The Anti-Corruption Commission North-West Regional office has on Monday 28th October, 2019, engaged police personnel of the Port Loko Division on key corruption issues and related offences in the Anti-Corruption Act.
The customized meeting with the Sierra Leone Police (SLP) is one of the many public education activities undertaken by the Commission to educate the public on the evils of corruption and the benefit of its eradication as well as building public support in combating corruption.
Delivering his keynote address, the Regional Manager Mr. Al-Hassan Sesay spoke on ethics in the work place for effective service delivery. He said that the Commission considers the SLP as a key partner in the fight against corruption. He noted that the SLP being a service provider, it is important that collaboration between the two institutions is enhanced in order to ensure the needed collaboration in curbing corruption and corrupt practices in the Police. He made specific reference to the perception survey that has always placed the SLP as the most corrupt institution pointing out that these surveys are reports received from the general public as results of the direct interface with the Police.
He cited the traffic unit as one of the division of the Police that has placed the image of the force under serious public scrutiny and disrepute and urged them to change this perception and bring in respectability in the SLP. "You must always be guided by ethical and moral principles with a focus on upholding professionalism in the conduct and discharge of your duties," he stressed. The Regional Manager urged officers to take necessary steps against outside and monetary influence and system weaknesses by resisting, rejecting and reporting corruption.
Mr. Sesay also underscored the significance of setting up integrity Management Committee as required by the National Anti-Corruption Strategy (NACS) 2019-2023 to institutionalize anti-corruption policies and measures. He noted that the NACS strategy is the result of series of deliberations and consultations conducted with the public and private sectors, the business and media communities, NGOs, anti-corruption experts and politicians.
As chairman of the occasion, the Local Unit Commander (LUC) of the Port Loko Police Division Mr Madison M. Sesay said the meeting will reinforce the partnership and collaboration between the two institutions and bring up critical issues that are germane to the conduct and operations of the SLP in the fight against corruption. He stated that corruption has been endemic in our society and has adversely affected service delivery and the development of the state adding, that in some countries the punishment for corruption and pilfering from the national purse for personal gain is death.
The Senior Investigations Officer Madam Lucy Vandy who gave an overview of the offences in the ACC Act 2008 and key corruption issues in the traffic unit. She explained some of the offences including corrupt acquisition of wealth, soliciting and accepting an advantage, abuse of office among others and other corrupt practices in the traffic sector. "Corruption is blatant in the traffic sector and it is the department that is largely responsible for dragging the name of the SLP to the mud," she emphasized. She encouraged them to set and maintain high standards of integrity and professionalism that will immensely help in the fight against corruption.
Explaining the purpose of the meeting, the Senior Public Education Officer, Mr. Sahid Mohamed Kamara said the essence of the meeting was to educate the police on what constitute corruption in their operations and solicit their support in the fight against corruption.
Giving a brief statement on how on to make report and protection of informants, the Public Education Officer Mr. Mohamed Thullah highlighted several methods of reporting to the commission and pinpointed the importance of the protection and identity of informants or witness of the ACC. He assured them of the commission's commitment to protecting the confidentiality of informants at all times.
The symbolic handing over of Information, Education and Communication materials climaxed the meeting.