BY ALIMAMY LAHAI KAMARA
“We are not a bunch of lazy and indigent people. We do not eat three times a day because we cannot afford the provision. We sleep rough in makeshift houses. We drink unclean water from unprotected source. We hope instead of walking on paved roads. We are not poor because we choose to be poor. Friends, we are impoverished today because some of our compatriots have created the social and economic conditions that necessitate poverty,” ACC Southern Region Manager told a meeting in Mattru Jong, south of Sierra Leone.
Musa Jawara said in eight years state resources lost to corruption may have reached an explosive proportion, and that any attempt to present a real picture of the plunder in monetary terms may be implausible.
Jawara was addressing staff of both Bonthe District Council and the devolved sectors at the Council hall on the effects of corruption on society, referencing perpetrators and the wealth they stole.
In the last fourteen months, the Anti-Corruption Commission has returned to the state stolen wealth amounting to a whopping sum of sixteen Billion Leones.
In one account, former Director-General of National Revenue Authority, Haja Kallah Kamara returned a stolen wealth to the tune of one billion Leones, just a chunk of the two billion Leones she consented to pay.
Her Finance Director, Abdulai Conteh paid upfront a slice of eight hundred million Leones out of the massive amount of three billion Leones.
In another account, the Managing Director of T&S Company, Thomas Koroma, agreed to pay one hundred and twenty-seven thousand, five hundred and forty-seven United States Dollars, and seventy-five cents.
Deputy Chairman of Bonthe District Council appeared disturbed, and the meeting seemed shaky. “This is unbelievable,” Willie Parker said. “How can one man pay instantly one billion Leones, suggesting he has in excess the wealth he got through fraud”, he noted.
Representatives from the Ministry of Basic and Senior School Education (MBSSE) were eager to know whether there were revelations of criminals in their sector on the list of the ACC.
They were going to bury themselves into the ground, it seemed. Sectors were nervous, ashamed of the willful and wicked choice to ransack the country of its wealth by their former heads.
Corruption does not only involve monetary transactions. ACC Senior Publication Officer, Sulaiman Sowa, said it could be by conduct where advantages are conferred unlawfully, where willful omissions are made, where delays or bottlenecks are unnecessarily created, and where lawful decisions are not taken.
People can abuse their office without monies exchanging hands.
In February this year, former acting Head of Law Department, Fourah Bay College, Emmanuel Ekundayo Constant Shears-Moses was convicted on two counts of Abuse of Office.
He improperly awarded a passing grade for a Dissertation Module to a female student who in fact did not submit dissertation for grading.
Mr. Sowa admonished the meeting to uphold tenets of integrity and transparency in the work-place.
The Commission will continue with its district tour to Moyamba to bolster its presence and encourage the public to support the fight for their livelihood.
ACC Hour Radio programmes in Mattru Jong on Radio Jangay hosted the Chief Administrator, Deputy Director of MBSSE and the District Sister One to reinforce the message for public support to hold accountable public officials.
BY ALIMAMY LAHAI KAMARA