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ACC Commissioner Interacts with NGOs

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ACC Commissioner Interacts with NGOs

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Addressing them at an NGO forum organised by the Sierra Leone Association of Non Governmental Organisations (SLANGO) in Freetown, Commissioner Ady Macauley (Esq) emphasised that ACC has the mandate to fight and suppress corruption wherever it is prevalent. He explained that there are sections within the 2008 Anti-Corruption Act that deals with misappropriation of donor and public funds and property. Commissioner Macauley in very clear terms said the jurisdiction of the ACC is wide and the enactment of the 2008 Act was a demonstration of Government’s compliance with the United Nations Convention Against Corruption (UNCAC). He furthered that chapter three of the UNCAC required each member state to criminalise conduct of even foreign public officials based in Sierra Leone, which is inclusive of NGOs and persons working for international NGOs.

Commissioner Macauley said his interaction with NGOs was prompted by several issues bordering on accountability and corruption. He disclosed that the Ebola period exposed the level of corruption within NGOs and INGOs, adding that within the past three months, he had signed indictments and charged to court at least fifteen NGO workers. The ACC Commissioner lamented that the duty waiver concession is being misused and abused by some NGOs but said the ACC has held discussions with the Ministry of Finance on accountability and transparency in the operations of NGOs. “If we collaborate and help NGOs put systems and processes in place, there will be credibility and confidence in their operations and the donors giving them monies will be confident that the monies are going to the right people and for the right purposes” he noted.

In his statement, Deputy Commissioner of ACC, Mr. Shollay Davies said the interaction was for them to know the scope of ACC’s operations and share experiences working with local and international NGOs in the country. He made mention of a systems review undertaken by ACC in 2010 relating to transparency and accountability within NGOs and INGOs operating in Sierra Leone. The Deputy Commissioner observed that some of the issues raised in that report are still prevalent and active. He therefore encouraged all NGOs to direct their energies towards addressing those issues and conduct their operations free from corruption. “By the provisions of the 2008 Act, as long as you receive funds for and on behalf of the people of Sierra Leone or a section thereof, makes you a public officer” he emphasised.

The interaction was climaxed by question and answer session.

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