Saccoh stated that the engagement was intended to open their eyes and ears on some of the corrupt practices that continue to hold back the progress of the communities; enlighten them on the Commission’s app roach to the fight and enlist their support in the fight against corruption. He went further to inform his audience that the meeting was also meant to educate the community on their roles in the implementation of the Presidential Recovery Priority programmes. The Public Education Officer made a clarion call on the people of Kamabai to be anti-graft emissaries and ensure the messages reach the nuke and cranny of the chiefdom.
Speaking on key corruption issues affecting the community, ACC Senior Public Education Officer David Kanekey Conteh described the engagement as a plain talk forum that was not appreciated by individuals involved in corruption. Conteh informed his audience that corruption sometimes starts small but people ignored the act with the notion that is not their business; failing to realize that the adverse consequences of corruption is indiscriminate. The war against corruption would not end if Sierra Leoneans continue to hold the view that issues of national concerns is not their business but for those in authority he noted.
Conteh went on to catalogue some of the corrupt practices that are prevalent in the schools, health facilities, local court and the security sectors that continue to inflict untold suffering on the lives of the rural poor. It made mentioned of misuse of school fee subsidy, extorting money for the collection of report cards, BECE, WASSSEC and NPSE results, abuse of the free health care programme, misuse of the free malaria test and drugs, absenteeism of health workers and teachers, payment of bribe before bail is granted, invading of taxes by traders, refusal to pay local tax, misuse of tax revenue and poor implementation of projects and programmes. Conteh informed his audience of the punishment for any of the offences in the 2008 Anti-Corruption Act. The Senior Public Education Officer encouraged the people to report incidences of corruption to the Commission for the good of their community.
Dilating on the role of the community in the presidential recovery priority programmes implementation, ACC Senior Public Education Officer Al-Hassan Sesay underscored the importance of the engagement noting that corruption will not stop if Sierra Leoneans opted to remain silence on corrupt practices. Sesay recounted the genesis of the presidential recovery priorities; which subsequently led to government’s efforts to revive various sectors that have been affected by the outbreak of the Ebola. He further disclosed that the priority sectors in the initiative are: education, health, social safety net, natural resources, governance and the private sector; ACC is placed under the governance sector to provide oversight role in the implementation of all programmes. The Senior Public Education Officer notified his audience that every citizen has a role to play if only the implementation of the presidential recovery priority programmes should succeed; thereby ensuring that projects undertaken within their communities are monitored and incidence of corruption are reported to the ACC. Sesay urged the people of Kamabai to own the fight and ensure that they resist, reject and report corruption to the Commission. He explained the various reporting mechanism and read out ACC toll free lines.
Sesay talked on the plan launch of the Pay No Bribe campaign targeting: SLP, Energy, Water Resources, Education and Health sectors which would be piloted in Bombali, Bo, Kenema and Western Area. The Senior Public Education Officer used the forum to encourage the people to remain resolute and ensure that corruption is kicked out of the community.
Earlier Biriwa Chiefdom Paramount Chief Alimamy Salifu Mana Kalawa iii heaped praise on the Commission for its relentless effort to sensitize the people in the remote communities on the adverse effects of corruption. PC Kalawa iii promised on behalf of his people to put the past behind them and collectively work with ACC to weed corruption out of Biriwa Chiefdom.
The meeting was chaired by Biriwa Chiefdom Pa. Lansana Conteh and distribution of information, education and communication materials formed the high point of the meeting.