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ACC engages EDSA and EGTC staff on key corruption issues

ACC engages EDSA and EGTC staff on key corruption issues

In its determination to ensure that transparency and accountability is upheld in the various pillars of integrity, the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) has on Wednesday 19th August 2015 sensitized staff and volunteers of Electricity Distribution and Supply Authority (EDSA) and Electricity Generation and Transmission Company (EGTC) in Makeni.

Speaking on the purpose of the meeting, ACC’s Public Education Officer, Augustine Foday Ngobie described the engagement as a step in the right direction aimed at creating synergy between the two institutions to enhance transparency. Mr. Ngobie noted that the meeting was a deliberate move by the Commission to spread anti-corruption messages and enlist their support in fighting corruption. Fighting corruption he noted “is not the business of the Commission alone but the duty of all Sierra Leoneans”. The Public Education Officer stated that the Commission’s work was not only limited to investigation and prosecution, but also engages in prevention and education of the public on the dangers of corruption and the benefits of a corrupt free society. Mr. Ngobie implored staff of EDSA and EGTC to refrain from the forbidding practices that will lead to the loss of much needed revenue.

In his statement on key corruption issues and mainstreaming anti-corruption measures into EDSA and EGTC operations, ACC’s Senior Public Education Officer, Al Hassan Sesay underscored the importance of the meeting noting that it was not intended to threaten them, but to guide them in their day to day operations so that they will perform their functions devoid of corruption. Sesay stressed that ACC is not a witch hunt institution but rather it services as a check on the excesses of public bodies. The Senior Public Education Officer notified the audience that whether paid or unpaid as long as the individual is working for a public body and contravenes the 2008 Anti-Corruption ACT, he or she can be investigated and charged to court. Sesay stated that most government institutions are in a deplorable state due to corruption. Sesay encouraged staff and volunteers to take their work seriously as the Commission considers the service they provide crucial in enhancing the socioeconomic livelihood of the people. He characterized corruption as petty and grand corruption noting that the Commission does not look at the amount involved but the offence committed. The Senior Public Education Officer catalogued some of the corrupt practices that are prevalent amongst staff of EDSA and EGTC such as: over pricing for meter, unnecessary delay in the issuance of meter, illegal connection, meter tampering, bribe and extortion of monies from customers in the guise of providing them with meters. Sesay warned staff and volunteers of both institutions to desist from such corrupt activities as they are punishable offences.

Dilating on some of the offences and penalties as enshrined in the 2008 AC Act, ACC’s Senior Investigations Officer, Joseph Bockarie Noah, drew the attention of the audience to the existence of twenty seven offences that are in part four of the Act. Noah explained the various offences that are likely to be committed by public officers such as: corrupt acquisition of wealth; possession of unexplained wealth; offering, soliciting and accepting advantaged; influencing a public officer; bribery, misappropriation of public funds/property; misappropriation of donor funds/property; abuse of office; abuse of position; receiving gift for a corrupt purpose; protection of public property and revenue. The Senior Investigations Officer disclosed that the penalty for the aforementioned offences is a fine not less than thirty million Leones or to imprisonment for a term not less than three years or both. He also talked on offences relating to asset declaration, obstruction of justice, conspiracy to commit corruption offence and impersonation noting that their penalties are also prescribed in the Act.

Public Education Officer, Abdulai Saccoh, dilated on EDSA and EGTC’s roles in the fight against corruption. Saccoh reminded them that it is the civic responsible of Sierra Leoneans to fight corruption and ensure that they resist, reject and report any act of corruption to the Commission. He assured his audience of informant protection as information provided to the ACC will not be divulged to anyone. He cautioned them to abstain from making false/malicious report as that constitutes an indictable offence and upon conviction liable to pay fine/prison term or both. Saccoh informed them about the 10% reward given to informants for reports brought to the attention of the Commission which are investigated, convictions gained in court and recoveries made.

Earlier in his welcome statement, Station Head, Abdul Musa applauded the Commission for its relentless efforts in ensuring that corruption of any form is stamped out. Musa assured ACC of their unflinching support in combating corruption and implored his colleagues to adhere to the provision that are in the 2008 AC Act. Question and answer session climaxed the engagement.

ACC Makeni

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