The North-West Regional Office of the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) on Friday 10th January 2020 held a sensitization meeting at Melekuray Town Court Barray, Makama Chiefdom in Port Loko District.
The community meeting was part of ACC's public education drive aimed at educating and raising awareness in rural communities on corruption and its effects as well as soliciting public support.
Welcoming the team form ACC, the Section Chief Pa Alimamy Conteh expressed delight to have ACC officials in his chiefdom and for taking anti-corruption messages to chiefdom level. He applauded the fight against corruption and prayed that the Commission succeeds in its avowed aim of making Sierra Leone a corrupt free nation. Councillor Chernor Conteh of Ward 251 also expressed similar sentiments of the community's support to the ACC.
Explaining the purpose of the meeting, the Senior Public Education Officer Sahid Mohamed Kamara said the community will be apprised on the general work of the commission, the effects of corruption and the need for collaboration in winning the fight against corruption. He stated that corruption has permeated every aspects of society which has made public support as pivotal in addressing it.
In his address to local authorities and residents of Melekuray Village, the Regional Manager Al-Hassan Sesay said the ACC conducts such meetings to educate the people on corruption and for it to serve as an eye opener to the devastating effects of corruption in rural communities and the country. He stated that the prevalence of corruption in government and donor driven projects has adversely affected the growth and development of rural communities across the country.
He noted that these projects are for the benefit of the people and encouraged them to be part of the fight, enhance local ownership and take the necessary actions to reject and report incidences of corruption. "Corruption affects you even if you're not working for government. Support the Commission and be a part in the development of your community," he said.
He highlighted several corrupt practices across various sectors and pointed out that with the full component of the ACC in the region it will no longer be business as usual. He issued a stern warning to local authorities and residents to desist from involving in corruption adding that involvement in corruption is a disservice to the nation. He encouraged public officers present to always work in line with the law and what is prescribed by the different Ministries, Departments and Agencies policies and regulations. "It is very important and safer that public officers' activities are always within the confines of the law," he emphasized.
The Public Education Officer Mohamed Thullah who also spoke on the role of the community in the fight against corruption and how to make report said the commission was of the firm belief that the fight against corruption should be participatory and sees the public support as an integral part in combating corruption. He urged them to take necessary steps in resisting, rejecting and reporting corruption. PEO Thullah highlighted several methods of reporting to the Commission including the toll free lines and also emphasized the significance of protecting the identity and security of informants and witnesses of the ACC. "Call 077985985, 077986986 or 515 Toll free lines to report to the ACC," he concluded.
Questions, comments and concerns formed part of the engagement. Handing over of information, education and communication materials climaxed the occasion.