ACC opens purpose-built regional office in Makeni
The President of the Republic of Sierra Leone, HE Dr Ernest Bai Koroma on Thursday 1st December, 2011 officially opened the newly constructed Anti-Corruption Commission’s regional office in Makeni. The colorful ceremony which was chaired by the Minister of State, North, Hon. Alie Kamara was graced by dignitaries across the county including the Minister of Information and Communications Alhaji Ibrahim B. Kargbo. (Photo: HE Dr Ernest Bai Koroma giving the keynote address)
The Chairman in his opening remarks lauded the ACC for the hard work and said that the gathering was a testimony of President Koroma’s commitment to the fight against graft in Sierra Leone. The Chairman said he was pleased with the honor bestowed on him to chair ACC meeting and therefore suggested that he was expected to stand tall and be above corruption and corrupt practices.
The Mayor Makeni City Council, His worship Moses Sesay extolled the ACC and thanked them for adding beauty to his city with such a magnificent edifice. Mayor Sesay said that the opening ceremony was an epoch-making event and a milestone in President Koroma’s vision of a corrupt free Nation. The Mayor furthered that the ACC needed to strengthen more its preventive approach as it will help them extensively.
In his contribution, the Paramount Chief of Bombali Sebora Chiefdom, PC Kasangha II thanked President Koroma for his firm stance on fighting corruption. PC Kasangha II opined that indeed the President has maintained a zero tolerance to corruption a commitment he made to him about two weeks when he became President of Sierra Leone. Corruption, the Paramount Chief stressed was evil and urged everybody to join the ACC to combat it.
In his keynote address, President Dr. Ernest Bai Koroma commended the ACC for its competent leadership and quality staff. He emphasized that he has achieved his campaign promise that he will fight corruption to the last. His Excellency said, he has given the Commission freehand to do its work without any interference. This is evident in the enactment of the AC Act 2008 which gives prosecutorial powers to the Commission. He furthered that the AC Act 2008 increased the number of offences from 9 to 27 making it broad based. The President assured all that his Government has done tremendously well to fight corruption and that people needed to be sincere in making judgments.
Earlier in his statement, the Commissioner, Anti-Corruption Commission, Joseph Fitzgerald Kamara Esq. said that the day marked another deliberate step in the progressive fight against corruption in Sierra Leone. ACC Commissioner emphasized that the event demonstrated a ten-year journey where in the ACC had struggled to position itself within the complex strata of political governance. Mr. Kamara further emphasized that the ACC was getting 80% support from the Government of Sierra Leone, whilst the 20% was coming from development partners i.e. DFID, GTZ, World Bank, EU, Irish Aid and UNDP.
The Commissioner underscored the point that the 2011 Transparency International Corruption Perception Index just released shows Sierra Leone’s rating upward with a 2.5 aggregate. He emphasized that whilst our neighboring countries experienced a downward trend Sierra Leone surge forwards.
Mr. Kamara also noted that the monies the ACC has recovered from corrupt offenders and paid directly into the consolidated fund. That as a Commission, it has been able to recover since 2008 5.6 billion Leones plus $75,000 USD, which is equivalent to over $ 1,355,000 USD (one million three hundred and fifty-five thousand United States Dollars). The Commissioner also highlighted that the ACC is an established pillar of support to good governance pursuing integrity in public life, confronting corruption through exposure, system review, investigation and prosecution.
The opening ceremony was climaxed by the cutting of the tape by HE Dr Ernest Bai Koroma and a conducted tour of the building.
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