By David Yusuf Kabia
The Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) has held a one-day training for new partner institutions on the operations of the commission and the contents of the Anti-Corruption Act 2008 as amended in 2019. The training took place at the commission’s head office in Freetown.
Welcoming representatives of the partner institutions, the Director of Public Education and External Outreach, Patrick Sandi, said considering the tough nature of the war against corruption, the commission needs partners to ensure the war is collectively won. He said that upon the receipt of the applications of the institutions for partnership with the ACC, the commission conducted probity checks to ensure the credibility of the institutions and to see whether their programmes are in line with the work of the Commission.
Mr Sandi described the training as a means to empower the partners to fortify them with the needed tools to fight corruption in the country. He said the expectation of the commission is that the participants would help the wider populace understand the dangers of corruption and the benefits of a corrupt-free Sierra Leone. He however warned that, while the Commission would be pleased to see reports made to them by the partners, this must not be done at the behest of malice and vexation. He further guaranteed the partners of the commission’s willingness to always support them and therefore encouraged them to always instill the values of integrity, accountability and transparency in their programmes and operations.
Mohamed Alie Kamara, Head of Audio Visual Unit, who presented on the structures of the ACC, commenced with the history of the commission, which was established in 2000 as a result of recommendations of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) report, which identified corruption as one of the major causes of the decade-long civil war in the country. He said the laws on corruption have been strengthened through a repeal and amendment over the years, with the most recent amendment undertaken in 2019, thereby making corruption a very expensive enterprise.
Mr. Kamara said the commission uses the three-prong approach of public education, prevention and enforcement (through investigation and prosecution) for the fight against corruption in the country. He explained the importance of each of these approaches and their contributions to the fight against corruption in the country.
Head of Policy and Ethics Unit Joseph Kangaju took the partners through the need for mainstreaming policy and ethics in public institutions to guide the conducts of public workers for effective and efficient service delivery.
The commission’s Head of Outreach Unit, Musa J.B. Jawara, took the partners through the main provisions of the Anti-Corruption Act 2008 as amended in 2019. He singled out section 36 (misappropriation of public funds or property), section 37 (misappropriation of donor funds or property) and section 43(abuse of position), as the snares that have dragged down so many public officials. Before the 2019 amendment, Mr Jawara said, there was nothing like examination malpractice, but this has now been made an offence under section 128 (3) of the Anti-Corruption (Amendment) Act 2019. He warned the partners to guard against the offence of impersonation based on experiences in the past when partners would use their association with the ACC to extort from unsuspecting members of the public.
An interactive question-and-answer session climaxed the training.