In the sustained urge to spread anti-corruption messages, the Northern Regional Office of the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) has pitched its campaign to the Robikie and Mayossoh communities in Kholifa Mamunta Mayossoh Chiefdom, Tonkolili District, on 24th and 25th November 2021. ACC’s Public Education Officers explained that, the community outreach meetings were in keeping with the Commission’s strategies to massively raise awareness about corruption, win and sustain the support of the public to the ACC in combating it.
Addressing the audience at the engagements, ACC’s Public Education Officer, Abdul Karim Bangura, defined corruption as the ‘’the misuse of a public office for private-gain/interest’’. He said this implies that corrupt persons have an insatiable greed to defraud the public for personal benefit, while instancing forms of corruption with Misappropriation of Public/Donor Funds and Property, and Bribery as the many forms of practices that can constitute corruption. Mr. Bangura, without mincing his words, added that corruption stagnates national development efforts.
He emphasized that corruption affects everyone everywhere in the country, which informs the need for firm collective effort against it. He stated that the ACC assumes leadership in preventing, investigating, and prosecuting corruption in the country by an Act of Parliament passed in 2000 repealed and replaced in 2008 and amended in 2019. For the Commission to succeed in its campaign, Mr. Bangura stated, active public support especially in the terms of resisting and reporting corruption are key. He called on the communities to provide unreserved support to the fight against graft as a demonstration of patriotism, stressing unless we fiercely tackle and control corruption, national development will be a mirage.
Mr. Bangura encouraged participants to resist, reject and report any possible act of corruption to the Commission by dialing the toll-free lines; 077-985985, 515, or through the website at www.anticorruption.gov.sl or in person at the Commission’s offices in Freetown, Bo, Kenema, Makeni, Port Loko and Kono.
ACC’s Public Education Officer North-East, Aiah Sourie, remarked that the fight against corruption is never business as usual given that the ACC, mainly in the past three years, has made well-deserved achievements. He stated that, besides the Amendment of the Anti-Corruption Act of 2008 in 2019 which increase in offences and stiffer penalties, the High Court of Sierra Leone now has dedicated Judges to try anti-corruption cases. As such, these landmark reforms would expedite proceedings of corruption matters for justice for the citizenry.
Mr. Sourie furthered that, the Commission has made huge impression in the Non-Conviction Based Asset Recovery approach, by recouping over 35 Billion Leones from corrupt officials and institutions and paying same to government, which His Excellency President Bio has committed to build the country’s first ultramodern medical diagnostic centre. This move, he assured the people, is indicative of the ACC’s devotion to wean the country of corruption and corrupt practices. ‘The ACC will do better with your support,’ he added.
The Headmen of Robikie and Mayossoh, who had earlier welcomed the ACC team to their different communities, thanked the Commission for its dedication to fighting corruption in the country. Both described the engagements as empowering, and called for more interaction with the Commission.
The distribution of Information, Education, and Communication materials to community elders and leaders climaxed the outreach engagements.