Giving an overview of the meeting, Chairman of the programme and Public Education Officer ACC Junisa Sankoh said one of the reasons why the country is rated low in Transparency International Index is widespread bribery. Mr. Sankoh described bribery as a major hindrance to community development, noting that there are public services that are supposed to be free but people are forced to pay bribes to access them.
Delivering the welcome address the Headman of the Community, Sahid Kamara thanked ACC for such an engagement as this was the first time the Commission has visited them. He said the Community people will seize the opportunity to raise questions about the fight against corruption in the country and clarify issues that are commonly misunderstood.
The Councilor in the community, Edwin Koroma thanked the Commission for the initiative, and noted that the fight against corruption is pivotal to community development, urging the Commission to continue engaging different communities so that the public will understand the issues of corruption and how they affect their wellbeing.
Speaking on issues of bribery, Head of Outreach Unit, ACC, Abubakarr Turay gave a brief description of some of the acts that can constitute bribery. He said bribery is one of the issues affecting community development. He cited the education and health sectors which people commonly complain about; with particular reference to the free healthcare for lactating mothers, pregnant women and children under the age of five. He advised the audience to see it as a duty to report any act of bribery and corruption they witness in their community. He concluded by giving out the free hot lines including that for the Pay No Bribe campaign. He however cautioned the people against malicious complaints and reports that do not fall under the mandate of the Commission, such as marital issues.
Dilating on the Systems and Processes Reviews undertaken by the Commission, Policy and Ethics Officer Francis Lassayo, said that the Commission does not only arrest and prosecute offenders but also undertakes reviews of public offices and proffers recommendations for best practices. He informed the community about some of the reviews undertaken by the Commission and how they have helped improve service delivery.
The section chief Pa Alimamy Kargbo, community chairman James Kamara and the community health nurse also made meaningful contributions.
The event was climaxed by a questions and answer session.