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ACC meets with NaCSA in Kenema

ACC meets with NaCSA in Kenema

As part of the Institutional approach to Public Education and External Outreach, the Anti-Corruption Commission on Wednesday 22nd. June 2011 met with both district and regional staff of the National Commission for Social Action (NaCSA), at their regional office at Hangah Road in Kenema.  (Photo: NaCSA staff in Kenema)

The meeting commenced, with the ACC’s Regional Public Education Officer, Mr. David Kanekey Conteh explaining the purpose for such engagement with officials of NaCSA.  Mr. Conteh said that ACC’s visit to NaCSA does not necessarily denote any suspicion; neither does it mean that NaCSA is Corrupt, but it is part of the efforts of the Commission to recruit public officers to the anti-corruption army. As the fight is a national one, he emphasized that ACC can not fight alone and that it is enlisting every Sierra Leonean into this formidable force.

PRO David Conteh addressing NaCSA officers in Kenema

Mr. Conteh further said, even though ignorance of the law is no excuse, Public officers at times contravene the laws out of ignorance and that raising awareness of what constitutes corruption or corrupt practice is the first step in addressing corruption. Public Officers are therefore advised to always work within the provisions of the law as they provide leadership in various capacities.

ACC Ag Regional Manager Peter Baio Kamara addressing NaCSA Officers in Kenema

In his overview of the Commission, ACC’s Acting Regional Manager East, Peter Baio Kamara said before the enactment of the AC Act 2008 which gave the Commission extensive powers, matters investigated by the Commission were sent to the Attorney General’s office for prosecution. The process was very slow and stifled most of the efforts of the Commission.  The pace at which the Commission is now addressing matters, is base on the new provisions of the 2008 AC Act.

Mr. Kamara informed his audience that the ACC lays premium on Public Education, because education brings knowledge and knowledge empowers people. He however said that people often think that ACC’s success story is based on the number of public officers sent to court and incarcerated. On the contrary, ACC does not pride itself in having lots of convicts but prefers converts. He observed, that since corruption operates in a system, ACC also involves in what is referred to as a review of systems and processes in MDAs which helps in preventing corrupt practices. Recommendations made during these reviews are monitored to ascertain and assess the level of compliance.

DCO Mohamed Blake explaining the offences

ACC’s Kenema District Coordinating Officer, Mr. Mohamed Sylvanus Blake, highlighted several offences such as Corrupting a Public Officer, Bid Rigging, Using influence for Contract, misappropriation of Public Funds, influencing a Public Officer, impeding investment as part of the corrupt practices in the Anti-Corruption Act 2008.

He informed NaCSA officers that involving in any of these practices may attract several related offences which may invoke a fine of not less than thirty million leones or three years imprisonment or both fine and imprisonment, for each offence.

He encouraged them to report corruption to the ACC as there is always protection for informants and witnesses. He stressed that nobody will jeopardize his job or position for reporting corruption. Mr. Blake added that there is a ten percent reward scheme for anyone who reports corruption and such report leads to recovery of misappropriated funds.

NaCSA's Regional Coordinator, Mr Mohamed Koroma

Responding, the NaCSA Regional Coordinator, Mr. Mahmoud Koroma said NaCSA is involved in community, social action, relief and resettlement programs among others. He added that NaCSA does not implement projects directly but through the communities or by employing the services of licensed contractors.

Mr. Koroma appreciated the ACC for their move in educating them on many issues that they were unfamiliar with and asked that the ACC makes available the 2008 Act to them as they may want to use it as a reference point.

Participants asked several questions that were responded to by the Team of   ACC Officers.

By: David Kanekey Conteh, Public Education Officer

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