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NEWS : Local News  

In Sierra Leone, Tikonko Embraces Fight Against Corruption
By Wilfred Bangura
Oct 28, 2011, 17:12
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The Southern Regional Office of the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) has on Wednesday 26th October 2011 admonished all stakeholders including school going children in the Tikonko community to desist from corrupt practices and promote good governance.


Welcoming the team from the ACC and giving an overview of what he views about the work of the Anti-Corruption Commission, the Chiefdom Speaker Mr. George S. Murray pledged support to the course of fighting graft in his community and implored everyone in their midst to join the fight. Mr. Murray gave some scenarios of existence of corruption and corrupt practices and stressed the need for community stakeholders to be accountable in their service delivery activities for the general good of all.


Giving an overview of the meeting and also updating his audience on the current activities undertaken by the commission, the Public Education Officer South, Mr. Wilfred Bangura, said that the Anti-Corruption Commission was at Tikonko village because they alone cannot fight corruption in the country. He called on all present to partner with the Commission as that will demonstrate a mark of patriotism. Mr. Bangura explained the three-pronged approach used by the Commission in the fight against graft. According to him, this exercise presents the friendly face of the commission. The ACC also prides itself in fixing institutions where loop holes are bound to occur in service delivery. If both prevention and public education interventions fail, then the last resort will be confrontation which means individuals who perpetrate corrupt practices will be investigated, prosecuted and convicted in a competent court of law. Mr. Bangura further told participants about the Commissions strategic plan (2011-2013) recently presented by the Commissioner of the ACC, Mr. Joseph Fitzgerald Kamara to H.E the President, Dr Ernest Bai Koroma. He also briefed participants of the commissions recent indictments and pointed out clearly that the Commission is not just there to arrest and convict corrupt individuals but also to sensitise the public on the ills of corruption. Participants were then informed about the various ways of making reports to the ACC and assured them of the commissions fullest protection of informers.


Dilating on the causes and effects of corruption particularly in rural communities, the Regional manager south, Mr. Mohamed Dumbuya, underscored that corruption is prevalent in rural communities because of greed and selfishness. He opined that poverty is one of the root causes of   corruption. Manager Dumbuya made mention of the negative effects of corruption which he said undermines the development of Sierra Leone, affects human rights, hurts the poor,  brings about war and diseases to name but a few. He encouraged the people of Tikonko to be very mindful of development initiatives carried out in their chiefdom and informed participants that rural development is not an exclusive favour from Non Governmental Organisations (NGOs) or kind gesture delivered to beneficiaries in communities but a complementary role of government through funds received on their behalf by development partners locally and internationally.


Speaking on the theme Community Mobilization in the Fight against Corruption, the ACC Bo District Coordinator, Mr. Anthony B. Samu said Tikonko Chiefdom should by all means humanly possible join the ACC in the fight against graft. Mr. Samu reiterated the fact that, Local and International NGOs source funding in the name of communities for their development projects; so it should be the business of communities to watch closely how these projects are implemented by these NGOs.He encouraged participants to be proactive in asking salient questions regarding the implementation of programmes and should be involved in the monitoring and evaluation process to enhance quality standards. He told participants that the doors of the commission are always open for such complaints and that there are no sacred cows in the fight against corruption.


Highlighting the major offences in the Anti- Corruption Act 2008, Mr. Thomas T. Rogers of the Intelligence, Investigation and Prosecution Department (IIP), explained in precise terms the core offences in the Act that touch individuals in public life on daily basis. Mr. Rogers took a clinical look at these offences and admonished all participants to be mindful of the corresponding penalties associated with them. A minimum of Thirty million Leones or three years imprisonment or both fines and imprisonment will be levied in court against corruption offenders for each of those counts. He therefore implored Tikonko people to be free from corruption and to report acts of corruption to the ACC.


Questions and answers, distribution of IEC materials and a vote of thanks given by Mary Mattia climaxed the meeting.

© Copyright by Awareness Times Newspaper in Freetown, Sierra Leone.

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