The North West Regional Office of the Anti-Corruption Commission has on Tuesday September 2021 updated representatives of Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) and the Media on its successes and challenges in the two years of existence in the region at the Ministry of Agriculture Conference Hall in Port Loko City.
The CSO and Media Update is one of the public education activities undertaken to apprise the media and CSOs on the operations of ACC and other related issues therein.
Speaking at the engagement, the Regional Manager Al-Hassan Sesay said combatting graft calls for collective action as CSOs and the media play a significant role in building a culture of integrity and reducing the risks of corruption in governance. He underscored their role in exposing corruption and promoting good governance and accountability. Manager Sesay said as a Commission, partnership and coalition building is integral to promoting change in public attitudes and practices as well as fostering public support in winning the fight against corruption. He described participants as the citizens' representative and urged them to take meaningful steps particularly in raising their voices on issues of transparency and accountability in their communities and other areas of public concerns.
Updating participants on the operations and activities of the North West Office, Manager Sesay said following the Commission's extension of its presence to the North West Region in 2019, the North West Regional office has considerably increased awareness as it embarked on an aggressive public education and outreach across the region and reinforced a very robust approach to the fight against corruption as well a palpable impression on the minds of citizens that involvement in corrupt practices would no longer be business as usual.
He explained that the North West office has made positive interventions in its prevention drive that has culminated to adherence to best practice for service delivery institutions. He made reference to development and review of service charters, overt operations and on the spot checks as preventive drive geared towards addressing corruption
The Regional Manager said the North West office has strengthened the visibility of ACC through the deployment of District Monitors in Port Loko, Kambia and Karene Districts and recruitment of over eighty Community Monitors across the region under the Social Safety Net project.
Manager Sesay noted that coalition building and partnership being central to the work of ACC, the North West office has forged formal partnership with CSOs and established more Integrity Clubs in schools within the three districts in the region. "Building stronger partnership and collaboration will strengthen the fight against corruption" he emphasized.
The ACC Regional Manager disclosed the number of reports received from the public and actions taken including referrals and cases in court.
Apart from its successes in education and prevention, the Regional Head also pointed out that they have also registered successful outcomes in deepening accountability and transparency in public bodies across the region. He therefore used the occasion to appeal to civil society organizations and the media to be sincere and committed towards the fight against corruption. He urged them to resist, reject and report corrupt practices to the ACC as and when they experience or come to their attention. "ACC staff are not everywhere, so the Commission relies on your support to fight the menace together" he emphasized.
Representative for Health for All Coalition, Lovetta Isata Sesay called on the ACC to replicate similar overt operations at the Lungi and Kambia hospitals as well as intensifying its monitoring activities around PHUs in the region. She acknowledged the involvement of ACC in the payment of the Emergency Cash Transfer but expressed concerns on the time of interventions. The Northern Bureau Chief Hassan Bruz called on the ACC to keep an eye on activities at the Gbalamuya Customs Checkpoint. Mariatu Songo Kanu representing Women's Forum also implored the ACC to ensure service delivery institutions to develop and popularize their service charters.
Questions, comments and concerns from the participants formed the climax of the engagement.