No scaling down for ACC
While other public institutions are scaling down on their activities and some closed down completely on account of the Ebola outbreak, the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) rather is stepping up the anti- graft crusade.
Some public offices across the country have either cut down on their contact hours, or correspondingly reduced their interactions with the public. Their actions are substantiated by the fact that they are trying to respond to the prevention efforts in the fight against Ebola. They believe it to be a show of responsiveness to one of the strategies recommended by Health officials; if we are to completely wipe out Ebola in Sierra Leone.
The ACC too, has utmost regard for the prevention recommendations by WHO, and therefore had put in place measures to prevent her staff from contracting the Ebola viral disease; but not at the expense of the job.
In the midst of this crisis, the ACC is scaling up, instead of scaling down on its activities. This is manifested by the latest indictments filed by the Commission on corrupt individuals. Five different matters, involving eight persons at one go, were sent to the High Court, in October 2014.
Moses Alie, who impersonated an Officer of ACC in a capacity that is even non-existent in the official cadre of the Regional Office in Makeni, is one of the many individuals who have dared to impair the image of the Commission, by soliciting money from the public surreptitiously. Another sent to court is the former Member of Parliament Alhaji Yamba Thullah. This action by the Commission is reflective of the fact that, the ACC has no regard for titles or status, when it comes to observance of the rule of law. The Commission believes that everyone stands equal before the law.
Equally, the Commission indicted Ahmed Kamara a Customs Officer attached to the Prevention Security Service Division of the National Revenue Authority (NRA). It is as if the precedent set by the ACC on NRA staff in the famous NRA/ECOBank matter was not enough. He conspired with Ahmed Tambawa of Bollore, Aiah Momodu and Abdul S. Kabba, staff of Kollenteh Shipping Company to defraud the State, at a time the country needed financial resources most. Sia Alpha a Court Clerk of Magistrate Court No. 10 was also caught in their game of Soliciting and Accepting advantage for the processing and approval of bail. Like Sia, Victorino Fayia Joseph a Traffic Warden, regardless of the many efforts made by the ACC to clamp down on such practices as bribery, yet, went on soliciting advantage.
ACC’s action clearly manifests; while others are sleeping waiting for the dawn of a new era after Ebola; ACC is spending sleepless nights hunting the thieves and crooks. Thieves do their mischief at night. Arm robbers break in mostly at night. They use the darkness as an advantage to cover up their filthy deeds. In like manner, some public officers consider the state of public health emergency as the “night and darkness” to go on with their thievery. Others want to use this moment to amass wealth unscrupulously. Taking a quote from “One Drop”, some public officers are living according to this Italian saying “Since the house is on fire, let us warm ourselves”. But like this expression would say, “If the child does not sleep, the mother too will not sleep”.
ACC is relentlessly keeping watch at night. Even though some civil servants now work for lesser hours in their offices, ACC staff work for increased hours. The Commissioner and Deputy Commissioner did not sit in their air conditioned offices, but went out to the EOC’s in the regions to identify themselves with the front line Ebola fighters. This was done not just to ginger them up, but to also encourage them to follow laid down principals in the appropriation of State funds. There is more work for ACC; therefore there is no scaling down for the Commission.
BY: David Kanekey Conteh
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