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ACC targets the National Fire Force in the north

ACC targets the National Fire Force in the north

As a mark of its determination and enthusiasm to rid the Northern Region of corruption and corrupt practices, the Anti-Corruption Commission on Friday 24th February, 2012 held customized meeting with staff of the National Fire Force (NFF) at their Regional Headquarters in Makeni.  (Photo: Cross section of the audience)

Explaining the purpose of the engagement, the Bombali District Coordinator, Raymond Alieu Kamara said it was geared towards partnering with the NFF.  He further maintained that NFF’s role in Sierra Leone was critical and as such if corruption eats deep into its operations, the masses would suffer considering the loss it will cause to the citizenry materially as well as financially.  Mr. Kamara furthered that the people of the Northern Region were eager to see the Agency very functional as fire disasters in the Northern Region has been commonplace in recent times with no seeming intervention from the Fire Force.

Raymond A Kamara, Bombali District Coordinator dilating on the purpose of the meeting

The Coordinator however, commended the officers for the little efforts they are making to sensitize the public on fire prevention in spite of the challenges especially when they lack fire engine.  Mr. Kamara cautioned the officers to be conscious of their positions as public officers and their approach to the use of public property and funds.  He opined that funds meant for the organization must be used judiciously rather than siphoned to private pockets. The Bombali District Coordinator added that the officers and all and sundry were encouraged to join the ACC in eradicating corruption from Sierra Leone, as it constitutes their civic responsibility to contributing to the development of the nation.

Concluding, Kamara read out the Commission’s hotlines which are free of cost in order to report any suspected instance of corruption. The Hotlines are; Africell: 077-985-985/077-986-986; Airtel: (No code) 161; 076-394-111; Comium: (No code) 101or102.

He assured them of their protection, as their identity will remain confidential, or in the event they face intimidation or victimization.

manager Patrick Sandi giving an overview and update of the Commission's operations

The Regional Manager ACC North, Patrick Sandi dilated on the background to the establishment of the Commission.  He told his audience that, the ACC was established in 2000 by an Act of Parliament, the reason being that efforts needed to be taken to combat corruption as it was identified by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) as one of the major causes of the country’s eleven- year brutal war.  Mr. Sandi furthered that in 2008, the 2000 Act was repealed in order to make the Commission robust, effective, efficient and productive.

The 2008 AC Act Manager Sandi maintained, gave the Commission enormous powers amongst which are: powers to prosecute it cases, stiffer penalties to corruption offences, increased number of offences from nine (9) to twenty-seven (27), the mandatory declaration of Assets by public officers etc.  Regional Manager North, highlighted some of the corrupt practices in the Ac Act 2008 and warned the officers not to fall foul of any as the penalty for an offence is a fine of not less than thirty million leones (Le 30,000,000) or a prison term of not less than three (3) years.  Manager Sandi emphasized that officers should know that it is an offence to misuse public property-vehicles, motorbikes, etc and warned them to note this carefully, especially when they would have been provided with vehicles and fire engines to carry out their work.  He entreated the officers to intensify their fire prevention campaigns as it will equally help considerably to minimizing fire accidents in the communities.

191 Sgt Amadu Sesay making his preentation

Speaking on behalf of the Regional Commander North, the 2nd in command National Fire Force North, 191 Sergeant Amadu Sesay, thanked the ACC for such a meeting and assured ACC staff that they will always cooperate with the organization as it was formed to see that the socio-economic situations of Sierra Leoneans are improved.  Mr. Sesay encouraged his staff and colleagues to be very careful in the work they do, so that they will not be found wanting by the ACC.  The 2nd in command maintained that the organization was grappling with lot of issues especially the non-availability of fire engine in the Region, but that these challenges were on the desk of His Excellency, The President Dr. Ernest Bai Koroma and hoped they will be addressed as quickly as possible.  Mr. Sesay concluded that initially they had their fears and reservations in the ACC, but with this interactive meeting, they will henceforth partner with the Commission to fight corruption in Sierra Leone.

Firewoman Md. Fatmata K. Dumbuya gave the vote of thanks, and the meeting was climaxed with questions and answers.

ACC, Freetown

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