By: Bernard Abass Kargbo – Public Education Officer, ACC.
Section (5) subsection (1) (c) of the Anti-Corruption (Amendment) Act 2019, states that the National Anti-Corruption Strategy Coordinating Secretariat is responsible for directing the National Anti-Corruption Strategy's (NACS) implementation through the Office of the Commissioner.
The Coordinating Secretariat uses a multi-faceted strategy of; enforcement, prevention, public engagement, sustainable partnership, and ethical reorientation in the public, religious, civil society, and private sectors, all of which are carried out by established Integrity Management Committees (IMCs) in all Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs). This Strategy outlines specific objectives to addressing the problem of corruption in Sierra Leone.
By the end of 2018, many MDAs had already established IMCs, which was crucial to the Strategy's successful implementation.
BRIEF BACKGROUND OF THE STRATEGY:
A National Anti-Corruption Strategy was proposed in 2003 as a result of the United Nations Convention Against Corruption (UNCAC), and it was approved by the Sierra Leone Parliament in 2004. The UNCAC provisions in Chapter 11, Article 5 demand Governments create a national anti-corruption strategy, and MDAs are being put in charge of ensuring compliance through the establishment of Integrity Management Committees (IMCs).
This method can create a set of cross-sectoral shared obligations, encourage cross-sectoral cooperation, and rekindle interest in reducing corruption and creating a more moral society. Legal, policy, technological, and institutional interventions in the public, religious, and commercial sectors are part of the approach, and the institutional policies of the ACC are assisting MDAs in using their internal reflection as a compass.
Three National Anti-Corruption Implementation Action Plans have been released by the nation since the Anti-Corruption Commission was established in 2000: Two strategies; Prevention and Enforcement, were established under the first National Anti-Corruption Implementation Action Plan (2005). The second National Anti-Corruption Implementation Action Plan (2008–2013) took an incremental approach, building on the first strategy, broadening the prevention concept, incorporating the National Integrity System, focusing on constructive engagement, and emphasizing institutional-strengthening measures throughout the public sector. The third National Anti-Corruption Implementation Action Plan (2014-2018) placed equal emphasis on political (representing national interests) and technical (based on numerous research, public discussions, surveys, and comparisons with anti-corruption programs in other nations) issues.
The fourth-generation National Anti-Corruption Implementation Action Plan is created to outline the processes and procedures for putting the actions decided upon by stakeholders during a nation-wide stakeholders' consultation by the framework, priorities, and goals of the National Anti-Corruption Strategy 2019-2023. These steps include specific benchmarks and anti-corruption measures (Functionality of the IMCs, Internal Audit System,Procurement System, and Human Resources and Administration), and they are to be implemented by the relevant MDAs, Councils, Religious entities, and the private sector.
FOUR YEARS OF IMPLEMENTATION:
With only one year left before the present implementation plan expires, the Coordinating Secretariat has made significant progress in coordinating the implementation of the agreed action points across MDAs, with supervision and supervisory support from the Steering Committee, which sits in the Office of the Vice President. The NACS Secretariat has been given the 2019–2023 mission to monitor all MDAs and Councils quarterly, examine the status of the actions assigned to them, and analyze the MDAs' activities carried out in the NACS implementation plan.
The NACS Secretariat uses the Compliance Barometer Matrix (CBM) which comprises the functionality of IMCs, internal audit, procurement system, human resources, and administration to monitor MDAs and Local Councils, which has four (4) levels of compliance, namely; no compliance (0% - 49%) and any entity scoring within this range will be served an indictment, moderate compliance (50% - 79%) will be issued with a warning letter, significant compliance (80% - 90%) the NACS Secretariat will do further engagement and the last level is full compliance (90% - 100%) where the MDA of Local Council will be celebrated.
The NACS Secretariat in the area of the functionality of IMCs has achieved a 100% compliance rate as all MDAs and councils have an existing IMC within their structures. As the strategy is now in its fourth year of implementation, the NACS allocated 832 action points to all MDAs and Local Councils, and 544 of those have already been fully completed. Suffice it to state that, 84% of the total action points have already been implemented. The remaining 135 action points, which still have an entire year to be completed, represent 16% of the total.
Within the past four years, 23 MDAs have reached full compliance. Out of the 250 action points allocated to them, they were able to complete a whopping 243 or 97%. 13 MDAs scored significant compliance at 75%, and also 13 with moderate compliance at 65%. The Local Councils were also not left out in this great performance, where 16 Councils scored full compliance status, and the remaining with significant compliance.
The NACS has also helped institutions to develop and institutionalize scorecard systems (staff appraisal), develop and or update Customers Service Charter, and also develop Anti-Corruption Policy for the institutions.
The NACS promotes a shift in how we do national business to curb corruption and lay the groundwork for good administration. NACS is owned by everyone in Sierra Leone. It is a plan that all MDAs use as a working document.
It is made quite clear how monitoring is carried out: quarterly, while the Secretariat may alternatively carry out monthly monitoring in response to requests for explanation from the MDAs. The MDAs will be compelled to accept the recommendations and work toward success in the fight against corruption in Sierra Leone by regularly monitoring the procedure. Due to this effort, MDAs now have operational IMCs that support the upkeep of a functioning environment free from corruption.
These are a few of the initiatives the ACC has implemented and would continue to implement to stem the tide of corruption and corrupt practices in Sierra Leone, which the public is typically unaware of but which are very powerful strides made in the fight against this scourge.
©Public Relations Unit, ACC