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FEATURES  

ELDRED DUROSIMI JONES AND UMU KULTUMI TEJAN-JALLOH WIN ACC INTEGRITY AWARD IN SIERRA LEONE
By Anti Corruption Commission
Dec 11, 2009, 21:39
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As part of the events to celebrate International Anti-Corruption day on 9th December 2009, the Anti-Corruption Commission organized the maiden National Integrity Award. The Award seeks to recognize the efforts of two individuals in our society whom have demonstrated an uncompromising commitment to high ethical standards in Sierra Leone. The award acknowledges individuals with integrity and to make them a source of inspiration.

According to Huguette Labelle, Chair of Transparency International,
Fighting corruption requires more than tools and programmes; it requires role models who inspire Integrity Awards highlight the role models who have demonstrated a commitment to their values and beliefs by their courageous actions. Integrity awards winners provide a sense of hope and empowerment they demonstrate that it is possible for ordinary people to do extraordinary things. Integrity awards winners are the heroes of the fight against corruption.

Five independent judges chose this years two awardees. The five judges who chose the awardees were:
1. Dr. Talabi Asie Lucan is a renowned educationist and writer and a legendary historian.
2. Mr. Umaru Fofanah is the dynamic professional journalist and President of Sierra Leone Association of Journalists
3. The visionary Father Joe Turay who serves as director of the Fatima Institute is a devout principled and industrious personality.
4. Dr. John Songo Williams a renowned otolaryntologist medical doctor who has offered this country long dedicated years of health care service.
5. A distinguished Sierra Leonean Dr. Alfred Salia Fawundu-Chair of the Advisory Board of the Anti-Corruption Commission and former UNDP Resident Representative.

In a statement at the award the ACC Commissioner, Abdul Tejan-Cole stated that:
We hope they will continue to uphold ethical standards and acts as benchmarks for our society. It is our expectation that these awardees will inspire a new generation of Sierra Leoneans who value hard work, who have strong moral strength and integrity and who realizes that one cannot have something for nothing. We trust they will help instil in our younger generation the virtues of honesty, selfless service, hard work, moral rectitude, and patriotism.

Over 100 nominations were received. The final shortlist of 10 included the following personalities: Akwande Lasite, Principal of the Sierra Leone Grammar School, Grace Carolla Williams, Dr J.C. Boima, Dr Muctarr Sheriff Jalloh, Prof. John Abu Kamara, Dr Christiana Thorpe, Rev Shodankeh Johnson and George Coleridge-Taylor. At the end of the deliberations, the panel of Judges chose Professor Eldred Jones and Umu Kultumi Tejan-Jalloh.

Citation for Professor Eldred Durosimi Jones - Read out by Dr Talabie Aisie Lucan, Chairman, Panel of Judges

I will spare you the details of the all-too-familiar legendary literary status of the awardee. As one of the Corpuscles of his generation, he combines knowledge of Elizabethan and Jacobean literature, in which he holds a PhD Degree, with his strive for integrity and honesty in public life.

As Principal of Sub-Saharan Africas oldest tertiary institution, Fourah Bay College, he showed an exemplary character in his love for public life filled with honesty, integrity, and high moral standards. As one orator puts it, he has achieved distinction in three fields of interest: as an academic, an educational leader and in service.

In a job which some gourmands would use to make money because they advise a head of state, our awardee gave his services as Chairman of the National Policy Advisory Council, on a labour of love basis. He insisted that he should not be paid a salary.

Despite all that, or may be because of it, he kept a clean record in all places he worked in, in a career spanning several decades since his graduation from the University of Durham in 1962 with a doctorate degree.

He epitomizes honesty, encapsulates a high sense of morality and is characteristic of service to nation. That service to nation has impacted many a generation and will survive several more generations. Show me who is worthy of the National Integrity Award for 2009, other than the 84-year-old Professor Emeritus Eldred Durosimi Jones.

Citation Ms Umu Kultumie Tejan-Jalloh - Read out by Umaru Fofana, Member, Panel of Judges 

In a country where conditions of service have for decades been appalling; in a society where cost of living is very high; in a community where extended family systems are neck-breaking; from a people among whom values are fast eroding, is found the notion that hardly is anybodys name mentioned in the same sentence with the words Integrity and Honesty. Whether they work in the public or private sector.

The joint winner of the National Integrity Award 2009 has disproved that notion by carving a niche for themselves. Those who have worked in offices where and when our awardee has worked there, will tell you that our awardee is astute, honest and has a sense of integrity and public morality. In one workplace, our awardee was confronted with innumerable requests by fraudsters who offered to pay huge sums of money if only to get receipts for fuel they never bought there. On all occasions, and to the amazement of workmates, our awardee turned down the requests.

In a country where corruption is particularly rife in the procurement sector, with false receipts acquired at will, and for anything at all, such an awardee makes life uncomfortable for corrupt officials.

Our awardee has had it rough and tough with corrupt and indiscipline bosses encountered in the past, while ordinary staff have always sought succor in the astuteness such a person has exhibited. A former workmate referred to this awardee as the character in a country with people mostly known to be characterless. Something that has been repeated over and over again by those who know our awardee.

This Howard University graduate has proved that there is pride in poverty, and there is integrity, honesty and modesty in being rich. Our awardees work in several public and private sector offices speaks volumes of one persons determination to prove that it is better to be honest in poverty than to be dishonest and lacking in integrity just to get rich.

Our awardee is 59 years old and has worked in such offices as Shell, National Commission for Social Action, Sierra Leone State Lottery, National Oil Palm Company, SLPMB, the Ministry of Tourism, among others, all places where corruption is very tempting. Places our awardee has come out of unblemished.

This person is someone who took to private business because the forces of corruption were ganging up against them in their earlier public life.

Our awardee is someone whose meekness mesmerizes as her honesty ensnares. An ordinary person with an extraordinary character. The joint-winner of the 2009 National Integrity Award is a private businessperson called Madam Umu Kultumie Tejan-Jalloh.


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