THE ACC IN KENEMA HAS TAKEN THE FIRST THREE MONTHS REPORT ON THE PNB TO STAKEHOLDERS IN FIVE CLASS A CHIEFDOMS IN KENEMA DISTRICT
The Pay No Bribe Campaign was launched on the 30th September 2016 in Kenema to address both petty and grand corruption in five piloted MDAs (EDSA, SALWACO, MOHS, MEST and the SLP) and districts including the Western Area Rural, Western Area Urban, Bombali, Bo and Kenema. Since its unveiling, the PNB reporting platform have induced thousands of reports from the public detailing instances of corruption they encountered in these MDAs in a bid to update the public and other community stakeholders on the PNB campaign share its initial success with them and continue galvanizing their support. Intensive community engagements have been conducted in five chiefdom head quarter towns in Kenema District. This exercise started on the 28th February and continued on the 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 6th of March 2017 in Tongo Lower Bambara, Boajibu, Giema Dama, Gorahun Tunkia and Panguma towns respectively.
Dilating on the reasons for the campaign, the Public Education Officer Sam P. Gogra said that the campaign was borne out of two Transparency International Afro Barometer surveys conducted in 2013 and 2014 which stated that 83% and 41% of Sierra Leoneans interviewed said that they had either given a bribe or accepted a bribe to either access public services or offer public services. He noted that even though we scored passing marks in some thematic assessment areas for the Millennium Challenge Compact process, our nation did not however get the much needed $ 444 dollars because of a poor score in corruption control indicator a trend that became very worrying for Sierra Leone and her international partners. Mr. Gogra also disclosed that the Pay No Bribe Campaign is a DFID funded three year project meant to fight both petty and grand corruption and restore public and investor confidence. With regards to the methods of reporting, he emphasized that the commonest means of reporting is by calling the free toll line of 515 for all networks across the country and the identities of all complainants will not be revealed. He stated that the PNB is a softer diagnostic tool aimed at addressing corruption allegations through administrative efforts such as warnings, transfers, terminations etc.
During his presentations, Public Education Officer Sylvanus M. Blake gave a vivid account of reports received as they relate to the various entities. He said that the resolve of the public to ensure that petty and grand corruption is minimized significantly had resulted to the numerous reports registered in the campaign. The reports he said raised key concerns in institutions and how the PNB seeks to address them. He noted that the numerous complaints against the SLP for instance lead to the summoning of Assistant Inspector General’s (AIGs) and other divisional heads of the Police by the SLP rank and file to find a way to circumvent the issues. The issues of paying monies for bail and the erection of illegal checkpoints were major issues that were very outstanding in the reports. Mr. Blake stated that this prompted the AIG to summon all relevant stakeholders including the ACC on the 28th December 2016 and did place an unconditional ban on and requested the immediate the removal of all ungazetted/illegal checkpoints in the East. This move saw the removal of twelve of such checkpoints in the East and similarly, a joint CDIID and ACC monitoring team of checkpoints, the banning of Saturdays classes in Kenema, condemnation of all illegal extortion of monies in schools and monitoring same for MEST, MOHS, EDSA and SALWACO.
In demonstrating the use of the reporting platform the NMJD (the civil Society organization responsible for implementing the PNB in Kenema pilot District) Animator Mr. Alpha S. Lavallie explained clearly the various methods of reporting on the PNB platform including the use of the tablets. He reminded the participants that the system has provisions for reporting in some of our local languages and that the system only allows anonymous reports. Mr. Kamara another NMJD Animator also made a passionate appeal to the various stakeholders to always contact them if they have issues to report on and not to treat them as adversaries.
Posters bearing PNB messages were distributed afterwards and questions and answer session formed the climax of the meeting.