Makeni: In its quest to ensuring that all Government Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) are rid of corrupt practices, the Northern Regional Office of the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) has on Wednesday 1st August, 2012 engaged staff of the Ministry of Mines and Mineral Resources in Makeni.
Welcoming ACC staff during the engagement at the Ministry’s Regional Headquarters in Makeni, Mines Engineer, Cedric Dennis Palmer expressed great delight for ACC’s sensitization drive in the district. He maintained that such educational drive will go a long way to minimize the incidences of corruption in the country. The Mines Engineer admitted that it was a good opportunity for them in the Ministry to understand the operations of ACC and also for the sharing of ideas.
Explaining the purpose of the engagement, Public Education Officer Al-Hassan Sesay stressed that the ACC was at the ministry to educate its staff on the hindrances of corruption to the development of the country and enlist their support in the fight against it. Mr. Sesay said the ACC is not a witch-hunt institution but working towards the realization of a corrupt free Sierra Leone, which will ensure that the socio-economic needs of citizens are met. He therefore entreated staff of the ministry to join the Commission in the fight against corruption. The Public Education Officer gave an overview of the Commission, highlighting the different approaches used to fight against the scourge.
The Regional Manager ACC North, Patrick Sandi in his presentation told staff that the Ministry of Mines and Mineral Resources was very central to the anti-corruption fight in the country because of its revenue generation activities. He noted that for Sierra Leone to benefit from her mineral resources, the practices and transactions in the ministry has to be transparent. Manager Sandi lamented over the existence of illegal mining activities in the region, which will hinder the development of the country. He furthered that Mines Wardens and Monitors are sometimes being compromised, leaving the Government to lose huge resources. Mr. Sandi warned that the activities of staff of the ministry must be free of corruption and encouraged them to resist, reject and report corrupt practices. Manager Sandi explained key corrupt offences in the AC Act 2008 which are pertinent to the institution’s operations such as; protection of public revenue and property, offering, soliciting and accepting advantage, misappropriation of public/donor funds, peddling influence, conflict of interest, impeding investment and receiving gift for corrupt purpose.
He told his audience that the penalty for each offence was a fine of not less than thirty million Leones (Le 30,000,000) or a prison term of not less than three (3) years or to both fine and prison term.
Making their input, staff of the ministry expressed dissatisfaction over poor conditions of service and going without salaries for eight months now. They also lamented over non availability of vehicle and lack of other essential logistics that would enhance their work.
Giving the vote of thanks on behalf of staff, Mohamed S. Kamara, Area Superintendent expressed delight over the sensitization as they learnt a lot, which will help them in their various tasks. He entreated the ACC to sustain such educational approach in the fight against the menace.
FIGHTING CORRUPTION: A NATIONAL FIGHT.