ACC Commissioner calls for transparency in the operations of mobile companies
The Commissioner of the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) has called on mobile phone companies to be more transparent in their operations. Joseph Fitzgerald Kamara made the call on Wednesday while addressing the top managements of SIERRATEL, Airtel, Africel and Comium at the Commission’s head office in Freetown.
The ACC Commissioner said government depends on taxes to implement programmes in the country. He said the taxes the telecommunication companies pay should therefore be made in a transparent manner to ensure that they are paid into the Consolidated Revenue Fund. Mr. Kamara said there were instances when tax officials connived with private individuals to defraud the state of much needed revenue, adding that if this practice continues the government would not be able to uplift the living standard of the people. “This is why we must all see ourselves as having a key role in the fight against corruption”, he remarked. He said the partnership with these companies should also include a database to share information with the ACC on those areas relating to taxes. He singled out SIERRATEL as having a greater obligation under the Anti-Corruption Act 2008, it being a public institution.
The Commissioner warned the mobile companies against “SIM card fraud” a practice he said he came to learn about at a recent international conference in the Cayman Islands where Sierra Leone was identified as one of the countries where the practice is prevalent.
Mr. Kamara also called on the companies to provide a common toll-free line for the Commission to enable the swift and easy access for reporting corruption.
The Commission, he said, would want a close cooperation with the companies and therefore called for a Memorandum of Understanding with each of them to help improve transparency in the telecommunications industry.
Earlier, the Acting Director of Public Education and External Outreach, ACC, Koloneh Sankoh said it was a tradition of the Commission to hold customized meetings with private and public institutions not only to increase transparency and accountability in such institutions but also to ensure that the fight against corruption is seen as a fight for all.
By Abubakarr Turay
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