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ACC instills anti-corruption values in West African Youth Network Members

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ACC instills anti-corruption values in West African Youth Network Members

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The Public Education and Outreach Department of the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) has, on Monday 19th July 2021, at the Africell American Corner, Bathurst Street in Freetown Sierra Leone, continued its efforts to woo and enlist young people in the national campaign against graft. Serving as lead facilitator in the third phase of the mind-changing training, which targeted over 50 University Students, the ACC enlightened participants on the causes, ills and effects of Corruption on the Education Sector and ways to address them.

The first and second phases of the training were held on the 5th and 12th of July 2021, at the same venue, which attracted mainly pupils and students from Secondary Schools and colleges.

The Head of WAYN Mohamed Kanneh said that, with support from the German Civil Peace Service, under its Education Program, the trainings aim at providing capacity for young people who are the foremost victims of corruption, to rewardingly partner with and complement the efforts of the ACC. He said that as allies of the ACC they will continue to create the space for the ACC and the youth to dialogue and collaborate in the national fight against corruption. He described corruption as a real threat to the safety and destiny of young persons, including achieving the benefits of the Government’s flagship Free Quality Education program. H

Elucidating on the concept of corruption and its ominous effects on the education sector to the trainees, Sylvanus Blake, Senior Public Education Officer-ACC, acknowledged the affirmative contributions by the WAYN to the fight against corruption and called on others to emulate them. He said that the fight against corruption is a national campaign that requires the contribution of all citizens.

Mr. Blake told his audience that corruption is a dreadful and iniquitous act, whether or not perpetrators are our acquaintances, relatives, godfathers or not. “What is wrong is wrong, it does not matter who did it, when it happened or how it happened. If you pay a bribe to pass exams, cheat in class, or involve in any wrong act as a student, you are as wrong like the teacher, politician, public servant, law enforcement officer, etc who demands bribe, sells grades and extorts money from the pupils/parents/public, no argument or defence can adequately vindicate you,” Mr. Blake stated.

The Senior Public Education Officer said that, it is a pungent reality that there continues to be rampant, endemic and entrenched corruption in the education sector which is at the core of our Human Capital Development, an indispensable ingredient of every nation’s development strides. He furthered that such a situation, which is an emergency already, needed to be confronted and reversed urgently. He stated that the causes of corruption in the education sector can be attributed to several issues, key among them being; lack of integrity, selfishness, weak control systems, degradation of morals and values, etc.

Mr. Blake encouraged the students to reject corruption in all its forms more so avenues that promote academic malpractices, adding that it is both in contravention of Section 128(3) of the Anti-Corruption Act 2008 as amended in 2019, and which is punishable by a fine of not less than Le: 50 million or 5 years in jail or both.  “I beseech you to invest your time today wisely in studying hard and passing your exams genuinely. The opportunities are out there but they are certainly for the best. You cannot be involved in corruption and support the fight against it. We need unadulterated introspection, break away from the shackles of corruption and then support the fight against it unsentimentally for the betterment of the Sierra Leone we all desire,”Mr. Blake admonished the young people.

He shared the ACC hotlines of 515, 077-985-985/986-986, and the website www.anticorruption.gov.sl to report acts of corruption, and encouraged them to speak up against corruption, assuring them of a confidential and strong whistle blower and informant protection mechanisms provided by law.

Salaymatu Thoronka, a third year student from Fourah Bay College expressed warm sentiments, admitting that they have now fully understood the causes and effects of corruption and measures required to address them.

An interactive question-and-answer session, which clarified many concerns and misconceptions about the work of the ACC, concluded the session.

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