The Anti-Corruption Commission’s (ACC) sub-regional office in Kono, has held community engagements in Waiima and Kunduma in Fiama Chiefdom, Kono District, aimed at sensitizing the people on the dangers posed by corruption and the need for them to join the fight. The two meetings took place on 30th June and 1st July, 2021 respectively.
In her opening statements, the ACC Public Education Officer Hawa Deen Conteh told the audience that the engagement was to interact with them, identify corruption opportunities prevalent in their communities and suggest ways to curbing them.
She went further to commend the people including stakeholders whom she referred to as ‘forces to reckon with in combating corruption’ through their reporting of corruption offences.
The ACC Regional Manager in Kono, Hawanatu O. Kamara, described the Commissioner, Francis Ben Kaifala as an ‘astute leader’ while noting his achievement since his appointment three years ago. They include cash recovery of over 30 Billion Leones, a conviction rate of over 95% on all prosecuted matters, a 13-place upwards progress on Transparency International Global corruption perception index, remarkable passes in the Millennium Challenge Corporation Control of Corruption Indicator with 71% in 2018, 79% in 2019 and 81% in 2020 as opposed to a failing 49% in 2017. She said corruption prevalence in Sierra Leone has also declined from 70% in 2017 to 40% in 2020. She added that the young energetic Commissioner has made corruption a risky venture which is evidence of his effectiveness in the fight against corruption.
Public Education Officer Sam P. Gogra in his submission emphasized that stakeholders and other community participants must always be mindful and vigilant in relation to service delivery in their respective communities.
Mr. Gogra also outlined some of the corruption offences widespread in schools, hospitals, security sectors that are worsening poverty levels in the lives of rural people, such as payment for assignments and report cards, injudicious and surreptitious use of school fees subsidies, inflation of school charges, abuse of the Free Health Care Program and payment of bribes for bail. He therefore reminded the audience that the aforementioned acts constitute corruption offences that attract upon conviction, a fine of not less than Fifty (50) Million Leones or a jail term of not less than Five (5) years or both such fine and imprisonment.
While assuring the participants that the Commission is determined to improve the lives of every Sierra Leonean in ensuring that all forms of corruption are eliminated, the public educator implored the audience to always call the toll free lines of 515,077-985985/986986 to report corruption offences to the ACC for prompt action.
Earlier, in his welcome statement, Town Chief, Waiima, Abdul Karim Koroma praised the Commission for such interactive engagement. He said they are pleased to have the ACC in their midst noting that such engagement will help them identify corruption issues in their community and report same to the Commission. Chief Koroma on behalf of his people pledged his fullest support and cooperation with the ACC in the fight against corruption.