The Anti Corruption Commission in its community mobilization and awareness raising campaigns on Saturday 19th May 2012 sensitized stakeholders and residents of the Sumaila Town Community at the community field grounds in Freetown. The meeting which brought together local and religious leaders; women and youth groups; and many community people was chaired by Mr. Amadu Fofanah, a community member, who in his opening remarks thanked the ACC for considering their community for such a sensitization.
Mr. Fofanah admonished participants to consider this as an opportunity, as it will empower them with the appropriate knowledge to foster development in their community and advised them to put aside politics when it came to issues of community development. He then welcomed the team of ACC officials as he recognized the Community Chief, Pa. Alimamy Abu Sesay and the female chief, Ya Alimamy Bangura.
Giving the background to the formation of the Commission and the reasons for such sensitization, Public Education Officer, Mr. David Kanekey Conteh said the ACC is a statutory body which was born out of the TRC’s recommendations to target issues of corruption and bad governance, which were presented as the two major causes of the civil conflict experienced by this country 15 years ago. Mr. Conteh further said the Commission was set up to lead the fight against graft, but people have soon realized that the Commission alone cannot wipe out corruption from this country without the resolved commitment of the people of Sierra Leone, adding that if the people are to develop the confidence to work with the Commission, the ACC should break the silence and demystify the Commission by going into those communities, educating them on the activities of the Commission and their role in the fight against corruption. Mr. Conteh said the booties of corruption are glaringly clear in our communities and also the gains from fighting corruption are very evident, as huge sums of money are recovered every day and sent back to the consolidated fund by the ACC. Speaking on the corrupt practices, Assistant NACS Officer, Ms. Margaret Jones emphasized that community resources and funds placed in the hands of few decision makers are not meant for the few in leadership, but for the community people to whom they are to be accountable.
Ms. Jones further said any fund that comes from either the government or a donor; for the community automatically becomes a public fund and if not used judiciously for the intended purpose becomes misappropriation of government or donor funds. She also spoke on other offences and that the fine for each of the offences is not less than thirty (30) million Leones or 3 years imprisonment or both, as in the 2008 Anti Corruption Act. She advised them to stop bribing public officials for services provided by the government and called on them to report any corrupt practice within their community.
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Newspaper in Freetown, Sierra Leone.