Speaking at the engagement, Deputy Director, Public Education and Outreach, Patrick Sandi underscored the importance of fighting bribery in tertiary institutions. He informed the Secretariat staff of the three components of the Pay No Bribe (PNB) reporting portal, which are; the 515 free line on all the networks, the mobile APP that would be downloaded on Google play and the website; www.pnb.gov.sl. Mr. Sandi explained how reports received are processed and sent to MDAs for actions that would result in the elimination of bribery in service delivery. Deputy Director provided update on reports received at the call centre as of Friday 7th April 2017, with the total number of 17,625. He furthered, I paid a bribe, a total of 13,666, I did not pay a bribe 2,631, I met an honest official 1,328. He disaggregated the reports by sectors in the category of I paid a bribe; with the Sierra Leone Police (SLP); 5,988, Education, 3,166, Health, 2,966, Electricity, 612, Water, 207 and Other, 727. Kenema District is making the highest reports with a total of 7,066 Mr. Sandi concluded.
Dilating on the PNB campaign, Public Relations Officer (PRO) ACC, Alhassan Kargbo said, the initiative came to the fore after the release of the Transparency International (TI) Barometre report in 2014, which indicated that bribery was high in the country, as 84% of respondents interviewed reported of paying or were asked to pay bribes before accessing basic social services. This figure however dropped in 2015 by 56%, he noted. Mr. Kargbo mentioned that the PNB is the United Kingdom Government funded project aimed at mapping out the corruption spots, through trend analysis, and making targeted interventions for improved effective and efficient service delivery. The PNB reporting platform is 100% anonymous in order to galvanize public participation, trust and confidence, he stressed. The PRO called on the Secretariat to support the PNB campaign as they were critical, acting in “loco parentis”, highly respected and listened to by the students.
In his statement, the Ag. Vice Chancellor and Principal Professor Thompson highlighted the positive strides taken by the Commission to curb corruption, particularly the introduction of the Pay No Bribe campaign which has gained significant momentum nationwide. The VC underscored that the University has a policy on examination aimed at dealing with examination malpractices. He also said, the University has signed a performance contract among which is to take steps that would eliminate corruption and corrupt practices within the University environment. I am sincerely and seriously committed to it, he averred. Professor Thompson catalogued the many robust administrative actions he has taken on lecturers and students who contravene the codes, rules and regulations of the University. On behalf of the University, he pledged untainted support to the anti-graft crusade.
Valuable contributions to the fight against bribery were made by the University Registrar, Sorie N. Dumbuya, and Acting Director Alumni and International Relations Directorate, Bernadette Cole.
Questions and answers session and the handing over of PNB IEC materials to the VC formed part of the engagement.