February 11, 2020
The Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC), in collaboration with the Centre for Accountability and Rule of Law (CARL), on Saturday 8th February 2020, held an outreach meeting at the Moyiba Community to update residents on ACC operations and raise awareness about corruption issues in the community.
The event took place at the Moyiba Community School compound, Kissy, Freetown.
Head of Outreach Unit at the ACC, Abubakarr Turay, started off by saying that staff of the Commission normally visit a community or institution for one of the following three reasons: to educate the public about the work of the Commission, to prevent corruption through systems and processes reviews or to enforce the law by way of gathering intelligence and investigation. Mr. Turay described the first two of the reasons as the ‘carrot approach’ in the fight against corruption, while the third is the ‘stick approach’. He added that the Commission, under the leadership of Francis Ben Kaifala Esq., puts the people at the centre of the operations of the ACC. “The Commission wants Sierra Leoneans to take ownership of the fight against corruption, and that is why we go out to all communities across the country to inform citizens about the work we do,” Mr Turay noted. He said Moyiba is one of the most deprived communities in the Western Area, which makes it important for the people to know how corruption has played a part in this state of affairs.
Giving updates on the work of the Commission, Mr. Turay said since the current ACC Commissioner, Francis Ben Kaifala Esq., took up office; the Commission has attained unprecedented achievements. He highlighted the over Twenty Billion Leones recovered from corrupt officials in less than two years. He also cited examples of some of the high profile cases the Commission has investigated and charged to court and those for which convictions have been secured.
On the international scores and surveys, Mr. Turay highlighted the tremendous progress made by Sierra Leone in the 2019 Global Corruption Perception Index of Transparency International by jumping ten places up, from 129 in 2018 to 119 in 2019. He also spoke about the country’s massive gains in the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) scorecard in the area of ‘Control of Corruption’, moving from 49% in 2017 to 71% and 79% in 2018 and 2019 respectively.
He briefly made mention of the Anti-Corruption Amendment Act 2019 which was signed by President Julius Maada Bio in a bid to strengthen the anti-corruption campaign.
Manager, National Anti-Corruption Strategy (NACS) Secretariat of the ACC, Wilfred Bangura, gave updates on the 2019- 2023 NACS, which he described as the country’s roadmap in the fight against corruption. He said the strategy is a testament of the peoples’ commitment to support the fight against corruption. He said that the NACS highlights the measures and activities government Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) should implement in order to build and strengthen these institutions. He informed the audience that the mandate of MDAs in respect of the 2019-2023 NACS is to implement the strategy, which is a prevention tool, aimed at building and strengthening public sector institutions.
Speaking on the role of the community in the fight against corruption, Programme Manager, CARL, Jeremy Simbo, said citizens should stand up against corrupt practices if they want to see development in their respective communities. He highlighted some of the corrupt practices that normally occur in the community especially in schools, health centres and police stations. He maintained that most of the public officials who commit acts of corruption live in the community and it is the responsibility of the people to stand up against such people irrespective of their affiliation. He also encouraged the community to identify corruption-related issues and report them to the Commission using the Commission’s toll free lines of 515 (Africel, Orange and Sierratel) or 077-985985.
While welcoming the ACC team earlier, one of the local Chiefs in the Moyiba community, Chief Yaraba Bangura, described the outreach meeting as timely, as residents of the community did not have enough knowledge of the operations of the ACC.