The debaters were drawn from colleges with Accountability Now Clubs which are; IPAM, FBC, MMCET and GTI. The event aimed at bringing to the fore students’ knowledge on the PNB, their ability to communicate and articulate bribery related topics and creating the platform for students, lecturers and the public to fully grasp the PNB concept to enable them buy into the campaign.
In his statement at the occasion, Deputy Commissioner ACC, Shollay Davies said, corruption presents a clear and present danger for our educational system. It is a fact we cannot repudiate he added. Mr. Davies also stated that empirical studies conducted by the World Bank have consistently demonstrated that the poor pay the highest percentage of their income in bribes. Every dollar, leone robs the poor of an equal opportunity in life, Deputy Commissioner emphasized. But there is something we can do to stop it, starting with the educational system he furthered.
” To deal with the problem we must possess the knowledge of its ramifications. But knowledge is not enough, we have to stand up against it”, Mr. Davies averred. The Deputy Commissioner underscored that one of the reasons for which the education sector is among the pilot is not only due to the accusations of bribery and corruption in the sector, but also because it is one of the largest and big spending institution “due diligence approach” and the high level of interaction between the service providers and members of the public.
Earlier, welcoming students, lecturers, civil society groups and the media, Deputy Director Public Education and Outreach Patrick Sandi, maintained, the PNB campaign is jointly led by the ACC and the Office of the Chief of Staff supported by key partners. He stated, the PNB is an anonymous reporting platform which gives citizens the opportunity to report their experiences of bribery in key service delivery sectors in the bid to track trends and patterns of corruption, for targeted intervention. This approach in itself will positively improve and enhance service delivery, Mr. Sandi added. The Deputy Director made it clear that the contest will be fair, transparent and unbiased.
In the group A session of the contest, MMCET locked horns with GTI, on the motion: Lecturers or Students: who bear greater responsibility for the prevention of bribery in Colleges? MMCET emerged as the winner. In group B session, IPAM competed with FBC on the motion: Sanctions are preferable to Sensitization in Tackling Bribery in Sierra Leone: Argue for or Against. FBC came out victorious. MMCET and FBC competed in the final round on the motion: The PNB Campaign minimizes Bribery in the Universities/Colleges”: Argue for or Against. FBC represented by Gbatundu N. Kutubu emerged as the winner. The judges for the competition were; Mr. Massaquoi, Head of Department English Language St. Edwards Secondary School Kingtom, and also member of the Sierra Leone Debating Council, Ms. Princess Kawa, Principal St. Anthony’s Junior Secondary School-Kingtom and Canon Spaine-Pratt Senior Lecturer at the College of Theology.
Cash prizes in the sum of five hundred thousand leones for the winner and three hundred thousand leones for the runner up, and certificates of participation were awarded to the colleges by Mrs. Edita Fofana, Implementation Analyst at the National Anti-Corruption Strategy Secretariat-ACC.