ACC engages Restless Development in the north
In its quest to enhance coalition and partnership in the fight against corruption, the Northern Regional Office of the Anti-Corruption Commission has on Friday 30th March 2012 engaged staff of Restless Development in Makeni. (Photo: Cross section of the audience Restless Development)
Welcoming ACC staff at the Restless Development office in Makeni, Assistant Finance and Admin Coordinator, Josephine S. Musa expressed appreciation to ACC staff for bringing the Commission closer to them, which she noted will go a long way in changing negative public perceptions. She admitted that the fight against corruption is a national affair, which underscored the reason why it should not be left in the hands of ACC alone.
Explaining the rationale for the meeting, ACC’s Public Education Officer Mrs. Fatmata Finda Bangura said it was meant to enhance collaboration and partnership between both institutions in the Northern Region. She re-emphasised the Commission’s core value of coalition building and partnership and therefore entreated Restless Development as an institution to partner with the Commission. Mrs. Bangura said ACC alone cannot succeed in achieving its vision without public support. She noted that as Restless Development staff deal particularly with youths, they should help the Commission in changing their corrupt behavior, attitude and opinion for the development of Sierra Leone.
Giving an overview of the Commission, the Public Education Officer, emphasized that the ACC is not a witch hunt institution but leading the fight against corruption through public education, prevention, enforcement and compliance for the benefit of all Sierra Leoneans. She emphasised that the engagement was part of the Commission’s public education and preventive approach in the fight against corruption. Mrs. Bangura further explained the public education, prevention and confrontational approaches used by the Commission in the fight against corruption in the country.
Explaining the offences and penalties as enshrined in the Anti-Corruption Act of 2008, ACC’s Regional Manager, North, Patrick Sandi used the occasion to extend thanks and appreciation on behalf of the Commissioner and Commission to Restless Development for their determination to support the work of the Commission. He explained some of the offences in the 2008 Act like misappropriation of donor or public funds or property, soliciting and accepting advantage, abuse of office or position, conflict of interest, influencing a public officer, possession of unexplained wealth, receiving gifts for corrupt purposes. Mr. Sandi emphasised that the punishment for any of the offences is a fine of not less than thirty (30) million Leones or imprisonment for a term not less than three (3) years or both fine and prison term.
In his presentation, Public Education Officer, Al-Hassan Sesay explained to staff of Restless Development the importance of reporting corrupt practices to the Commission and the benefits to the informant and country. Mr. Sesay emphasised that if the fight against corruption is to succeed, they must be ready to report corruption. He further explained the various methods of making reports to the Commission and protection of informers. The Public Education Officer emphasized the Commission’s core value of confidentiality and professionalism and entreated staff of Restless Development to stand against corruption. Mr. Sesay read out the Commission’s free mobile hotlines and warned them against making false and malicious report.
In his statement, Restless Development’s Regional Coordinator North, Mr. Fallah Kamanda pledged his institutions’ commitment in strengthening partnership with the Commission in the fight against corruption in the region. He admitted that such face to face dialogue is very important as constant guidance and monitoring is vital towards the fight against corruption. He promised on behalf of Restless Development to spread out anti-corruption messages to the youths they are engaging in the Northern Region.
Mr. Kamanda noted that the program Restless Development engages youths who in turn talk to their peers for transformation of societies. He maintained that his organization is working with sixteen (16) communities in Bombali District and these have information centers. He therefore assured the ACC that he will use these centers to communicate and transmit anti-corruption messages to people in these communities as a way of working to eradicate corruption in our societies. The Regional Coordinator Fallah Kamanda concluded “ACC have told us today what we can do for Sierra Leone to progress”, and I appreciate it very much he furthered.
The meeting was climaxed with questions and answers session and presentation of ACC educational materials to Restless Development.
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