Briefing community stakeholders, civil society groups, the media and Heads of Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs), Mr. Davies underscored the benefits of combating bribery as it would restore public confidence in accessing social services and the fight against corruption. He stated that the PNB concept is a sequel of the 2013 Transparency International (TI) Afro-Barometre report which indicated that 84% of respondents accepted to have been asked to pay a bribe or paid a bribe for social services. Deputy Commissioner revealed that the PNB is a three-year project to be piloted in four (4) districts; Bo, Kenema, Bombali and Western Area and five (5) MDAs; SLP, Water Sector, Energy Sector and the Ministries of Health and Education; noting also, that the scope in terms of Districts and MDAs could be expanded after the three years. Mr. Davies disclosed that it is a four million, seven hundred thousand pounds (£4,700,000) project and the ACC will be receiving, one million and seventy thousand pounds (£1,070,000) from the project sum for capacity building and activities/programs appertaining to the roll out of the PNB campaign. This campaign ties in with the vision of the Commissioner of ACC, Ady Macauley Esq., who says under his leadership, the ACC will work to improve on the governance landscape of Sierra Leone making it a socially, economically viable and stable nation, the Deputy Commissioner added.
In his submission on the reporting framework of the PNB, the Deputy Director Public Education and Outreach Department Patrick Sandi, stressed that the campaign required anonymous real time reporting with the view to providing data on the trends of bribery in the five (5) pilot MDAs. Mr. Sandi noted that reports will be made to the call centre, through a short code 515 toll free line, the PNB website: www.pnb.gov.sl and the mobile app. The calls will be processed, analyzed and submitted to the respective MDAs for administrative actions/resolutions and system reforms. He emphasized that the Integrity Management Committees (IMCs) of the MDAs will provide institutional leadership in dealing with the complaints and will provide feedback to the ACC within four working days after receipt of the report. The Deputy Director emphasized the benefits of service Delivery Charters to the implementation of the PNB project.
Speaking on behalf of Coffey International, the Team Leader Elizabeth Marsh told participants that Coffey was providing technical support to the PNB project. She stressed that similar projects had been implemented in India, Uganda and Ghana, but the uniqueness of the project in Sierra Leone is Government’s total support to it, as the Office of the Chief of Staff is at the centre of the project implementation.
Coffey Team Leader highlighted and demonstrated the features of the PNB portal. She furthered that civil society groups will be charged with the responsibility together with the ACC to educate the public on the use of the portal, sensitization on the PNB project and sharing with them outcomes on bribery reports made to the ACC.
The engagements were held in Bo, and Kenema on the 18th, and 20th, May, 2016 respectively and were chaired by the Regional Managers: Bo; Samuel Marah, Kenema; Peter Kamara and Makeni; Abubakarr Kamara.
Improvement in the working conditions of public sector workers, timely disbursements of allocations to MDAs, and logistical support to regional offices by Headquarter formed part of the issues highlighted by the MDAs as possible drawbacks to the fight against corruption in Sierra Leone.