Sierra Leone: ACC Warns Heads of Health Centres in Karene Against Extortion

File photo.

The North- West Regional Manager of the Anti-corruption Commission (ACC) Mr. Al- Hassan Sesay has warned In-Charges of Community Health Centres across Karene District to desist from extortion, bribery and other corrupt practices while performing their duties or face the full force of the anti-corruption laws.

He issued this warning during an In-Charges meeting of the fifty-Six (56) Peripheral Health Units (PHUs) in Karene District at the Kamakwie Town Hall on the 29th July 2020. Addressing the heads of the PHUs and other health workers, Manager Sesay expressed dismay over the reported incidences of extortion from the free health care beneficiaries at community level in the health service delivery adding, that health workers play a crucial role to the health and survival of the human resource of the state. He noted that as In-Charges working in PHUs they are considered public officers and are covered by the Anti-Corruption laws. The ACC Regional Manager lamented that the Commission is very much concerned about corrupt practices prevalent in PHUs such as thievery of medical supplies, bribery, extortion and absenteeism. As the ACC is now closer to your door steeps he said, it will no longer be business as usual and defaulters or wrongdoers will not be friends of the ACC. "Desist from wrong or corrupt practice or you stand to face the wrath of the ACC," he warned

He informed them that in the midst of performing their duties, they must be mindful of the ACC's elite scorpion squad that will sting at any given time when the need arises citing the Bo incident that involved a health practitioner allegedly collecting monies from nurses for purposes of pin codes. Manager Sesay also laid bare interpretation of key related offences including offering, soliciting and accepting advantage, misappropriation of public and donor funds, abuse of office and position among others. He encouraged them to be professional and conduct themselves with high sense of integrity and maintaining ethical standards in discharging their functions. The 56 In-Charges in the PHUs were also briefed on the various reporting mechanism to the ACC as well as supporting the fight against graft and bribery.

In his welcome remarks, the District Medical Officer Dr. Chernor S. Jalloh thanked the team for engaging and educating them on various issues of corruption in the sector which will also guide them in carrying out their duties in their different PHUs across the district.

Questions, comments and concerns from the health workers formed part of the discussions followed by the presentation of IEC materials.

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