“Instituting corruption preventive measures does not only improve the delivery of social services but also obliges public sector institutions to uphold ethical standards and the rule of law.”
The Chief Administrator of the Bo District Council Abdul Koroma made this statement at a meeting organised by the Southern Region office of the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) to engage members of the Integrity Management Committee of the Bo City and Bo District Councils and devolved sectors on the implementation of the National Anti-Corruption Strategy (NACS) 2019-2023.
The meeting took place on Wednesday 16th March 2021 at the Conference Room of the Bo District Council.
Mr. Koroma spoke of the Council’s determination to instill anti-corruption measures in their operations, consistent with the NACS Action Plan.
In his statement, ACC Southern Region Manager Musa J. B. Jawara described the NACS as Sierra Leone’s blueprint to fight corruption. He emphasized that it a strategy of national character because during the process of putting it together there was a countrywide consultation to gauge the views of all citizens.
Mr. Jawara said the current strategy, which runs from 2019-2023, requires local councils to lead its implementation at district level. He appreciated the Councils’ efforts in coordinating the process thus far, despite the lackluster attitude of some Government Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) to make their Integrity Management Committees (IMCs) effective and functional.
Mr. Jawara said the role of IMC members should not be misunderstood as undercover agents of the ACC but rather an internal control structure that identifies corruption issues within the MDAs and finds ways of addressing them in collaboration with the leadership of the institution. “A very functional IMC will, for example, avert the flouting of policies and procedures and bring to the attention of Management when there are improper use of resources, issues that are often captured in audit reports,” he said.
The Manager added that some of the actions on the NACS work plan are quick-wins and may perhaps require employees to uphold to basic work ethics. He admonished members of the IMCs to always maintain work plan, keep records of systemic issues resolved and comprehensive quarterly implementation reports.
Mr. Jawara informed public sector workers that non-compliance to the NACS action matrix without reasonable excuse warrants the enforcement of the compliance sanctions outlined under the Anti-Corruption Act 2008 as amended in 2019.
Speaking at the engagement, Senior Public Education Officer, ACC, Abdulai Saccoh affirmed the Commission’s commitment to ensuring the successful implementation of the strategy in order to address systems weaknesses in public sector institutions. Mr. Saccoh said unlike previous strategies, the 2019-2023 NACS seeks to promote corruption-prevention methods, heighten public awareness campaigns, create sustainable partnership and mechanism for joint actions, strengthen integrity, transparency, accountability and the rule of law in public and private sectors. “Although the focus of the current strategy is enforcement, public education and corruption prevention are also crucial components,” he concluded.
In his statement, Public Education Officer, ACC, Mohamed A. Kabba said the engagement was intended to assess the extent at which both councils and devolved sectors have gone with the implementation of the NACS work plan. He pleaded with Integrity Management Committee members to pay special attention to the implementation of the strategy as it seeks to enhance accountability and internal controls.