ACC takes the Fight Against Corruption to MAFFS staff in Magburaka
The Northern Regional Office of the Anti-Corruption Commission has taken the educational approach in the fight against corruption to staff of the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Food Security (MAFFS) in Magburaka.
This was in the form of a sensitization meeting on Tuesday 19th February 2012. Welcoming the Commission, the District Crops Officer MAFFS Mr. Emmanuel Bala Marah expressed appreciation to ACC for considering them in its education drive. He noted the importance of such meetings which would ensure proper understanding of the operations of both institutions. The District Crops Officer assured ACC of MAFFS’ continued support towards the fight against corruption in Tonkolili District.
Explaining the thrust of the meeting, ACC’s District Coordinator Tonkolili, Abdulai Saccoh said it was a strategic and sustained public education campaign to ensure that MAFFS staffs working in Tonkolili District are aware of their roles and responsibilities towards the fight against corruption. He added that the meeting was a platform to educate them on the dangers of corruption, mandate of the Commission and how corrupt practices in their operations can hinder the development of not only Tonkolili District but also Sierra Leone.
The Tonkolili District Coordinator encouraged staff of MAFFS to partner with the Commission in the fight against corruption. He therefore entreated all staff of MAFFS to see the fight against corruption as a collective responsibility which requires coalition building and partnership. Mr. Saccoh gave a brief background on the establishment of the Commission and explained the three approaches used in the fight against corruption which are public education, prevention and confrontation.
In his address, ACC’s Regional Manager, North, Mr. Patrick Sandi emphasized the importance of MAFFS towards the development of Sierra Leone. He noted that the Ministry’s performance is critical as it is one of the indicator’s that will determine Sierra Leone’s positive ranking on the Human Development Index. He therefore encouraged MAFFS staff to stand against corruption and be sincere in the fight. “If we allow corruption to thrive in this country, we will have nothing to leave as legacy for our children. So let us join hands and be strong to fight it” Manager Sandi said.
The Regional Manager lamented over the findings in the 2011 Auditor General’s Report which the ACC has taken very seriously in a bid to ensuring that public funds are used transparently and accounted for.
He made it clear to staff of MAFFS that the ACC is not witch-hunting anybody or institution and not just bent on arresting and convicting individuals, but also sensitizes the public on the dangers of corruption and builds partnership. Manager Sandi explained some of the offences and penalties as enshrined in the 2008 Act that have bearing with MAFFS operations.
ACC’s Public Education Officer, Al-Hassan Sesay explained the various methods of making reports to the Commission and protection of informants. He emphasized on the Commission’s core value of confidentiality and entreated staff of MAFFS to resist, reject and report corruption. Mr. Sesay read out the free ACC mobile hotlines and explained to them the benefits of making report and the 10% reward to informants. He however warned them against making false report which he noted constitutes an offence.
In their responses, staff of MAFFS heaped praises on the Commission for putting more emphasis on the education and prevention methods. They however expressed concerns over the delay in the allocation of funds to the Ministry and highlighted problems associated with staff promotions and retirement benefits.
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