By Jeneba Kemoh
The Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) Eastern Regional Office in Kenema, through its Public Education Unit, has held a community meeting with residents of Bendu Mameima, Malegohun Chiefdom, Kenema District, in a bid to continue to spread anti-corruption messages in rural communities.
This engagement which targeted residents and authorities of the chiefdom reinforced the belief that citizens are critical agents of change and they are pivotal to the fight against corruption, which hampers the provision of essential public services and severely undermines development. The meeting was also intended to empower the community and encourage them to resist, reject and report incidences of bribery and petty corruption to the ACC.
The ACC’s Eastern Regional Manager Keifala Koi in his presentation explained the genesis of the Commission, which he underscored was borne out of the recommendation of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) Report, which singled out corruption as one of the major causes of the decade-long civil war in Sierra Leone.
Mr. Koi also provided general updates on the work of the Commission under the leadership of Commissioner Francis Ben Keifala Esq. He said corrupt acts perpetrated by greedy and selfish Sierra Leoneans who believe in acquiring wealth through illegal means are being thoroughly investigated and over 31 Billion Leones have been recovered. “A hotel in Kono and Government vehicles have also been recovered under the Commission’s non-assets based recovery strategy,” he furthered.
Mr. Koi assured his audience that the Commission will continue to maintain high level of integrity and confidentiality in its work and further appealed to them to support the ACC in combating the scourge of corruption.
Public Education Officer Jeneba Kemoh outlined a number of allegations of bribery incidents in education, health, and local courts, explaining the role of public officers in ensuring integrity in public service delivery.
The Public Education Officer said bribery, favoritism and other corrupt practices are common in many communities and described them as social menaces that have the tendency to destroy the moral fabric of society.
She said the people should see it as their responsibility to tackle bribery and petty corruption in their communities and not just the responsibility of the ACC alone. She further announced the toll free lines of 077-985-985 /077-986-986 or 515(all networks) to report incidences of corruption.
Responding to the anti-corruption messages, Town Chief Pa Steven Bowah thanked the ACC for educating them on the dangers of corruption and the gains the Commission has made in the fight for the betterment of the country. He pledged, on behalf of his people, to support the Commission in the anti-corruption campaign.
The presentation of IEC materials to the Town Chief climaxed the engagement.