ACC wraps with MDAs on mainstreaming integrity pacts
The Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) has held an inception meeting with some government Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) on mainstreaming integrity pacts within the public sector. The meeting which took place on Tuesday 28th April 2015, at the conference room of the ACC, was meant to determine the way forward in modelling what is referred to as “Integrity Pacts”. The Pact is a document to make commitment between an institution and a contractor, with the sole aim of safeguarding the basic tenants of integrity in the award and implementation of government contracts.
While making his statement, Commissioner of the ACC, Joseph Fitzgerald Kamara Esq. (in photo) admitted that fighting corruption is an ongoing event, adding that no matter the efforts put into it, there is much more to be done. He noted that the need to implement more strategies cannot be over emphasized. Mr Kamara described the integrity pacts as a formal type of relationship or tie, which goes far beyond an MOU, adding that it aims at modelling an anti-corruption clause in every contract and procurement award.
The Commissioner said even though the integrity pact is not a monitoring tool, yet the contracting parties are bound into a legal relationship. As he recognised that fighting corruption is not a standalone battle. He further expressed the desire for partnership and collaboration.
Mr. Kamara encouraged the MDAs to sign an integrity pledge with the Commission, vowing to implement the integrity pacts while dealing with contractors. He said it is the responsibility of every well-meaning Sierra Leonean to preserve the state.
In his opening statement, the Deputy Commissioner of ACC Shollay Davies referred to the inaugural engagement as the meeting of minds, which will direct the trend the integrity pacts will take. Mr Davies emphasized the significance the ACC has placed on integrity issues and its numerous efforts, especially within the Asset Declaration Regime and other meaningful engagements with MDAs. He stated his belief that corruption can be tackled when integrity is strengthened, as it reflects transparency and accountability. He stressed the need for involving revenue mobilisation and large budget-driven institutions- like Ministries of Health, Education, Agriculture, the NRA, NASSIT, SLRTC and NACSA- in the pilot phase of this project in partnership with the Open Government Initiative (OGI) as lead partner in the integrity cluster.
Speaking on behalf of the Secretary to the Cabinet, Samuel Bangura, a permanent secretary, considers ACC’s effort as a welcomed idea, which will foster accountability and transparency within the public sector. He therefore pledged their unwavering support to the integrity pacts, considering the constitutional role the Secretary to Cabinet plays in ensuring a corrupt free public sector management. Mr. Bangura also described this as a symbiotic partnership that will help strengthen institutions. As he presumes that the integrity pact will have a far-reaching effect, Mr. Bangura further recommends the factoring of the integrity pacts initiative into donor contracts as well.
Commenting on the bi-lateral relationship existing between the Anti-Corruption Commission and the Open Government Initiative (OGI), regarding the integrity pacts; the Executive Director of OGI, Kadijah Sesay catalogued their accomplishments, as having one of the most robust action plan among sixty four countries in the implementation of the OGI. She further states that the OGI was able to attain such accolade, because of the determined support of the ACC and the Agenda for Prosperity.
Madam Sesay proceeded said the Open Government Initiative gave rise to the Open Government partnership, in the bid to promote democracy, good governance and the rule of law. The OGI is entrenched in the promotion of accountability, transparency and citizen’s participation as their core values. She emphasised that the integrity pacts will help the OGI, in achieving their fourth indicator-Income and Asset Disclosure.
The formal launch and signing of the integrity pacts by MDAs is expected to take place in May this year.
Several contributions were made by participants who were representing their respective MDAs.
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