27th March, 2023
The Kono Regional Office of the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) on 16th March, 2023 held a community sensitization meeting with residents and stakeholders of Woama in the Tankoro Chiefdom, Kono District.
The engagement was part of the Commission’s strategy to work with communities and raise awareness on the adverse effects of corruption as stipulated in Section 7, Sub Section 2(0) of the Anti-Corruption Act 2008 as amended in 2019.
Tankoro chiefdom in Kono district is rich in diamond deposits that are mined by major companies and private individuals, but proceeds from the sale of this precious mineral including other Donor and Government funded projects are yet to change the socio-economic statuses and lives of the inhabitants as they still remain extremely poor and vulnerable due to the damaging effects of corruption.
In her opening statement, ACC Regional Manager Hawanatu O. Kamara told the audience that the ACC team is in their community to interact with them, identify corruption opportunities prevalent in their community and suggest ways of curbing the menace.
She maintained that the grassroots and other community stakeholders are forces to reckon with in combating corruption as they have been helping the Commission by reporting corruption offences that this engagement will also provide the opportunity for them to resist and reject corruption.
The Regional Manager further lauded the ACC Commissioner Francis Ben Kaifala Esq., for his tremendous achievements during his over four years in office, describing him as an astute leader who is determined to make corruption very unprofitable and a high risk venture.
Updating the gathering on some significant achievements of the Commission from 2018 to date, Public Education Officer, ACC Kono, Hawa Deen Conteh catalogued the recovery of a monumental sum of over 42 Billion Leones (old notes) and some physical assets through the non-conviction assets based recovery strategy. She also referred to the consistent and remarkable progress the country continues to make in the 2022 Transparency International Corruption Perception Index and other good governance rankings globally. She therefore encouraged everyone to have confidence in the Commission as it continues its fight against corruption and concluded by announcing the toll free lines 077-985985/986986 for reporting corruption related offences to the Commission.
During the session, ACC’s Senior Public Education Officer, Kono Sam P. Gogra, stated that the Commission is always answerable to the public by regularly apprising them on its operations through customized, partnership, school and community meetings and also through radio programs among others.
Mr. Gogra again reminded the audience about the existence of corruption in their communities ranging from the Schools, Health Centers, Security and Mining Sectors, Markets, Local Courts and in Project implementations etc. He therefore warned them against the embezzlement and misappropriation of community resources and revenues generated from mining and other economic activities. ‘’The penalty for any corruption offence of an individual upon conviction by the High Courts of Sierra Leone is a jail term of a minimum of five years or a minimum of Fifty Million Leones (old notes) or both jail term and fine.’’ He affirmed.
Town Chief , Sylvester K. James commended the Commission for such interactive engagement stressing that they have not only been enlightened on issues that constitute corruption but have also been advised to resist, reject and report every instance of it to the Commission.