Speaking on the purpose of training, the Director of Public Education and Outreach Department, Patrick Sandi said it was meant to empower them in the fight against corruption through the acquisition of knowledge and skills. He disclosed that due diligence was done on both organizations before granting them partnership status. Director Sandi recognized the importance of civil society organizations as active participants in the prevention of and combating corruption. He appreciated the heads of both organizations for their interest in joining the fight against corruption. “We are together in this partnership in respect of your recognition and determination to support ACC in the fight against corruption” he emphasized. He said the ACC has always opened its doors to such partnership and was pleased that more young people are showing commitment to partner with the ACC.
Giving an overview of ACC structures and operations, Director Sandi categorized the operations of the Commission to prevention and enforcement. He explained the public education, prevention and confrontational approaches used by ACC to achieve its mandate of leading the fight against corruption in Sierra Leone. He further gave a background to the establishment of the Commission and how it has evolved from 2000 to present. Director Sandi explained the major offences in the 2008 Anti-Corruption Act and the proposed amendments for the partners to understand and be in a position to sensitize their respective communities. He noted that the proposed amendments were geared towards further strengthening the Commission to address the different dynamics of corruption.
The Executive Director of DADA-SL, Foday D. M. Sesay described the training as the very best opportunity accorded to CSOs in Kambia, which he noted was a clear demonstration of a right based approach in the fight against corruption. He said they carefully selected community based staff across the district to benefit from the training so that they will be well positioned and equipped to take anti-corruption messages to the people. He promised on behalf of his organization to provide in house training for other members of staff in their operational areas that did not benefit from the training.
In his statement, Executive Director of SLLRM, Bishop Simeon B. Kamara said his organization which was determined in reaching out and rescuing the less privileged saw corruption as inimical to national development that was why they decided to partner with ACC to support the fight. He expressed appreciation to the current management of ACC for demonstrating its seriousness in the fight. Bishop Kamara said because ACC alone cannot fight corruption, they are stepping in to play complimentary roles. “The fight is ours. We are the victims. We will therefore support ACC to fight together” he underscored.
Speaking on the role of partners in the fight against corruption, ACC’s Senior Public Education Officer, Al-Hassan Sesay said coalition building and partnership is central in the fight against corruption. He said partnership with ACC was to foster consensus against corruption and share best practices. Sesay noted that the ACC had been so passionate to collaborate with organizations particularly those who share same mandate to come onboard in the fight against graft. He said partners of ACC are expected to serve as watchdogs, raise public awareness on corruption, proposing alternatives to controlling corruption, monitoring, civil participation in decision making processes and serve as role models of integrity and good governance.
The Senior Public Education Officer entreated the partners to resist and reject corruption demands, as well as reporting to ACC. He informed staff of both organizations that they should not present themselves as ACC staff and warned against impersonation.
Various concerns, suggestions, questions and comments from participants were raised during the plenary session of the training.