Anti-Corruption Commission engages rural communities in the Western Area
As part of its mandate to reach every segment of the Sierra Leone Society, the Public Education and Outreach Department of the Anti-Corruption Commission has been engaging with various rural communities in the Western Area. The aim was to engage communities in prevention and public awareness, mobilize their support in the fight against corruption, create coalition building and partnership as well as educating the communities on the offences contained in the AC Act 2008 and how to report corruption. The communities engaged include Newton, Old Wharf Wellington, Tombo, Tokeh, Aberdeen, Leicester and Gloucester. (Photo: Honourable Mohamed Kalawa, Member of Parliament representing the Aberdeen Community)
A team of ACC officials led by the Acting Head of the Outreach Unit Adu Amara has been making frantic effort to make sure the ACC message reach the general public not only through the electronic and print media but also through face-to-face communication.
In fulfilling its mandate of fighting corruption, the Commission is using the three pronged approach of Education, Prevention and Enforcement. Representing the Systems and Processes Review Department whose mandate is to prevent the occurrence of corruption in MDA’s, Mr. Mathew Roberts said the department has been very effective in reducing bottlenecks in government institutions. He highlighted some of the responsibilities of the department which include reviewing the systems and processes in MDA’s, monitoring to ensure compliance with systems and policies as well as ensure that policies are in place and the officials maintain a very good work ethics. Mr. Robert said these MDA’s are service providers and one aim of the Commission is to improve on the services they deliver. He informed his various audiences about the Service Charters that have been established and said these will help the public to have easy access to government services. He urged the various communities to monitor projects that are being carried out in their communities.
In his presentations, Mr. Patrick George of the Investigations, Intelligence and Prosecution Department highlighted some of the offences and punishments enshrined in the AC Act 2008.
He said the Act contains 29 offences and the least punishment for these offences is thirty million leones (Le30,000,000) or three years imprisonment. He explained the offences especially those that are likely to occur in their communities and urged members of the various communities to develop the habit of making reports to the Commission. Mrs. Joana Dundas explained about the work and importance of the Report Centre. She reminded them that if corruption occurs in their community and nobody reports it, this will affect their communities adversely. She explained that some reports received by the Commission are not corruption related and hoped that now that the various communities have learned about the corrupt offences in the AC Act 2008 good reports will be coming from these communities. Mrs. Dundas told the various audiences that they can even make report by telephone calls and gave them the hotlines. Mrs. Dundas however cautioned them not to make malicious report as this is against the Act.
Mr. Adu Amara told the various audiences that the work of the Commission is not only to arrest and prosecute but also to educate people on the evils of corruption thereby enabling them to change their behaviours and attitudes. He said corruption is evil as it can destroy whole communities. Mr. Adu also informed the various audiences that corruption hinders economic growth, destroys integrity and credibility and leads to violence. He urged the various audiences to endeavour to develop integrity. He said with integrity everyone will be doing the right thing irrespective of the fact that he or she is being watched or not.
Members of the various audiences asked questions for clarification. Educational Materials which include Leaflets, Posters, Newsletters, Brochures, Annual Reports and Musical Album on corruption were distributed to members of the various audiences.
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