The Regional Manager of the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) in the North-West Region, Al-Hassan Sesay has told local authorities and residents of Fintonia and Samaya Towns in the TambakhaYobangie and TambakhaSimiBongie Chiefdoms respectively to embrace the fight against graft for improved livelihoods and sustainable development.
He made this statement during two community sensitization meetings on 2nd and 3rd June 2021 with residents of TambakhaYobangie and TambakhaSimiBongie Chiefdoms in Karene District respectively. The engagements were part of the Commission’s public education drive to increase public knowledge and soliciting public support in combatting graft.
Speaking at the respective meetings, the Regional Manager Al-Hassan Sesay said corruption is one of the biggest impediments to rural development and effective service delivery to the people. He noted that one of the challenges to accelerated development in these communities was that they have turned a blind eye and accepted Corruption as part of the system.
Commenting on revenue generated from timber logging in the two Chiefdoms, the Regional head stated that funds generated from timber logging are public revenue and must be protected and accounted for as stated by law. He went on to state that the benefits was almost hardly realized by the communities either as a result of weak enforcement of forestry management regulations or the seeming large scale corruption that limit the sector’s potential to poverty alleviation in impoverished communities.
Mr Sesay pointed out that local authorities sometimes collude with the private sector to deprive the community from the much need benefits of the revenue generated. “The law frowns on any conspiracy and the misuse of public funds”, he emphasized.
As a way of demonstrating support to the ACC, Manager Sesay encouraged residents of Fintonia and Samaya Towns to stand up and report corruption and it’s consequent incidences. He made a comprehensible presentation of several corrupt practices across various sectors including the local court administration, the school system, the health sector, security including the Sierra Leone Police and the Military and other areas of concerns like donor driven projects implemented by Non Governmental organizations in rural communities across the country and the Karen District Council. He pointed out corruption demands in the aforementioned areas including but not limited to exploiting the people through extortionate demand and levying of exorbitant fines outsides the confines of the law, payment for bail and obtaining statement, corruption demands in health centres, misuse of public funds and illegal charges that are rife in public schools.
Earlier in his explanation on the purpose of the meeting, the Public Education Officer Mohamed Thullah who also doubles as chairman of the occasion said the community meetings were conducted to provide a platform where in the community will be educated on the general work of the commission, the effects of corruption and the need for collaboration in winning the fight against corruption. The meetings, he said, will serve as a platform for members of the public to give tongue to critical issues that have to do with the fight against graft.
He stated that corruption has permeated every aspect of society which has made public support as pivotal in addressing it. In reporting corruption, he said, confidentiality and the protection of complainants and witnesses occupy an integral part in terms of safeguarding their security and safety.
Welcoming officials from the ACC, t Chief Pa Alimamy Santigie Foday Bangura Kargbo expressed profound happiness to have ACC officials in Fintonia and also for them to express their views on the fight against graft. His counterpart in Samaya Town shared similar sentiments and thanked the ACC for the strides made in the fight against graft.