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In the bid to broaden its partnership base in the fight against corruption, the Anti-Corruption Commission Northern Region office on Monday 12th March, 2012 held customized meeting with all categories of staff of the Northern Polytechnic at the college auditorium in Makeni. (Photo: Cross section of staff of Northern Polytechnic College, Makeni)
The Registrar of the college, Mohamed Hassan Santigie Bangura who chaired the meeting registered his total support to the ACC and stressed that the move to visit the college was a positive one as they too had longed to meet with the Commission. Mr. Bangura opined that the ACC was on campus to advise and warn staff in order to move away from corruption and corrupt acts.
The Registrar, Mr. Bangura emphasized that the work of the ACC is not only geared towards the arrest and imprisonment of individuals, but also to sensitize and prevent the occurrence of corruption in Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs). Mr. Bangura welcomed the Commission to the college and maintained that the sensitization drive will go a long way to bringing sanity in the college’s administration.
Explaining the rationale for the meeting, ACC’s District Coordinator Bombali, Raymond Alieu Kamara said the meeting was to establish another level of partnership with staff of the college. Mr. Kamara furthered that the college staff are very strategic in the fight against corruption in Sierra Leone which has resulted in the ACC targeting them at this moment. The Coordinator underscored the point that standards must be maintained in the college and funds meant for distance learning programme as a case in point to be utilized judiciously. The Coordinator stressed that ACC all by itself, will not succeed in eradicating corruption in Sierra Leone and therefore pleaded with all the staff to join the Commission to make the country a better place, thereby promoting the Government’s “Agenda for Change”. Mr. Kamara however, cautioned the staff to be vigilant and hardworking, report for duty on time as it was a disservice to this country for people to be receiving salaries and not working or providing the expected services to Government.
Discussing the overview of the Commission, Al-Hassan Sesay, Public Education Officer (PEO) North emphasized that ACC is the hope of this country. He furthered that the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) recommended the establishment of the ACC, to primarily fight corruption, as bad governance and endemic corruption were identified by the TRC as the major causes of the eleven (11) years war that unleashed untold sufferings on the people of Sierra Leone. Mr. Sesay observed that the 2000 AC Act which brought into being the ACC had shortfalls, as the Commission had to refer its cases to the Office of the Attorney-General and Minister of Justice for prosecution, and it had only nine (9) corruption practices. With the enactment of the 2008, Mr. Sesay went on, the Commission gained enormous powers, such as, to prosecute its own cases, increased offences, stiffer penalties, and the declaration of assets and liabilities to enhance integrity in Public life. The Public Education Officer informed his audience that the ACC’s mandate was “to take all steps necessary for the prevention, eradication or suppression of corruption and corrupt practices”. Mr. Sesay told the staff that the Commission uses three strategies to combat corruption and they are: education, prevention (Systems Review) and enforcement. He entreated them to change their corrupt behaviors, attitudes, opinions and thoughts.
Dilating on key corruption offences relevant to the college staff, the Regional Manager, ACC North, Patrick Sandi told the staff and administration of the college that the ACC meant business this time and was ever ready to bring anybody to book if you fall foul of the ACC law 2008. Manager Sandi took time and carefully explained the offences of possession of unexplained wealth, misappropriation of public and donor funds or property, abuse of office and position, soliciting and accepting advantage, using influence for contracts, influencing a public officer, bid rigging, gifts and protection of public revenue and property to them, of which they were very pleased. Mr. Sandi emphasized that the ACC was totally an independent organization in terms of operations and decision making. Therefore, all and sundry are encouraged to support the Commission, as the development of Sierra Leone is the business of everybody. The ACC Manager North reiterated that the Commission was not witch-hunting anybody but does indictments based upon the weight of evidence in its possession. He stressed that the ACC was a professional and ethically oriented organization that seeks the interest of all Sierra Leoneans.
Contributing, the Acting Principal of the college, Samuel S. Kamara thanked the ACC staff for such an education and encouraged his staff to be upright in their dealings and refrain from corruption. He emphasized that the college needed to be free from corruption especially in the conduct of the examinations so that the certificates they issue out to students will be deemed valid and genuine.
Meaningful contributions were also made by Mohamed Amadu Kamara, Head of Academic Staff Association (ASA), Kekuda B. Sesay, Head of the Junior and Intermediate Staff Association and Mohamed Kamara President Northern Polytechnic Students Union.
Questions and answers which were all responded to by the ACC Staff climaxed the meeting.
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