The Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) has entreated stakeholders, community members and beneficiaries of the Social Safety Net (SSN) in COVID-19 program in Maconteh Chiefdom, Port Loko District, to support the Commission’s drive to promote integrity in the project.
The engagement was held on Monday 9th August 2021 at the Community Square in Faidugu community.
Sylvanus M. Blake, Senior Public Education Officer of the ACC said the objective of the SSN Project is to establish the main building blocks for the basic national safety net system and to provide income support to extremely poor households in Sierra Leone. He said the ACC is handling the Grievance Redress Mechanism (GRM) component of the project by robustly monitoring the project and providing a platform to handle complaints by the beneficiaries. “The ACC is always ready, willing and able to address any and every integrity issue in this project,” he said.
Mr Blake took his audience through a captivating case study on the changes the project has brought into the lives of beneficiaries. Kadiatu Sesay, he said, a beneficiary from Krima Community, echoed with beaming tears from her eyes, how she lost her husband and her only male son in 2018. She was left with 5 daughters to care for as a single parent. “They did not go to school. We hardly eat, we were sick, the roof of our house was blown off by wind; we slept in the rain. I was indebted and in slavery, but thank God for the World Bank, the Government of Sierra Leone and NaCSA for the direct cash transfer to my family. With the SSN money, my children are back to school, our roof has been fixed, and I now run my own small business. I cannot describe how I feel. This project is a game changer and a life saver,’’ Kadiatu ended joyfully. Similar sentiments were expressed by several other beneficiaries.
The Public Relations Officer of ACC Margaret Murray while giving updates on the activities of the Commission underscored that the ACC is the People’s Commission and its commitment to the fight against corruption is informed and spurred by the desire to actualize the socio-economic needs and welfare of Sierra Leoneans. She highlighted the monumental gains the ACC has recorded, especially in the past three years, for which there is a resounding acclaim within and outside Sierra Leone.
The PRO said the national fight against corruption, led by Francis Ben Kaifala Esq., is unbiased and unsentimental and does not target persons for who they are but for what they do.
She emphasized that the very few who perceive the ACC of cherry-picking in the fight against corruption are not only disingenuous, but are unappreciative of how far we have come as a people in this war against the dreaded monster of corruption, for reasons best known to them. She said that available empirical data speak to the fact that the ACC has been doing its work fairly and transparently and goes only after the corrupt.
Miss Murray while admonishing her audience to join the fight against corruption said “We are the Doctors, we can medicate corruption but you-the public are the patients. Until you tell us, we cannot do proper diagnosis to know what exactly is happening and what can be done to address it”.
She called on parents to make good use of the cash, such as investing it wisely. She encouraged them to send their children to school, adding that someday, the funding will stop, but prudent investment will be the saving grace.
Pete Dalton Sesay, Audio Visual Officer of the ACC, moderated the question-and-answer session, which was interactive and educative; while Salifu Kamara, ACC’s Port Loko District Monitor, chaired the meeting.
Similar engagements are being held in the Kambia and Karene Districts.