ACC warns SLRTA in Kenema
In a bid to address key corruption issues and to educate every public officer about corruption and its devastating effects, the Anti-Corruption Commission in Kenema engages government Ministries, Departments and Agencies within the Eastern region. As a result, the ACC on Thursday 7th July 2011 met with staff of the Sierra Leone Road Transport Authority, at their Blama Road office in Kenema.
Explaining the reasons for such engagement with the Sierra Leone Road Transport Authority, ACC’s Kenema District Coordinator, Mohamed Sylvanus Blake said that the ACC had previously met separately with key players in the traffic sector in Kenema; the Traffic division of the Sierra Leone Police, Motor Drivers and General Transport Workers’ and the Commercial Motorbike Riders’ Unions who voiced dissatisfaction and frustration over undue delay in the issuing of licences by the SLRTA and the unfair manner in which the Traffic Wardens issue tickets. He said they were meeting with SLRTA to sensitise them and get their side of the story. He said as a Commission they are taking every step necessary to address corruption and that people should remove the phobia or negative impression people have about the ACC by trying to create a positive one. He added that corruption is enemy to the development of the state and that every well meaning Sierra Leonean should look at it from that Perspective. Mr. Blake informed his audience that the fight against corruption is national and that all should join the fight to achieve the common goal which is to see a corrupt free Sierra Leone. He said that after this meeting the Commission will hold a meeting with all the stakeholders in the traffic sector in Kenema to address key corruption issues.
In his presentation, the Acting Regional Manager, Mr Peter Baio Kamara said, the first step to the enlisting people into the fight against corruption is to educate them. There is the need for a person to be adequately informed, if that person is to be recruited into the Anti-Corruption force. Peter Kamara gave a rundown of the main operational wings of the ACC adding that two of these departments; the Public Education and external Outreach and the Systems and Processes Review Departments are there to preventive corruption while the Intelligence Investigations and Prosecutions confronts corruption and corrupt public officers. He explained that a public officer is a person working for a public body whether paid or unpaid, and a public body is a institution established by an act of parliament, owned by government or where government has a percentage of shares. He added that even NGO workers are not immune from prosecution by the ACC as they too receive monies and properties for or on behalf of the people of Sierra Leone. Mr. Kamara said that the Commission prioritizes making converts rather than convicts that is why in its public education drive the ACC uses community theatre, jingles and radio and TV drama spots and engages the print and electronic media extensively, to pass on the anti-corruption message.
Explaining the offences and the procedures for reporting corrupt practices to the ACC, Public Education Officer, Mr. David Kanekey Conteh mentioned Offering, Soliciting or Accepting advantage; Influencing a public officer; Corrupt acquisition of wealth, possession of unexplained wealth, corrupting a public officer as offences punishable under the Anti-Corruption Act 2008. Public officers in the traffic sector who solicit and accept advantage these days go through a middle man to perpetuate such a crime. He warned all to desist from corrupt practices and stressed that the minimum penalty for very corruption offence is a fine not less than Thirty Million Leones or three years imprisonment or to both fine and imprisonment. He called on all to resist, reject and report corruption and concluded by encouraging his audience to change their Behaviours, Opinions, Attitude and Thoughts about corruption.
Responding, the Regional Director of Sierra Leone Road Transport Authority, in Kenema Mr. Arthur Brima thanked the ACC for guiding them. He said that they have learnt a lot and that the sensitization has made them to be aware of many things they did not know amounted to a corruption offence and promised to pass on what he has learnt to the officers who were absent as a result of postings. Mr. Brima explained the procedures for obtaining various licenses, and the constraint they face in dealing with the public. He appealed to the ACC to make available the Anti-Corruption Act 2008 and other ACC literature to them.
Several concerns and questions posed by participant were responded to by the ACC team.
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