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Page added on October 16, 2012
In its quest to ensuring that all Government Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) are rid of corrupt practices, the Northern Regional Office of the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) has on Friday 12th October 2012 engaged staff of the Ministry of Social Welfare, Gender and Children’s Affairs in Makeni.
Welcoming ACC staff during the engagement at the Ministry’s Regional Headquarters in Makeni, Principal Social Development Officer, Mr. William Bangura expressed delight for ACC’s sensitization drive in the district. He maintained that such educational drive will go a long way to minimize the incidences of corruption in the country. Mr. Bangura admitted that it was a good opportunity for them in the ministry to understand the operations of ACC and also help in the sharing of ideas. He noted that the anti-corruption fight is a national issue which requires everyone’s participation. The Principal Social Development Officer told his colleagues that if they are patriotic enough, they should appreciate ACC and embrace the fight.
Explaining the purpose of the engagement, Public Education Officer Al-Hassan Sesay stressed that the ACC was at the ministry to educate its staff on the hindrances of corruption to the development of the country and enlist their support in the fight against it. Mr. Sesay said the ACC is not a witch-hunt institution but working towards the realization of a corrupt free Sierra Leone, which will ensure that the socio-economic needs of citizens are met. He therefore entreated staff of the ministry to join the Commission in the fight against corruption. The Public Education Officer gave an overview of the Commission, highlighting the different approaches used to curb the scourge.
The Regional Manager ACC North, Patrick Sandi in his presentation told staff of the ministry that ACC is the hope of the people of this country and donors. He said the fact that there is now an institution to checkmate excesses of institutions and individuals means there is hope for Sierra Leone.
Mr. Sandi furthered that the ACC was making proactive interventions in the area of public education which in itself will improve on public confidence and support. He observed that the Ministry of Social Welfare, Gender and Children’s Affairs is an important pillar of integrity that can perform better if given the necessary support. He noted that when corruption is at a minimum, the revenue base of Government would increase which will eventually lead to improvement in the conditions of service.
Manager Sandi explained key corrupt offences in the AC Act 2008 which are very relevant to the institution such as; protection of public revenue and property, offering, soliciting and accepting advantage, misappropriation of public/donor funds, abuse of office and position, conflict of interest, impeding investment and receiving gift for corrupt purpose. He told his audience that the penalty for each offence is 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 to both fine and prison term.
The Regional Manager warned that the activities of staff of the ministry must be free of corruption and encouraged them to resist, reject and report corrupt practices. “By reporting, you have fulfilled your civic responsibility, exposed corrupt individuals and institutions” he said.
Making their input, staff of the ministry expressed dissatisfaction over poor conditions of service. They highlighted several constrains ranging from the non availability of imprest for fuel and maintenance of vehicles and motorbikes, no remand home for children in conflict with the law; to inadequate staff and late disbursement of their quarterly allocations.
Giving the vote of thanks on behalf of staff, Mr. Ibrahim Kamara, Regional Gender Officer North, expressed gratitude to ACC for the sensitization as they learnt a lot, which will help them in their various tasks. He entreated his colleagues to look at ACC as partners in development as it is working towards the development of Sierra Leone. He warned staff of the ministry to desist from corrupt practices as there is no justification to be involved in it.
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