By: Mohammed Ali Kamara
The Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) on Monday 9th June 2014 enlightened junior officers of the Republic of Sierra Leone Armed Forces (RSLAF) about fight against corruption at the Horton Academy, IMATT.
The Horton Academy administers courses for security personnel in Sierra Leone, Liberia, Senegal and few other countries in the sub-region. The Junior Staff Course which commenced on April 7 2014, for military personnel, police officers, prison officers and staff from the Office of National Security (ONS), is currently underway at the Academy and will end on July 25 2014.
The course package integrates topics that require specialist presentations. One of such topics is the ‘Fight against corruption in Sierra Leone’, delivered by Deputy Director of Systems and Processes Review Department, Barbar Rashid Turay.
Mr. Turay explained the various features of corruption and took participants through the causes of corruption in Sierra Leone. “Although corruption is a universal phenomenon, its causes may vary from country to country,” he said.
He said endemic corruption in Sierra Leone cannot be divorced from pre-colonial history as well as the era of military rule in Sierra Leone and civilian political dispensations. The economic and social causes are in most part a chunk of the network of the previous causes mentioned, he opined.
Corruption all over the world has negative effects, the Deputy Director said, and added the scourge has the propensity to undermine national development.
Whilst talking about the fight against corruption in a broader perspective, the Deputy Director also threw light on causes of corruption, with particular reference to defence. He took participants through the twenty seven corrupt offences in the Anti-Corruption Act of 2008.
He also highlighted the role of defence personnel in the fight against corruption and state security, while reminding them that the state should be first and that individual action should be in consonant with state interest.
He encouraged students of the Academy to be always patriotic and by extension extend their patriotism to reporting corruption to the ACC. He underscored that the fight against corruption is winnable, although to achieve the feat requires that jettison bad behaviours, negative opinions, attitudes and negative thoughts.
Asked by a Liberian military officer as to whether corruption can be eradicated in its entirety, Turay said although it is a colossal task to completely eradicate corruption, yet he was convinced the fight against corruption is a winnable one.
By way of conclusion, the Deputy Director of Systems and Processes Review at the ACC encouraged the students to be steadfast and positive in the fight against corruption.