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ACC solicits the support of RSLAF in Kenema

ACC solicits the support of RSLAF in Kenema

As part of its institutional approach to a public education campaign by the ACC in the fight against corruption, officers and men of the 2ndInfantry Battalion of the Republic of Sierra Leone Armed Forces (RSLAF) at the RTI base in Kenema were on Monday, 30th May, 2011, the target for the Eastern Regional office of the Anti-Corruption Commission sensitization exercise. Explaining why the Commission was engaging the military, Mohamed Sylvanus Blake the District Coordinating Officer for Kenema District, said that the RSLAF is one of the pillars of integrity in the National Anti-Corruption Strategy. He said that the ACC is the lead agency in the fight against corruption and as such needs the support of the military and entire populace of Sierra Leone if it is to succeed. He emphasized the need for the RSLAF to partner with the ACC in the fight against corruption as corruption has security implications.  (Photo: 2nd Infantry Men of RSLAF listening to ACC  Staff)

Mr. Blake said that the meeting was significant because it will better inform the RSLAF about corrupt practices and noted that the ACC seeks to recruit them into another force; the anti-corruption force and solicited their commitment and support in the fight against corruption especially in the area of reporting and information sharing and assured them that information received by the ACC will be treated with the confidence it deserves.

2nd Infantry Battalion in Kenema

In his statement on the operations of the ACC, Mr. Peter Baio Kamara, Interim Regional Manager East, pointed out that there are three operational wings of the ACC; Public Education and External Outreach, Systems and Processes Review and Intelligence, Investigations and Prosecutions (IIP) Departments. He further stated that the first two are the preventive wings of the ACC while the IIP is the confrontational and enforcement wing which seeks out and prosecute perpetuators of corrupt acts.

He noted that Sierra Leoneans have the “how for do, na for bear attitude” which paves the way for corruption to thrive leaving the majority of citizens at the mercy of corrupt individuals. Mr. Kamara stressed that gone are the days when Sierra Leoneans kept silent over corruption and issues of national interest and encouraged all to consider the ACC as a national instrument of development and report corrupt acts and practices as and when they occur in their various localities. He explained the informant and witness protection schemes contained in the ACC Act 2008 a scheme meant to kill the culture of silence and revive the culture of speaking out against corruption. Mr. Kamara went on to mention the different ways of reporting corruption, among them; telephone calls, letter or emails etc. He encouraged all to be whistle blowers or informants as such persons will always enjoy the protection of the ACC in an event of threat. Making reference to the military whose mandate is to secure the nation against external aggression, Mr. Kamara explained that the only body mandated to take the lead in addressing corruption is the ACC and that there is nothing like chain of command in reporting corruption and no one officer should be victimized by his/her superior for reporting corrupt acts or practices to the ACC

Public Education Officer, David Kanekey Conteh explained some of the corrupt practices contained in the AC Act 2008 and their corresponding penalties noting that the minimum penalty or every offence is a fine not less than Thirty Million Leones or three years jail term or both fine and jail term. Mr. Conteh explained who a public officer is and what a public body is and that all public officers are accountable to the people of Sierra Leone. He warned all to resist and reject corruption and to report any corrupt act to the ACC. He concluded by giving out the ACC hot lines.

A soldier asking the ACC a questions

In his closing statement, the Adjutant of the Second Infantry Battalion, RTI-Kenema Lt Edmond Carew on behalf of the Acting Commanding Officer, Major James John extended thanks and appreciation to the ACC for educating them on corruption and the work of the Anti-Corruption Commission especially as they too are public officers. He encouraged his men to take the information seriously and work for the development of this nation as their motto is Serving the Nation.

The meeting attracted several questions and comments from the audience, which were responded by the ACC team.

By Mohamed Sylvanus Blake, ACC District Coordinating Officer –Kenema

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