Public Education Officer ACC, who also moderated the meeting, Sahr Nabieu noted that, the engagement, was to strategize on how to address the incidences of bribery in the traffic sector within the District. He informed the gathering that the Commission is implementing the Pay No Bribe (PNB) campaign integrated in the President’s Recovery Priorities (PRP); aimed at eliminating bribery and petty corruption in service delivery institutions. Mr. Nabieu informed participants that as response by the SLP to the November and December 2016 PNB reports, 21 illegal checkpoints has been dismantled; as these were serving as breeding grounds for bribery. The PNB project is funded by the UK Aid and the Government of Sierra Leone, he added.
He encouraged the participants to report bribery free on 515 across all networks and other corruption related matters to the Commission on ACC free lines 077985-985/077986-986 for Africell, 161 for Airtel or ACC Kono Sierratel Land Line 022-530-069.
Highlighting some of the offences and penalties as enshrined in the AC Act 2008 that would be likely committed by the traffic authorities, Senior Investigation Officer, Momodu Sittar mentioned abuse of office, abuse of position, misappropriation of Government fund/property, misappropriation of donor fund/property, soliciting and accepting advantage, possession of unexplained wealth, bribery among several others. He noted that when convicted on each of these offences, a fine of not less than thirty million Leones (Le 30,000,000.00) or three (3) years imprisonment or both such fine and imprisonment. The SIO advised the traffic authorities to resist corruption of any form, as there is nothing petty about petty corruption.
Sub-Regional Manager, Wilfred Bangura underscored the significance of the traffic sector in revenue generation. He cited instances of corrupt practices in the sector, such as, bribery and smuggling of goods by some bike riders and motor drivers to neighboring communities. He expressed his dissatisfaction over the increase of unlicensed and unregistered motor bikes and vehicles which he said would deprive Government of the much needed revenue. Manager Bangura described the meeting is an open discourse to devise mechanisms that would ensure the eradication of bribery and petty corruption within the traffic sector. He encouraged participants to embrace the partnership and refrain from corrupt practices.
Head of Traffic, Tankoro Police Division, Yembeh Mansaray, lauded the Commission for extending the fight against corruption to the traffic sector. He assured the Commission of their support and cooperation in terms of improving on accountability and transparency in their operations.
Sector Commander, Road Safety Corps of the SLRSA, Mohamed Munda noted that 80% of motor bikes in Kono District are unregistered and unlicensed. He said the problem lies with the bike owners who spend huge amount of money to purchase motorbikes but could not license same. He outlined limited staff strength, centralization of the processing of licenses as some of their challenges.
The Vehicle Examiner of the Sierra Leone Road Safety Authority, Mohamed Kamara also expressed appreciation to the ACC for the timely engagement. Mr. Kamara revealed that it takes twenty four hours for the renewal of vehicle licenses and two weeks for the licensing of motor bikes. He assured the Commission of his institution’s fullest support to eradicate corruption in their sector and maintain standards and professionalism in the discharge of their functions.
Mohamed Koroma, Kono District Bike Riders Union Chairman, presented over four hundred false commercial motor bikes’ number plates to the gathering with different names written on them. He unearthed that two weeks deadline have been given to the riders/bike owners to license their motor bikes; or else they will face the full force of the law. ‘If all the authorities act in this direction, corruption especially bribery, will be minimized in service delivery, the chairman emphasized.
Commenting on their operations, the Drivers Union representative, Tamba Alpha said, their union is strict on implementing laws to ensure that drivers go through the due process before plying the roads. He confirmed that the official transport fare from Koidu City to Makeni is thirty thousand leones (Le 30,000.00).
Other speakers who made meaningful contributions include: Anthony Kpasipo, Station Sergeant of the Motema Police Division, John P. Komba, station Sergeant of the Tankoro Police Division and Alfred Joseph Koroma, Reporter, Sierra Leone Broadcasting Corporation (SLBC) Kono.
The engagement was climaxed with questions and answers session.