In its drive to continue enlisting public support for the Pay No Bribe (PNB) campaign, the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) has held community sensitization meetings in Bandajuma, Yawei Chiefdom and Momboma, Kpeje Bongere Chiefdom in the Kailahun District on the 13th and 14th June 2018. The meetings attracted stakeholders across the Chiefdoms including the Paramount Chiefs, senior traditional leaders, health workers, heads of schools, civil society, the Police, bike riders, drivers, religious leaders etc.
The meeting was to provide stakeholders in these communities an opportunity to interphase with the ACC and its activities, educate them on the rational, operations and gains made by the PNB since its inception. Highlighting the achievements of the PNB, Public Education Officer of the ACC Mohamed S Blake stated that following thousands of complaints from the public through especially the 515 free toll line and the PNB mobile application, the ACC on monthly basis engage the heads of the piloted MDAs which include Education, the Police, Health, Water and Energy; to ensure sustainable actions are taken to address the concerns from the public.
Blake said that over the almost two years of PNB implementation, key among the actions taken by the sectors are; removal of illegal checkpoints, strengthening of internal control and discipline in the SLP, removal of traffic police officers from the streets of Kenema, endorsement of the PNB campaign by the top management of the MDAs, banning of Saturday classes, monitoring of class teachers and distribution of report cards, regulated school fees and charges to avoid extortions, monitoring of health facilities by ACC and Civil Society etc.
He encouraged the audience to use the 515 free toll line and those who can use smart phones to download the PNB mobile application at www.pnb.gov.sl to make easy, free and confidential reports on bribery issues that may confront them or to also acknowledge public officers who may perform their duties without demanding bribe.
Sam P Gogra ACC Public Education Officer talked on the usual way of making complaints on general corruption issues that the PNB cannot cover and gave out the regular ACC hot lines; Orang 161 and Africell 077-985-985 or 077-986-986 to the audience. He asked the public to support the fight against corruption which he said is the biggest enemy and challenge to Sierra Leone's development. Emmanuel Aruna of Network Movement for Justice and Development, the civil Society partner implementing PNB community awareness campaign in the Eastern Region also conducted training for those who can use smart phones on how to make complaints via the PNB mobile application.
The Paramount chiefs of Yawei and Kpeje-Bongere Chiefdoms, PC Francis A K Gbondo III and PC Henry H Baion pledged their support to the PNB campaign and the general efforts to fight corruption. They encouraged their people to be fearless in making complaints as no one can identify them let alone harass them. They asked their people not to make complaints out of malice.
Key among the concerns from the people are; approved teachers who abandon their duties in the communities to reside in big towns but still collect salaries on the vouchers of those community schools, secondary schools in the chiefdoms are not enough and called on the Ministry of Education to approve more schools, cost of driving licences huge for many bike riders, etc.
Similar engagements are expected across the Eastern Region as the ACC continue to mobilise more public support.