Kamara, Tankoro and Nimiyama chiefdoms embrace the ACC
In an effort to ensure that every chiefdom is adequately informed about the Commission and its operation, the Public Education Department of the Anti-Corruption Commission in the Eastern Region has carried out public education exercises in the Kamara, Tankoro and Nimiyama Chiefdoms in the Kono District. The meetings took place in the Chiefdom Headquarters of Tombodu, Tankoro and Sewafe on the 21st, 22nd and 23rd September, 2011 respectively. (Photo: PC Melvin Ngekia (l) and speaker Raymond Komba of Kamara chiefdom)
In his opening remarks in Tombodu, Paramount Chief Melvin Ngekia of Kamara Chiefdom, like the Chiefdom Speakers in Tankoro and Nimiyama, welcomed the ACC to and expressed appreciation for the move the ACC took to visit them and expressed hope that the visit will help give a true and clear picture of the ACC and how it operates. Paramount Chief Ngekia said that he never had an understanding about the Commission and its operation until he attended the workshop organized by the ACC for Paramount Chiefs in Bo. He urged his people to embrace the ACC and cooperate with them for the development of this nation.
Explaining the purpose of such engagements, Public Education Officer East, Peter Baio Kamara said that the presence of the ACC in these chiefdoms was in fulfillment of the Commission’s mandate of educating the public about the bad effects of corruption, the benefits of a corrupt free nation and to ask for public support in the fight against corruption. He added that most people hear of the Anti-Corruption Commission but do not really know what it is and what it does, that is why the ACC is embarking on regular public education campaigns aimed at taking the ACC to the people and giving them a clear understanding about its operation with the aim of recruiting the public into the anti-corruption force.
Giving a brief overview of the Commission and its operations, the Kono District Coordinating Officer Sahr Isaiah Suluku said the Commission was established by an Act of Parliament in 2000 in fulfillment of recommendations of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. He added that the AC Act of 2008 has more corrupt practices, stiffer penalties and gives the ACC powers to prosecute its cases without reference to Attorney-General and Minister of Justice as was the case in the 2000 Act. This, he said has seen the indictment and conviction of high profile public officers. He explained the three operational wings of the Commission; Education, prevention and prosecution. Mr. Suluku emphasized that the ACC gives preference to preventing corruption than prosecuting as it is less expensive to prevent and more expensive to prosecute. He encouraged people especially public officers to abide by laid down rules, regulations and policies and to always be on the right side of the law.
Mr. Peter B. Kamara the Regional Public Education East spoke on the reporting procedures, the informant and witness protection and the 10% reward schemes and encouraged his audience to break the culture of silence and report corruption. He highlighted some corrupt practices in the 2008 AC Act and their respective penalties and encouraged all chiefdom authorities present at the meetings to serve as ACC ambassadors by educating members of their various communities. He urged them to support the work of the ACC by giving timely and credible information. He gave the ACC hotlines and encouraged the chiefdom authorities to utilize this opportunity and report corruption related issues to the ACC either directly to the Headquarters in Freetown and the Regional office in Kenema or through the District Coordinating Officer in Kono Mr. Sahr Isaiah Suluku.
In their various closing statements, the three Chiefdom Speakers, Chief Raymond Komba of Kamara Chiefdom, Chief S.B. Gondo of Tankoro and Chief Philip Koroma of Nimiyama Chiefdom all appreciated the ACC for the sensitization and called for more of such engagements in future and advised all to stay away from corruption. They pledged their chiefdom’s commitment to the fight against corruption. A question and answer session and distribution of ACC materials formed part of the meeting.
By Peter Baio Kamara, ACC Public Education, Kenema
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