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National Fire Force (NFF) and ACC team up to fight against corruption in Southern Region

National Fire Force (NFF) and ACC team up to fight against corruption in Southern Region

In a bid to addressing key corruption issues jointly with key stakeholders, the Anti-Corruption Commission has engaged Staff of the National Fire Force (NFF) in the Southern Region at its Damballa Road, Regional Office in Bo. The meeting which was held on Wednesday 27th July 2011 attracted over (20) twenty staff members including; the Deputy Commandant – South, fire fighter operators and other administrative and support staff.  (Photo: Cross section of NFF staff Bo, listening to messages from ACC staff)

When Speaking to the NFF staff members regarding the visit of the ACC, Mr. Anthony Samu, the District Coordinator for the Anti corruption Commission, Bo District, tried to allay the fears of his audience stating that their visit at NFF is routine in meeting with Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs), sensitizing them on the establishment of the Commission, evils of corruption, the corruption offences and penalties as contained in the 2008 Anti-Corruption Act. Mr. Samu also talked about the commitment and public relations aspect required of Fire Force workers. He underscored the fact that the Commission needs to come more closer to its partners and the wider community, and that it is even the more reason why the ACC is having the meeting in a bid to have a face-to-face discussion and soliciting the support of the NFF. The engagement Mr. Samu further explained was part of the Commission’s public education and preventive approach in the fight against corruption and he therefore encouraged the audience to be frank, open, raise issues, concerns, and ask as many questions as possible during the meeting for this is an opportunity for them in learning more about the Commission and its operations.

ACC Manager South, Patrick Sandi giving an update on the Commission's activities

Addressing the NFF staff, Mr. Patrick Sandi, the ACC Regional Manager – South reiterated that the NFF Deputy Commandant – South, Mr. Albert Parker had long expressed his desire for the Commission to address the NFF staff. Mr. Sandi hastened to say that the ACC is not for witch hunt or used to bring people down. ACC, he continued, is an independent institution established by an Act of Parliament in 2000. The 2008 Act gives more powers and has helped the Commission, as it can now prosecute its own cases without reference to the Attorney General’s Office. Sandi informed staff that the Commission has the mandate to investigate all forms of corruption, no matter the amount of money or individual involved in it, and these has been demonstrated in the past as records show.

Mr. Sandi also explained the various offences which are common in public institutions like; “possession of unexplained wealth”, “misappropriation of public funds, revenue & property”, “protection of public revenue, property”, etc. and that the area of procurement is a serious avenue for corruption to take place. He 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 both fine and prison term.

According to Mr. Sandi, the Act 2008 also makes provision for the declaration of assets and liabilities. Asset Declaration he went on is making public officers accountable in public life besides the protection it provides should one face or encounter corruption accusation in the future.

Concluding, Mr. Sandi encouraged all to avoid the culture of silence, and therefore report all corruption related activities. He hastened to talk on the low motivation of public officers for their work and services which to some extent undermines the work of the Commission, but that the Commission continues to advocate for better conditions of service for public workers. We should all improve on our moral stature and with the support of all we shall win or succeed in the fight Sandi maintained.

District Coordinator Bo, Anthony Samu explaining the purpose of the engagement

Contributing, District Coordinator, Anthony Samu cautioned the NFF staff to be careful regarding their public relations during their outdoor activities. He advised the officers to resist and reject corruption when attempts are made to them by the public. The offence of soliciting and accepting will catch up with them if they are manipulated by the public to doing the wrong things contrary to what is prescribed “not to do” in the Act 2008. He also talked about their commitment to work in nation building.

Sub -Officer Fire Prevention, Mr Alimamy Conteh welcoming ACC Staff to their department

Welcoming the ACC visiting team earlier on, Mr. Alimamy Conteh, NFF Sub Officer – South who also chaired the meeting, underscored that the ACC is not witch hunting anybody or institution, but that the ACC’s presence will send the message to all for change of behavior and attitude for the betterment of Sierra Leone. Mr. Conteh emphasized that as public officers, we need to be checked with regards our behavior and attitude especially when we are care takers of fire hazards in the Southern region and the country as a whole. He implored his staff to listen keenly to the message the ACC have for them as such engagement will go a long way to minimize corruption at public institutions.

Questions and answers, suggestions and comments formed part of the meeting while Mr. Bockarie Saffa gave the vote of thanks.

Anthony B. Samu, ACC District Coordinator – Bo District

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