ACC engages Integrity Management Committees (IMCS) of ministries, departments and agencies in the southern region
The Southern Regional Office of the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) and the National Anti-Corruption Strategy (NACS) Secretariat on Wednesday 15th July 2015 at the Bo District Council Hall, Sewa Road, Bo finalized one day assessment engagement with the Integrity Management Committee members drawn from Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) in the Southern Region. This assessment engagement with the IMCs by the Implementation Committee attracted one hundred and twenty (120) members from thirty eight (38) MDAs. (Photo: Right to left: Samuel Marah, Hon. Claude Kamanda, Mrs. Lavina Bandua and Patrick George)
The IMCs were established in the various ministries as an internal mechanism to drive forward the implementation of the the National Anti –Corruption Strategy (NACS) 2014 -18 in their respective institutions. The meeting was an opportunity for the National Implementation Committee to assess the functionality of the IMCs, assess progress of the implementation process, identify the challenges and to map out the way forward.
Welcoming participants from the four districts in the Southern Region, the Regional Manager ACC – South, Samuel Marah gave a synopsis as to how the NACS was developed and said it provides a strategic road map for the Anti-Corruption Commission, its partners and MDAs to address corruption in the public and private sectors thereby enhancing service delivery. The Regional Manager emphasized that the five year plan is critical for the development of Sierra Leone therefore the MDAs should take full responsibility to effectively implement the recommendations. He highlighted steps taken by the Regional Office to facilitate the establishment and effective functioning of the IMCs and inspired members to be steadfast and committed to the implementation process.
Delivering her statement, Lavina Banduah member of the National Implementation Committee, who is also the Executive Director of Transparency International – Sierra Leone Chapter, informed participants that the Committee is in the south to conduct a bi-annual assessment on the IMCs in the region. Mrs. Banduah discussed with the audience the effects of corruption on the well being of the citizenry of Sierra Leone and cited corruption as one of the key reasons Sierra Leone is still faced with a high level of poverty despite being blessed with over twenty six natural resources. She told participants to have a shift in the way they handle State resources and to take total responsibility in the effective management of State resources. She further reminded participants that as responsible people, we must leave behind a remarkable legacy by adopting systems that will prevent and curb corruption in all MDAs. She ended by telling participants that we have a sacred duty as people to end this social menace in our country.
Addressing participants, the Honorable Member of Parliament, and member of the National Implementation Committee, Hon. Claude D.M Kamanda began by describing his role in the Sierra Leone Parliament as chairman of the accountability and transparency committee which he said, is to check on the aspect of transparency and accountability in all MDAs. The Honorable Claude Kamanda told participants that the lack of transparency and accountability in the general operations of MDAs has upsurges corruption in Sierra Leone. He highlighted the negative impacts of corruption on all sectors of our nation. He cited the issues of retirement, poor procurement system, lack of comprehensive documentations in the MDAs, unnecessary transfers, the incapacity of internal auditors in the councils and bribery as key corruption issues in MDAs.
The MP cited key provisions in the Anti-Corruption Act which mandates the Commission to take all necessary steps to bring to an end to the culture of corruption and also he further communicated to the audience the possible penalties provided in section 8, 1-5 of the AC Act of 2008 for non–compliance to the ACC recommendations referring to NACS as one of those key recommendations. He encouraged all MDAs to set up their IMCs or suffer the penalties which range from a fine of five million Leones to removal from office for non- compliance. He noted that the existence of the ACC is not a disadvantage but a big bonus to help create a corrupt free society for the socio-economic good of all citizens. He implored all to lend their support to the ACC so that they could succeed in the fight against the cancer.
Delivering his power point presentation , the NACS Manager Patrick George, gave the background to the development of the National Anti- Corruption Strategy 2014-2018 and the roles of the National Implementation Committee and NACS Secretariat. He also explained the Terms of Reference of the IMCS and noted the expected outputs and outcomes. The NACs Manager also chronologically presented a paradigm of changes made to the past anti-corruption strategies, stating that the new strategy is comprehensively balanced with focus on prevention, enforcement and suppression unlike its predecessors. He concluded his presentation by encouraging the participants to take full ownership of the process and maintain a zero tolerance stance against corruption.
The members of the IMCs reported on the performance of the committees in facilitating the implementation process in the various Ministries, Departments and Agencies and the challenges faced were deliberated on, which culminated into recommendations made on how to take process forward. Amongst the challenges stated were limited staff strength and capacity, centralized control of regional offices and lack of logistics.
In closing, civil society representative Mr. Jeremy Simbo encouraged the MDAs to take cognizant of the independence of the IMCs and ensure the successful implementation of the strategy recommendations. He also called on the ACC to continuously provide technical support to the IMCs to enhance output in the various MDAs. He encouraged each MDA to take collective ownership of the process and then thanked all for the valuable contributions made in the meeting.
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