By Abu Bakarr Kargbo
The Freetown Terminal Limited (FTL), a subsidiary of Bollore Group, has observed this year’s Anti-Corruption Day on Friday 9th December 2022 at its Queen Elizabeth Port, Cline Town in Freetown.
The 2022 International Anti-Corruption Day (IACD) seeks to highlight the crucial link between anti-corruption and peace, security, and development.
At its core is the notion that tackling this crime is the right and responsibility of everyone, and that only through cooperation and the involvement of each and every person and institution can we overcome the negative impact of this crime.
Since 2003, the Bollore Group has been actively participating in the United Nations Global Compact, and it has committed itself to supporting its core values in the areas of human rights, labour standards, environmental practices, and the fight against corruption and integrating all its principles in the strategy, culture and day to day operations of the company.
The local theme for this year’s celebration is “Deepening inclusivity in the fight against corruption”.
FTL’s Compliance Officer, Mrs. Olusola Sesay said the Bollore Group condemns all forms of corruption and influence peddling.
“We do not offer anything of value directly or indirectly to anyone with the aim of illegitimately influencing decision making.Paying a public official for carrying our routine administrative formalities constitutes an act of corruption,” she said and added that offering or accepting gifts remain a reasonable and selfless gesture. She commended all staff members of FTL for their vigilance and dedication to the fight against corruption. “I call on all staff members to renew our focus on governance as a driver of change and sustainable development,” Mrs. Sesay said.
Bollore Group’s Country Manager, Bertrand Kergeulen said everybody must come on board the fight against corruption because it affects every part of society. He revealed that the estimated global cost of corruption stands at about $2.7 trillion. “The fight against corruption must be done every day, for hour or minutes,” he advised his team.
Sylvanus Blake, Assistant Public Relations Officer of the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC), in his keynote address extended his commission’s appreciation to FTL for taking the lead amongst private sector companies in fighting against corruption, noting that this is what many other service providers cannot do. Corruption, he said is one of the root causes of conflict, undermines the rule of law, worsens poverty, and creates insecurity.
“Corruption is making businesses not possible and it is only a good private entity and a good governance system that can stop it,” he said and further stated that the valid role played by FTL in ending corruption is a step in the right direction. “Bollore Group is a worthy leader in the fight against corruption,” Mr. Blake remarked and continued by stating that corruption is a contagious pandemic that can affect all.
“Corruption is a vicious circle. It makes you spend more than what you earn,” he said and called on FTL workers to give corruption a social distance that will enable them to negotiate well to put an end to it. “Corruption affects all of us but it has a devastating challenge on the physically challenged persons. I am calling on the informal sector to take the lead in ending corruption,” Blake remarked and revealed that corruption is Sierra Leone’s number one enemy for which all are responsible for it spread. “Let us stop looking at corruption from the size and quantum involved. Corruption is dishonest, regardless of where it happens, how it happened, and why it happened.
Some of the basic tools needed to manage corruption, he said include, education, sensitization, the environment, regulations, reporting, and punishment.