Combema village hosts ACC
In pursuance of its mandate of engaging public bodies, MDAs, and grass root communities in order to educate them on corruption and the Anti-Corruption and to solicit their support in the fight against corruption, the Eastern Regional office of the ACC in on Friday 12th August 2011 targeted Combema Village in the Nongowa Chiefdom Kenema District in their sensitization campaign aimed at raising their awareness on the operations of the ACC, the ills of corruption and the benefits of a corrupt free society.
In his opening remarks Mr. Alpha S. Kallon who chaired the meeting expressed delight over the move by the ACC to engage and educate them for the first time on corruption issues that have posed serious threat to this nation. He added that, they are always ready to embrace agencies and institutions that stand for development and implored his audience to pay keen attention to the message from the ACC.
Mr. Mohamed Sylvanus Blake District Coordinator of the ACC Kenema explained the purpose of the meeting. He underscored the need for the village people to be aware of the practices that constitute corruption and the penalties if convicted of corruption and the need for them to bring to the attention of the Commission any act of corruption noticed in their communities and to help educate others on the ills of corruption. He stated that the ACC is the lead agent in the fight against corruption and that the ACC officers were on a mission to recruit the general public into the national anti graft force.
In his overview of the Commission, Mr. Blake spoke on the establishment of the ACC by an Act of Parliament in 2000 as a result of recommendations of the TRC, to address corruption which was identified as one of the root causes of the decade long rebel crisis. He emphasized the need for reporting corrupt practices and helping to spread the anti-corruption message of Resisting, Rejecting and Reporting corruption; three vital instruments in the fight against corruption and called on Sierra Leoneans to break the culture of silence and speak out against corruption the common enemy. He assured the community people of the ACC’s support and protection to informants and witnesses.
Speaking on the operations of the ACC, Mr. Peter Baio Kamara Ag Regional Manager East categorized the operations into three, Public Education & External Outreach, System and Processes Review Departments which are the preventive wings and the Intelligence, Investigations and Prosecution Department been the confrontational wing of the Commission.
Mr. Kamara highlighted some corrupt practices in the 2008 AC Act that are applicable to every body and explained them in simple terms.
He encouraged all to educate others and learn to report public officers or service providers that demand bribes for their services which are paid for by government.
He mentioned the procedures of reporting corruption to the ACC with the option of keeping one’s identity secret.
He concluded, by giving out the ACC hot lines and encouraged the community people to utilize this opportunity and report corruption related issues to the ACC.
In his vote of thanks, Chief Lahai Kallon II of Combema village, thanked the ACC for what he called the knowledge giving session and stated that his community was now equipped enough to join the national fight against corruption stressing that they at the grass root are victims of this menace.
Several concerns were raised and questions asked by the community people. These were addressed to by the ACC officers.
By Mohamed Sylvanus Blake, ACC District Coordinating Officer –Kenema
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