it is part of the mandate of the Commission to form strong alliances with credible institutions to solicit their unflinching support in winning the fight against corruption. He reminded the trainees and trainers that the Commission does not work in isolation, but collaboratively with other pillars of integrity in combating the scourge of corruption.
Mr Gogra further stated that institutional commitment against corruption must be the institution’s priority by mainstreaming anti-corruption measures in their operations, as it will help to guide staff in their day-to-day activities.
In his submission, ACC’s Social Safety Net (SSN) District Monitor, Patrick Hinga George, said that the ACC has amended the 2008 Act to robustly fight corruption. “This makes it one of the strongest anti-corruption laws in the African sub region,” he added.
Mr George reminded the audience that, in four years under the astute leadership of Commissioner Francis Ben Kaifala Esq, the Commission has secured over 90 per cent conviction rate of corruption perpetrators in the High Court of Sierra Leone, in addition to the remarkable gains made in both physical cash and asset recoveries.
Speaking at the occasion, ACC’s Public Education Officer in Kono, Hawa Deen Conteh, said that the Commission has held customized and partnerships meetings with many informal and formal establishments in the district, with the aim of not only soliciting their support in the corruption fight, but also to encourage them to desist from engaging in acts of corruption.
The Public Education Officer admonished the tutors not to solicit and receive bribes from the trainees, nor embezzle or misappropriate donor and public funds. He warned that such acts can attract fines of not less than 50,000 (new) Leones or a minimum imprisonment term of not less than five years.A similar engagement was held at the Kono Kai Vocational Institute in Koidu City.