September 28, 2022

Stakeholders and inhabitants of Masundu Kongorteh village in Kono district have benefited from an Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) sensitization campaign.
The first-time event in the diamond-mining community was organized last Wednesday by the Sub-Regional Office in Kono district. The campaign was part of the ACC mandate to raise awareness on the “debilitating effects” of corruption on national development backed up with the need to eradicate it.
Aiah Sourie is the ACC Public Education Officer in Kono district. He said corruption had far-reaching consequences on every sector of society noting that quality public service delivery is seriously challenged by the conduct of public officials. Sourie condemned those public officials who consider self at the expense of those who should benefit from their services. “Corruption fosters underground transactions, deprives government of needed funds, widens the gap between the poor and the rich and stifles the rich potentials of the youth,” he pointed out. These negative sides of corruption, he said, could touch off prolonged conflict in a country which, he also said, could cause “very serious consequences.”
“Our beloved country will continue to lag behind other countries in terms of development, if we allow corruption to persist,” the ACC Spokesman stressed. Sourie urged Kono residents to take responsibility of purge our country of all forms of corruption for the public good.
The ACC Sub Regional Manager in Kono, Hawanatu Kamara pointed out the gains made in the fight against corruption with emphasis on effective and efficient service delivery especially in key Ministries, Departments, and Agencies. “If we fight corruption as an enemy to our national development, we are bound to win the fight,” Kamara assured. She urged the local community to resist, reject and report corruption to the appropriate authorities. “ You can make a genuine report by calling 515 on Africell and Orange lines. The commission offers no one any treat once found culpable of corruption, ” she warned.
She therefore encouraged the residents and community stakeholders to show a positive mindset by putting the country’s above all else. The Kono ACC Manager expressed hope that schools, hospitals, and other institutions would render quality services to the public when corruption is eradicated.
The eradication of corruption, she went on, would enable government to have the required resources to meet the needs of the masses.
Alpha Koroma is the Intelligence Officer of Sub-Regional Office, he told the audience that the ACC had assumed more powers under the Anti- Corruption Amendment Act of 2019. “ A one-count charge on corruption attracts a minimum fine of Le50M and/or a minimum prison term of five years,” Koroma pointed out. He thus implored the locals to abstain from corruption and to avoid what he described “horrendous experience.”
The intelligence officer also drew the attention of the audience to the fact that the Intelligence and Investigations Department is mainly charged with gleaning facts or evidence relating to allegations of corruption strictly by procedure. In the process, he said, the department became less friendly than the Public Education and Outreach Department.
He, however, stressed that the ACC is by no means an enemy to anyone or any group of people; and therefore, should not be considered as a witch-hunter.
Paramount Chief of Gbense Chiefdom, Kai Songa referred to ACC interaction as “educative,” noting that the chiefdom had enjoyed any contact with the Commission. “The ACC engagement is a blessing,” PC Songa said. He condemned corruption as he referred to is as “a real enemy of progress.”
“I must confess that, I did not understand, before this time, that corruption can have devastating effects on us. What is more, I never really knew how much seriousness the ACC and the Government attach to fighting corruption. I think I know better now and so do my people,” he said.
PC further assured his people would do “their best” to fight corruption in the chiefdom.
The session was moderated by the Public Education Officer Edward Nathaniel Blake, who reechoed the ills of corruption citing instances within the host community, and the benefits that will accrue if the menace is defeated in both public and private institutions in Sierra Leone.