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Page added on June 18, 2012
As a wake up call to join the fight against corruption in Sierra Leone, the Northern Regional Office of the Immigration Department has demonstrated its commitment in strengthening partnership with the Anti- Corruption Commission (ACC) in the North.
This was manifested when it hosted a sensitization meeting organised by ACC Northern Region office on Wednesday 13th June in Makeni. In his statement, the Regional Immigration Officer – North, Mr. Abdul Karim Bangura who chaired the meeting pledged his institutions’ commitment in strengthening partnership with the Commission in the fight against corruption in the region. He admitted that such face to face dialogue was very important as constant guidance would enhance transparency and accountability.
Mr. Bangura disclosed that the Immigration Department has a long standing relationship with ACC as a way of collaboration to ensure effective service delivery. He noted that the Department exists primarily to control the movement of people in and out of the country in a manner that is consistent with local and international regulations. The Regional Immigration Officer expressed appreciation to ACC staff for bringing the Commission closer to them and putting premium on the educational and preventive approaches, which he noted would go a long way in changing negative public perceptions about the Commission.
ACC’s Public Education Officer Mr. Al-Hassan Sesay explained that the meeting was meant to enhance collaboration and partnership between both institutions in the Northern Region. He furthered that the fight against corruption is a national concern and that ACC alone cannot fight corruption in the country. Sesay re-emphasised the Commission’s core values of coalition building and partnership and therefore entreated the Immigration Department to partner with the Commission in achieving their respective mandates.
Giving an overview of the Commission, the Public Education Officer emphasized that the ACC is not a witch hunt institution but leading the fight against corruption through public education, prevention, enforcement and compliance for the benefit of all Sierra Leoneans. He noted that the engagement was part of the Commission’s public education and preventive approaches in the fight against corruption.
Explaining the offences and penalties as contained in the Anti-Corruption Act of 2008, ACC’s Regional Manager – North, Mr. Patrick Sandi used the occasion to extend thanks and appreciation on behalf of the Commissioner and Commission to the Immigration Department for embracing the Commission. “As a Commission, we are not just focusing on indictment, but also massive sensitization on anti-corruption measures and garner public support in eradicating corruption in the country”, he maintained. Manager Sandi in very strong terms warned staff of the Immigration Department to be mindful of the fact that in as much as the ACC educates and prevents, it also punishes corrupt individuals. “Corruption is evil, as such, we need to stand strong to confront it” he stressed.
The ACC Regional Manager explained some of the offences in the 2008 Act that have bearing with staff of the Department like soliciting and accepting advantage, protection of public revenue and property, misappropriation of donor or public funds or property, abuse of office or position, conflict of interest, influencing a public officer, possession of unexplained wealth and receiving gifts for corrupt purposes. Mr. Sandi emphasised that the punishment for any of the offences is a fine of not less than thirty (30) million Leones or imprisonment for a term not less than three (3) years or both fine and prison term.
Manager Sandi further explained the various methods of making reports to the Commission and protection of informers. He emphasized the Commission’s core value of confidentiality and professionalism and stressed that if the fight against corruption is to succeed, staff of the Immigration Department must be ready to resist, reject and report corruption. “For Sierra Leone to develop and be a better place for our children, it is our responsibility to fight corruption with sincerity. So let us not be on the wrong side of history” he told staff of the Immigration Department.
The Regional Manager explained the Commission’s 10% reward to informants and read out the free mobile phone lines. He called for information sharing between both institutions, and enhanced public confidence in the ACC. The meeting was climaxed by questions and answers session.
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