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As a demonstration of its continued resolve and resilience to combat corruption in Sierra Leone, the Anti-Corruption Commission Northern Regional Office has on Thursday 12th July 2012 held outreach meeting with the Mabonto Community, Kafe Simira Chiefdom, Tonkolili District at the Community’s Court Barry. (Photo: Cross section of the community at the meeting in Mabonto)
Welcoming ACC to the Community, the Ceremonial Chief, Kafe Simira chiefdom Pa Sheku Drissa Koroma who represented Paramount Chief Alimamy Bangura III, revealed that the people were very pleased to have ACC in their midst. Pa Koroma furthered that this is the first time ACC has come to their community and therefore thanked God for this good move which clearly showed that ACC was determined to curb corruption in every part of the country. The Ceremonial Chief maintained that there were host of burning issues going on in their society but will bring all to the Commission’s attention for necessary action. Pa Sheku Koroma assured the ACC of his people’s determination to join the ACC to eliminate corruption in Sierra Leone. He encouraged the people of Kafe Simira to listen carefully to the staff of the Commission as their visit was very timely.
Explaining the purpose of the meeting, ACC’s District Coordinator Tonkolili Abdulai Saccoh, underscored the point that the Commission was in a sound position to ensure that the menace is got rid of in all parts of the Country. Mr. Saccoh stressed that the meeting was three-fold; one, to educate the people of Kafe Simira chiefdom on the evils of corruption, update them on the activities of the Commission and solicit their much needed support to fight against the scourge. The District Coordinator allayed their fears that the ACC was not a witch-hunt or political institution, but that it was independent, professional and impartial organization working purely in the interest of the people of Sierra Leone. Mr. Saccoh implored his audience to see the Commission as the people’s institution meant to bring development to the country through the eradication of corruption.
Dilating on the corrupt practices prevalent in the community as contained in the AC Act 2008, the Regional Manager ACC North Patrick Sandi warned the people that the Commission was leaving no stone unturned as it will investigate all persons irrespective of color, creed, race or political affiliation. Manager Sandi observed that those in rural areas were suffering most from corruption as most of the projects meant for these places are either abandoned by contractors or not properly done. He encouraged his listeners to report all suspected corruption cases to the ACC.
The ACC Regional boss highlighted corruption crimes in the AC Act 2008 which the people needed to know, such as; Misappropriation of Public/Donor Funds, Protection of Public Revenue and Property, Soliciting and Accepting Advantage, Abuse of Office/Position, impeding Investment, Conflict of Interest and Peddling influence. He emphasized that the punishment for these crimes was a fine of not less than thirty million Leones (Le 30,000,000) or a prison term of not less than three (3) years or both. Mr. Sandi informed all present that the ACC was also working to see that there is transparency and accountability in the implementation of the Free Health Care (FHC) programme. He admonished health workers to desist from practices that will hinder the success of the FHC.
Speaking on reporting corruption to the ACC, Public Education Officer Al-Hassan Sesay told the people that it was their civic responsibility to report any act of corruption to the ACC. He stressed that corruption has destroyed this country seriously, making it the business of all patriotic citizens to see that it is eradicated. Mr. Sesay explained the various methods of reporting corruption to the ACC, the protection of informers and the 10% reward package for whistleblowers. The Public Educator however, warned the people not to make false or malicious report as it was also an offence in the AC Act 2008.
The meeting was climaxed with questions and answers session and the presentation of IEC materials to the chairman of the meeting for distribution to the community people.
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