September 28, 2022

By Paul Lamin in Kenema

The Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) Regional Office in Kenema city has given a stern warning to the District COVID-19 Emergency Response Centre (DICOVERC) to properly utilize funds meant for the fight against the pandemic in Kenema district.

According to the ACC Regional Manager, Keifala Koi, the staff members of DICOVERC are public officials and as such, the ACC law covers all of them irrespective of the time they may be spending in the office.

He said they have decided to engage the DICOVERC officials in earnest so as to forewarn them, thereby preventing a recurrence of what happened during the Ebola outbreak, when public funds were misappropriated and embezzled by officials of the then National Ebola Response Centre (NERC).

Keifala Koi informed that a special taskforce known as the  COVID-19 Response Transparency Initiative has been set up to look into the operations of the individuals working on the COVID-19 response.

The ACC regional boss said the DICOVERC office is procuring items including vehicles and much other equipment meant for the response and should therefore go through the right procurement process in all their dealings.

He cited the ACC Act of 2008 and 2019, which mandates all public officials to be accountable to the citizens of the state, adding that at the end of the COVID-19 fight, every worker would be expected to have an unblemished record. Mr. Koi therefore called on the entire DICOVERC staff to declare their assets as mandated by law.

The Regional Manager said similar engagement has been done in Kailahun Town as a way of forewarning the staff to prevent misappropriation and embezzlement of government and donor funds.