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The Anti-Corruption Commission has on Monday 25th June 2012 engaged managers and representatives of banking institutions operating in Makeni in a bid to strengthen the mode of collaboration in the fight against corruption in the country.
Welcoming them to the ACC Office at Mena Hills, the Northern Regional Manager, Mr. Patrick Sandi recognized the importance of the banking sector in the fight against corruption and emphasised the need to enhance collaboration. He admitted that if the fight against corruption is to succeed, there is the need to bring on board the banking sector.
Addressing managers and representatives of Sierra Leone Commercial Bank, Eco Bank, Guarantee Trust Bank, Access Bank and First International Bank, the Director of Public Education and Outreach Department, Mr. Shollay Davies stated that as banks provide services for companies, institutions and individuals, they should enhance transparency and accountability and also ensure compliance and adherence to financial regulations. He expressed the Commission’s pleasure over the proliferation of banks in the country but noted that they have to operate in compliance with local regulations.
Director Davies lamented over the delay by some banks in remitting National Revenue Authority (NRA) funds to the Central Bank. He therefore warned all banks that revenues paid by the NRA are not meant for investment.
ACC’s Prosecutor, Abdul Rahman Mansaray Esq. expressed difficulties in getting documents relating to individuals under investigation from banks. He reminded them of the provisions in the 2008 Anti-Corruption Act which gives the Commissioner the mandate to request for documents relating to any person under investigation or relative or any other person who has or has had dealings with such person. Mr. Mansaray appealed to the banks to ensure timely response to notices in a bid for the Commission to speed up investigation process.
Representing the Systems and Processes Review Department, Mr. Adu Amara emphasised that the ACC is not a witch hunt institution but working towards a corrupt free Sierra Leone which will ensure that the socio-economic needs of its citizens are met. To achieve this he said, the Commission is leading the fight against corruption through public education, prevention, enforcement and compliance. Mr. Amara encouraged the banks to develop service charters in a bid to enhance service delivery and customer satisfaction.
In their response, the managers and representatives of the banks mentioned the existence of compliance mechanisms in their respective banks and adherence to banking regulations. They lauded the intervention of ACC, which is complementing other national and international agencies. They made mention of some of their challenges but assured the ACC that they are doing their best to ensure that they provide efficient services to their customers.
The managers and representatives of the banks promised to abide by the warnings and assured ACC of their continued support and collaboration in the fight against corruption.
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