By Alex A. Bah
The Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC), has engaged stakeholders, community members and beneficiaries of the Social Safety Net (SSN) project, in the Lumpacommunity, Waterloo, Western Rural, on the status of the project with particular emphasis on the Commission’s unwinding position to enhance integrity in the project.
This engagement and awareness raising was held at the Community Hall in Lumpa, with staff from the Commission injecting hope and electrifying the attendees on the values of integrity that represent the Commission’s drive to fight corruption in all spheres of society.
Giving an overview of the Social Safety Net (SSN) project and the Grievance Redress Mechanism (GRM), which underpins the Commission’s role in the project, the Western Area Rural District Monitor, Kadiatu M. Sesay said that the underpinning motive of the project was to provide cash transfer to vulnerable people that will help them become self-reliant.
She said that, it is against this backdrop that the project, which initially started with Two Hundred and Fifty Thousand Leones (Le250,000), has now been increased to One Million, Three Hundred and Nine Thousand (Le1,309,000). She said the Commission is handling the GRM component of the project to instill integrity in the project and provide a forum for beneficiaries to report their concerns and grievances related to the payments and the implementation of the project.
Assistant Public Relations Officer, Sylvanus Blake, in his statement, noted that, considering issues of corruption in similar projects in previous times, the Commission is poised to prevent any such appalling occurrences in the SSN project. “The Commission is critically involved in the thick and thin of this project, to prevent and suppress any possible corruption in the entire project,” he emphatically noted. Mr. Blake encouraged the people to judiciously utilize the cash given to them by investing it on profitable ventures.
Communications Officer ACC, Alex A. Bah premised his statement on the work of the Commission and the unimaginable gains made in the fight against corruption in the last three years.
He informed the people of the over Thirty Billion Leones and tangible assets recovered from corrupt individuals. He furthered that, there are now tougher laws with punitive penalties for people convicted of corruption. “Our major enemy in Sierra Leone is Corruption. It is the primary cause of our sufferings, and notably a major cause even of our decade-long civil war. It is therefore important we all contribute collectively to defeat this enemy in our best interest,” he added.
Public Relations Officer of the ACC Margaret Murray spoke on the recent meeting the Commission had with the National Commission for Social Action (NaCSA) and Rokel Commercial Bank, with respect to the next cash payment that the beneficiaries have been very concerned about. “Your monies are safe and will be paid to you soon with every backlog,” she said.
Various beneficiaries gave testimonies on how the support has helped them.
Fatmata Karim, a beneficiary, gave her testimony that the money supported her business and helped in paying her kids’ school fees.
Marie Sesay, another beneficiary noted that she used the money to rehabilitate her house, buy mattress, settle her children’s school charges, and helped her start her own business.
Mohammed Joseph Kabbah, a visually impaired person, profusely thanked the ACC for the monitoring, noting that the project has greatly helped him in supporting his kids.