ACC holds sensitization meetings in Gbendembu and Kamakwie
In its determination to spread anti-corruption messages to rural communities, the Northern Regional office of Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) has on Thursday 18th and Friday 19th November 2010 held sensitization meetings in Gbendembu N’gowahun and Sella Limba Chiefdoms in Bombali District.
Addressing representatives of both chiefdoms at the Gbendembu Court Barry and Kamakwei Court Barry, public Education Officer of Anti-Corruption Al-Hassan Sesay emphasized that the fight against corruption is a national concern noting that ACC alone cannot fight corruption in the country. Explaining the rationale for holding such meetings, he said it is meant to educate them on the dangers of corruption, work of the Commission, how corrupt practices in their communities can hinder the development of the chiefdoms and how they can join the fight against corruption. He highlighted key corrupt practices taking place in the schools, hospitals, market places and some sectors of their communities which he noted are destroying the progress of their chiefdoms.
Mr. Sesay said the ACC is not just there to arrest and convict corrupt individuals but also to get converts. He called on both communities to desist from corrupt practices and change their negative attitudes for the development of Sierra Leone. He emphasized that if the fight against corruption is to succeed, they must be ready to resist, reject and report corruption.
The Public Education Officer urged the drivers to report any act of corruption to the ACC Regional Office at 61 Rogbaneh Road in Makeni or through the mobile hotlines.
Speaking on the offences and penalties as contained in the 2008 Act, the Regional Manager Mr. Musa Jawara said the Act is not just for government employees but also covers the private sector. He said the Commission has the mandate to investigate all forms of corruption, no matter the amount of money or individual involved in it. He explained various offences which are common in the localities and emphasized that the punishment for such offences is a fine of not less than thirty (30) million Leones or imprisoned for not less than three (3) years or suffer both fine and prison term. Mr. Jawara warned all present that the Commission will not treat any report of corrupt practices in their chiefdoms lightly and therefore advised all stakeholders in both chiefdoms to do the right thing. He called on them to monitor all projects implemented in their chiefdoms to ensure that they are done properly.
Earlier in his welcome address at the Gbendembu Court Barry, the Speaker of Gbendembu N’gowahum Chiefdom Pa Sheriff Sesay expressed appreciated to ACC for bringing the Commission closer to the people. He noted that such engagement will go a long way to minimize corruption in the country. At the Kamakwei Court Barry, Speaker of Sella Limba Chiefdom heaped praises on ACC for taking the fight to their door steps.
Delivering the vote of thanks on behalf of their respective Paramount Chiefs and chiefdoms, Mrs Fatu Kamara of Gbendembu and Councillor Turay of Kamawkei promised to join the Commission in the fight against corruption for the development of Sierra Leone. They expressed appreciation for having the opportunity to learn more about the Commission and what they should not do. They assured the Commission that they will abide by the warnings and stand firm against any act of corruption in their chiefdoms.
The meetings were climaxed by questions and answer sessions.
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