July 9, 2021
The North-West Regional Office of the Anti-Corruption Commission has on the 30th June 2021, educated and sensitized staff and pupils of Charity Vocational and High School in Madina Town, Tonko Limba Chiefdom in Kambia District. The engagement dubbed as Meet the School Campaign was part of the Commission’s public education drive undertaken to sensitize the pupils and staff on corruption and to solicit their support in combatting corruption issues in schools.
Addressing pupils and staff on the importance of education, the Public Education Officer Mohamed Thullah said education gives access to better opportunities in life and has a strategic importance to nation building. He went on to state that because education occupies a strategic role in building the country’s leadership, the sector is particularly expected to be exemplary and have a system evident of transparency, fairness and accountability. He pointed out that the prevalence of corruption in education threatens access, equity, quality and denies citizens the opportunity to actualize their fullest potentials. Sadly enough as he recounted the days of glory, he expressed dismay over the drop in standard of education as a result of the sustained presence of corruption in the sector. “The ACC has demonstrated relentless commitment to reversing acts of corruption as well as restoring sanity and integrity in the school system,” he noted.
The Public Education Officer highlighted various corrupt practices that have plagued the sector including but not limited to illegal admission, falsification of report cards, payment for report cards, payment for assignment or test, absenteeism, sex for grades, payment for extra classes, bribes paid by parents to teachers and public officials to get grades and pass exams, diversion of school fees subsidies and other supplies, double dipping etc. He made a stern warning to school administrators and teachers to desist forthwith from these practices or face the full force of the ACC laws. Mr. Thullah stated that examinations malpractice and the use of school fees subsidies are issues of great concern to the ACC and emphasized that the former is now a punishable offence in the 2019 amendment Act of the ACC to a fine of fifty million Leones or five years jail term.
In a brief meeting with staff of the school, Regional Manager Al-Hassan Sesay informed them that as public officers they are covered by the ACC laws and their conduct must be in line with guidelines and regulations of the ministry. He warned them in strong terms against illegal charges, misappropriation of school fees subsidies, double dipping, sex for grades, falsification of report cards and abandonment of post among other things. He also accentuated key provisions made in the 2019 Amendment Act like Asset Declaration, increase in fines and jail terms, trial in absentia and related corruption offences like offering, soliciting and accepting an advantage, abuse of office and position.