ACC takes anti-corruption messages to rural communities in Kambia district, Sierra Leone
In its quest to disseminate anti-corruption messages to rural communities, the Northern Regional office of the Anti-Corruption Commission has in a sensitization drive engaged stakeholders and community members of Madina, Kawula and Bamoi Luma in the Tonko Limba, Magbema and Masumgbla Chiefdoms, Kambia District from Tuesday 23rd to Thursday 25thOctober 2012. (Photo: Cross section of participants at the outreach meeting in Madina, Kambia)
Addressing community members at their respective Court Barrys, ACC’s District Coordinator, Kambia, Mr. Abdul Karim Bangura said the engagements were meant to enhance their knowledge and understanding on the mandate of the Commission, how corrupt practices in their communities can hinder the development of the chiefdoms and solicit their support towards the fight. The Kambia District Coordinator emphasized that such meetings would help raise awareness about the role of locals in the development of their chiefdoms and change negative perceptions about corruption. He emphasized that the fight against corruption should not be left in the hands of the Commission but requires collective efforts.
Giving a brief overview of the Commission, ACC’s Public Education Officer, Al-Hassan Sesay, recognized the importance of rural communities which is crucial to the fight against corruption in the country. That was why the ACC saw it necessary to intensify the public education drive in the chiefdom headquarter towns to spread anti-corruption messages. He told the people of Madina, Kawula and Bamoi Luma that the ACC is not a witch hunt institution but working towards ensuring that the socio-economic needs of the citizens of Sierra Leone are met. Mr. Sesay explained the three approaches used by the Commission and mandate of the Commission as enshrined in the 2008 Anti-Corruption Act.
In his address to the people of Tonko Limba, Magbema and Masumgbla Chiefdoms in Kambia District at the respective meetings, Regional Manager of ACC- North, Mr. Patrick Sandi on behalf of the Commissioner, Management and Staff, appreciated stakeholders of the respective chiefdoms for embracing the Commission. He noted that ACC is the hope of the people of Sierra Leone, adding that the presence of ACC in the chiefdoms would usher in development. Manager Sandi lamented that those suffering from the effects of corruption are greater than those benefiting from it. “The devastating effects of corruption would have no barrier. Whenever we fight corruption, corruption fights back. So let us be resolved to form a strong force against it, as together we can succeed in the fight against corruption” he appealed.
He observed that most people measure the success of ACC by the number of high profile personalities charged to court, but informed the gathering that the Commission has done a lot in the area of prevention and education. Explaining the offences as contained in the 2008 Act, the Regional Manager informed the people of Madina, Kawula and Bamoi Luma that it does not only cover government officials but everybody including the private sector. He highlighted some corrupt practices relating to the school system, the Free Health Care programme, Chiefdom Administration, Local Courts, market places and some sectors of their communities that are hindrances to the development of the chiefdoms and the country. Manager Sandi used the occasion to encourage those involved in these ill-practices to desist and do what is prescribed by law. He emphasized that if the fight against corruption is to succeed, they must be ready to resist, reject and report corruption. The Regional Manager further explained the various methods of making reports to the Commission and protection of informers.
Making their inputs, P.C Bomborlai Kelfa Foro III of Tonko Limba Chiefdom emphasized the importance of such meetings. He noted that it was better for those in rural communities to get an insight into what ACC is doing. The Paramount Chief assured the Commission of their fullest cooperation in a bid towards enhancing transparency in the chiefdom.
P.C Alimamy Lahai V of Masumgbla Chiefdom on behalf of his people appreciated ACC for enlightening them on corruption issues. He told his subjects that ACC is working towards development; therefore, if they support it, the chiefdom will see development. “We should be concerned about what is happening around us. It is the business of us all to fight corruption in this country” The Paramount Chief maintained.
Section Chief of Bamoi Luma, Pa Alimamy Bangura in his statement appreciated the sensitization drive by the ACC which he noted will go a long way in enhancing effective service delivery. He lamented that despite being an economically viable town, Bamoi Luma lacks basic social facilities which he attributed to corruption.
Questions, comments, suggestions and answers formed part of the respective meetings.
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