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ACC Kenema builds coalition with the Tissoh community

ACC Kenema builds coalition with the Tissoh community

The strong and sustained public education campaign by the Eastern Region Office of the ACC is gradually engulfing more peripheral communities in the Kenema District. This is in harmony with recent move by the Commission to employ all necessary measures to prevent, eradicate and suppress corruption through public education. This is aimed at raising the awareness of all on the effects of corruption, the benefits of a corrupt free State, the operations of the ACC and to muster public support in the fight against corruption.

The Tissoh Community, located about 11 kilometers from Kenema, in the Nongowa Chiefdom Kenema District, on Thursday the 15th of September, 2011 hosted the Public Education team of the ACC in the East, comprising the Regional Manager Evelyn Walker, Patrick George Legal Officer/Senior Investigator, Peter Baio Kamara, Public Education Officer and Mohamed S. Blake District Coordinating Officer at the Tissoh Community Barry.

The meeting was chaired by Mr. Bockarie Mambu. In his statement, he thanked the ACC for visiting them indicating that the Tissoh community is part of the plans of the ACC in the fight against graft. He stressed that corruption by every indication is a menace to the development of this nation. He encouraged all to be attentive and contribute meaningfully.

ACC’s Mr. Mohamed S. Blake declared the purpose of such engagements with communities. He was quick to point out that the presence of the ACC does not in anyway suggest that the Tissoh people are corrupt but that the ACC was just on their regular public education campaigns aimed at taking the ACC to the public, educating them on corruption and the operations of the Commission and to ask for their support.

He stated that corruption was one of the principal causes of the unspeakable crisis that this country went through which left untold suffering on this nation and its peoples. He therefore called on all to stand firm against corruption, educate others to resist, reject and report instances of corruption to the ACC. He stated that the culture of silence should be broken now and that people should publicly speak out and report corruption to the ACC.

He gave a brief background of the establishment of the ACC by an Act of Parliament in 2000 on the recommendations of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC).  He informed the meeting that the Act was amended in 2008 where the corrupt practices increased, penalties made stiffer and the mandate broadened.

The Regional Manager Evelyn Walker in her statement encouraged women to be vigilant in the fight against graft as they suffer the brunt of the effects of corruption. She briefly highlighted the operations of the ACC indicating that out of the three operational departments two work towards the prevention of corruption through public education and the review systems and process which are the friendly faces of the ACC. When all the above measures fail, Miss Walker went on, then the Intelligence, Investigations and Prosecution Department, which is the unfriendly face of the ACC comes in. She stated that the ACC prefers converts to convicts and people should change for the good of the nation as corruption destroys the fabric of our already war ravaged nation.

She briefly spoke on the reporting procedures, informant and witness protection and the 10% reward scheme for informants and whistle blowers. She encouraged her audience to break the culture of silence. She maintained that the ACC goes by its core values of integrity, professionalism and partnership/coalition building in the fight against graft.

She gave the ACC hot lines and encouraged the community people to utilize this opportunity and report corruption related issues to the ACC.

The newly posted Senior Investigator and Legal Officer of the ACC, Mr. Patrick George spoke on some corrupt practices in the AC Act of 2008 and their respective penalties as a guide to his audience as they interact with public officers and as beneficiaries of public/donor funds. He encouraged all to educate others and support the work of the ACC by giving timely and credible information.

Chief M K. Samai of Tissoh Community in his statement appreciated the ACC for the education and called on all to be committed to the fight against corruption for national development. Chief Samai stated that they in the Tissoh community have indeed benefited from the session and are ready to always bring corruption related issues to the attention of the ACC. He requested for the hand of friendship already extended by the ACC to be sustained. Questions, comments and concerns formed part of the meeting.

By Mohamed Sylvanus Blake, ACC District Coordinating Officer –Kenema

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