1st August 2021
The Regional Manager of the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) in the North-West Region, Al-Hassan Sesay has told local authorities and residents of Lower and Upper Masimera Chiefdom to stand up against corruption and resist all forms of corruption demands for improved livelihoods and sustainable development.
He made this statement during sensitization meetings at Mayombo Village and Masimera Chiefdom Headquarter Town in Port Loko District. The sensitization meetings dubbed Community Meetings held on Tuesday 27th and Wednesday 28th July 2021 was convened as a way of publicizing and increasing public knowledge about the nature, occurrence, and seriousness of corrupt behavior and its prevalence in rural communities as well as soliciting public support in combating graft.
Explaining the purpose of the meetings, the Public Education Officer Mohamed Thullah said the communities will be educated on the general work of the Commission, the effects of corruption and the need for collaboration in winning the fight against corruption. He stated that corruption has permeated every aspect of society which has made public support pivotal in addressing it. He pointed out that effective engagement with communities is a crucial strategy for anti-corruption initiatives that strengthens participation by enabling community members to express their opinions and expectations, and demand accountability from power holders.
He explained the three prong approaches in combatting graft and highlighted various methods of reporting corrupt practices to the ACC and encouraged them to resist and reject demands of corruption. In reporting corruption, Thullah said, confidentiality and the protection of complainants and witnesses occupies an integral part in terms of safeguarding their security and safety.
Addressing local authorities and residents at the respective meetings, the ACC Regional Manager Al-Hassan Sesay, said countries that successfully attack corruption are far more better placed to experience tangible development and a brighter future for it's citizenry. He went on to state that local ownership and support to the fight against graft empowers citizens to report incidences of corruption as well as refusing to participate in any activities or seeming circumstances that are deemed not transparent and illegal.
Commenting on the nature and occurrences of rural corruption, Manager Sesay said since the ACC opened its regional office in Port Loko, they have received numerous complaints and concerns relating to corruption in the Local Court system, social services particularly in health and education as well as graft related issues on project implementation in communities.
The Regional Head highlighted several corrupt practices across various sectors including the local court administration, the school system, the health sector, security including the Sierra Leone Police and the Military and other areas of concerns of corruption loopholes in communities. He pointed out several corruption demands in the aforementioned areas including but not limited to exploiting the people through extortionate demand and levying of exorbitant fines outsides the confines of the law, payment for bail and obtaining statement, corruption demands in health centres, and misuse of public funds among others.
The Regional Head encouraged members of the community to monitor community projects that will contribute to the detection of corruption, reduced misappropriation of funds, and improve quality service delivery.
Earlier in his welcome address, Regent Chief of Masimera Chiefdom, Pa Sulaiman Conteh thanked the ACC Team and expressed delight to have ACC officials in his chiefdom for the first time. Similar sentiments were expressed by the Chiefdom Speaker Pa Kapr Kabin and also thanked the ACC for engaging and sensitizing local residents of the Chiefdom and registered his support to the fight against corruption.
Questions and answers session, and the presentation of ACC's Information, Education and Communication materials formed part of the engagements in Mayomno and Masimera towns.
ACC North-West Office