“Sierra Leoneans must understand that until we choose to make conscientious efforts to fight corruption our living conditions will be compromised by few greedy individuals.”
This statement was made on Friday 21st January 2022, by the Chiefdom Speaker, Badjia Chiefdom, Bo District, Joseph Blackie in a sensitization meeting organized by the Southern Region office, of the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC).
Speaking passionately at the native administrative (NA) Court Barray, Ngelehun Community, Badjia Chiefdom, Bo District, ACC Regional Manager, South, Momodu Sittar appreciated the interest manifested by the people to put aside their social and economic activities to attend to ACC’s call. He described corruption as a heinous act perpetrated by lawless and unpatriotic persons to satisfy their insatiable appetite for wealth. Manager Sittar also noted that anti-corruption message is crucial because it does not only reinforce societal growth but also seeks to unshackle the people from the scourge of corruption. Mr. Sittar recognized that despite the pains corruption has caused the nation certain sets of the public still have the fervor to defend such action due to selfish reasons.
Manager Sittar furthered that the country can only put a dent on corruption when the public start to demand answers from duty bearers for wrong doings happening in their communities. Mr. Sittar admonished residents and stakeholders not to participate in any dealings that will be in conflict with the law. He informed them that though a good number of the offences in the Anti-Corruption Act 2008 as amended in 2019 are exclusively meant for public officer there are also specific ones which deal with the private sector. Manager Sittar urged them to translate their determination into action by not only participating in corrupt activities but also to have the courage to disown rogues in their communities.
Addressing his audience, ACC Senior Public Education Officer, Abdulai Saccoh affirmed the Commission’s commitment to take appropriate actions to protect funds and resources meant to improve the wellbeing of citizens. Saccoh recognized that whilst some public sector institutions are trying to improve on the services they deliver to rural communities, others seek pleasure in wrecking havoc on the underprivileged masses. He underscored the essence of taking social services to rural communities but said it seems certain public sector institutions are being used as avenues for extortion. Mr. Saccoh catalogued some of the corrupt practices that perhaps the people have been suffering from due to ignorance and inaction. He encouraged the people of Ngelehun and its environs not to settle for less by demanding for more accountability from duty bearers during the implementation of community development projects. Saccoh acknowledged some of the challenges faced by teachers, local court officials, health workers but cautioned them not to choose the path of disobeying the law.
In his statement, ACC’s Public Education Officer, Mohamed A. Kabba, said the meeting was intended to raise awareness on the dangers of corruption and how citizens can play their part in controlling the scourge. Mr. Kabba emphasized that public participation in the fight against corruption is crucial because it is a fight for all citizens and therefore requires the collective support of all. He emphasized that citizens can demonstrate such commitment by reporting the occurrence of corruption wherever it is takes place. Mr. Kabba assured them that the Commission guarantees the protection of those reporting issues of corruption. He also read out the Commission’s toll free lines of 077985985/ 077986986 or 515 (all networks except Qcell).
Prior to the community engagement, the ACC Southern Region team sensitized staff and pupils of the Badjia Junior Secondary School in Ngelehun Town on illegal practices in schools, offence of academic malpractices and integrity values pupils and teachers should inculcate.