In its drive to address corruption issues in service delivery institutions, the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) North West Regional Office has on Monday 29th August, 2022 engaged staff and volunteers of the Kambia District Council on various preventive measures related to their jobs. The engagement according to the Senior Public Education Officer Junisa Sankoh was part of the Commission's preventive approach to engage senior management of the council on pertinent issues relating to their operations.
Addressing staff of the Council, the Regional Manager Al-Hassan Sesay described the local council as a crucial arm in public service delivery and emphasized the need to enhance integrity in the management and utilization of public funds. He noted that efficient service delivery is at the heart of local government mandate and the Kambia District Council must be reflective of the local needs and interests of communities therein.
Commenting on the significance of accountability and transparency, he noted that there will be a change in the complexion of investigations wherein it will now be more proactive than reactive nature of investigations aimed at enhancing a transparent management and utilization of public funds. Introducing the newly deployed Head of Investigations in the region, Manager Sesay said the new Senior Investigation Officer's deployment was strategic and for specific reasons and encouraged management to put in place control measures for efficient use of resources.
Making a statement, the Senior Investigation Officer Bernard Dixon said corruption is a major challenge to the country's development and it involves criminals seeking to ensure impunity from prosecution. He stated that the diversion of public or donor funds intended to benefit the local population will undermine public confidence in state institutions. With specific reference to corruption in procurement, Mr Dixon accentuated its disproportionate effects on the poor, undermines government's ability to provide basic services and discourages foreign direct investment. Moving forward, he went on to note that the nature of investigations will be strategic and the extent of it will be more proactive than reactive wherein fraud and accounting irregularities, financial analysis and other malfeasance will constitute key component of investigations. He provided a comprehensible explanation of offences relating to conspiracy to committing a corruption offence, misappropriation, soliciting and accepting advantage among other things.
The Public Education Officer Mohamed Thullah who spoke on ethics in the workplace explained the significance of ethics and maintaining a positive attitude to work in discharging their functions. He encouraged senior management to internalize the fight by making the Integrity Management Committee functional and operational. He pointed out that any act of corruption constitutes an element of unethical and unprofessional behaviour and it was imperative on the side of management to institute internal control measures that will guard against mismanagement of public funds and to further ensure that council's operations are in consonant with best practices and procedures.
The Chief Administrator of the Council Edward Alpha thanked the ACC team for its sustained engagements with the council and described the ACC as a strategic partner in terms of guiding council's operations and activities. He registered his commitment on behalf of council to support the Commission and to make meaningful steps to conforming to best practices as set out by law.
The meeting was climaxed by a question and answer session.