ACC engages staff of NRA in the Southern Region
The Southern Regional Office of the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) has held a fruitful meeting with all staff including drivers and cleaners of the National Revenue Authority (NRA) in the region, and cautioning them to desist from corrupt practices and protect the much needed revenue they are generating.
Speaking at a sensitization meeting with Staff of the NRA on Monday 22nd August 2011 at the Baiima Road Regional office in Bo, ACC District Coordinator for Bo District Mr. Anthony Samu intimated his audience that the meeting was one of a series of sensitization meetings normally conducted by the Commission for Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs). Mr. Samu also tried to allay the fears of the NRA staff telling them that the ACC has not received any complain on corruption related activity targeting the NRA in the South. He expressed concern that the Commission is not an enemy, neither in the process of witch hunting, but a dependable partner to the MDAs in the fight against corruption, Mr. Samu emphasized. The meeting will also give opportunity to both the Income Tax and Custom Departments staff present to air their views and ask questions on issues they are not clear about in the work of the Commission.
Welcoming the ACC team, the Senior Collector and Ag. Head, NRA – South, Mr. Joseph L B Ambulai who also chaired the meeting expressed his appreciation for ACC coming closer to them. Mr. Ambulai re-emphasized that the NRA is mandated by Government to collect revenue, and that they need to do even more than is expected by Government. He stressed that if the revenue collected is misappropriated, then the government will be constrained in not meeting her financial obligations. He therefore appealed and encouraged his colleagues to be transparent and accountable in the execution of their duties. Chairman Ambulai assured the ACC team of their fullest cooperation in the fight against corruption. He concluded by also encouraging the staff present to be active in the meeting and ask as many questions as possible.
Giving an overview of the Commission, update and activities, the ACC Regional Manager – South, Mr. Mohamed Dumbuya, on behalf of the Commissioner expressed his delight for the NRA Southern Regional administration for the huge turn out of staff for the meeting. Mr. Dumbuya stated that this demonstrates the commitment of staff to supporting the Commission in the fight against corruption.
Manager Dumbuya hastened to say that the NRA is the bread basket of Sierra Leone at this point in time; sadly there is some staff members within the institution who want to undermine the effort of the National Revenue Authority. He stated that revenue institution is the target for accountability and transparency. As public officers, we should note that what we are obliged to and guided by our operations is the conditions of service established within.
Mr. Dumbuya explained the three approaches used by the Commission in the fight against corruption which are public education, prevention and prosecution. He said that the ACC Act 2008 has given more powers to the Commission, and that the Commission has the mandate to investigate all forms of corruption, no matter the amount of money or individuals involved. He disclosed that the punishment for any offence in the ACC Act 2008 is a fine of not less than thirty (30) million Leones or imprisonment for not less that three (3) years or both fine and imprisonment. He therefore encouraged all Staff of both the customs and income tax departments not to involve in any forms of corruption.
Mr. Dumbuya also expressed his personal sentiments of seeing NRA staff with high determination to develop the nation. He further congratulated the NRA on the increase in revenue collected beyond the target as this is for the betterment of the country. With such trend in revenue mobilization, Sierra Leone will get back to her glorious days. He implored all of us to be watchdogs for corrupt offenders and report all corruption related activities and practices. He said he hoped that the message will spread to other public officers and the wider community, Manager Dumbuya concluded.
Further in his contribution, Mr. Samu, the ACC District Coordinator for Bo District cited some of the offences in the Act of 2008. They include; “misappropriation of public funds” “corrupting a public officer” “possession of unexplained wealth” among others. He made it clear that the Commission is not just there to arrest and convict corrupt individuals but also to sensitize the public on the dangers of corruption and soliciting support from every individual in the fight against graft.
The District Coordinator explained the various ways of making reports to the Commission and assured them of the fullest protection of informants. Finally, he encouraged the NRA staff to reject and resist corruption, and urged them to report any act of corruption to the Commission.
Questions and answers formed part of the programme while the vote of thanks was made by Mr. James P Yankuba, Assistant Collector of the Income tax Department.
Anthony B. Samu, ACC District Coordinator – Bo District
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