Strict Warning against Misuse of School Buses

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Regional Manager ACC South briefing Bo City Council officers on use of school buses

In a bid to ensure accountability in the use and management of public resources, a team of three from the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC), South has engaged the Chief Administrator of the Bo City Council (BCC) on the use and management of the five school buses assigned to Bo City by government for use by pupils.

The engagement which took place at the Bo City Council involved the Chief Administrator, Edward Alpha, the School Bus Coordinator, Haja Halima Lukay and the Finance Officer, Abubakarr Daboh.

The Chief Administrator of BCC said, the Council received a letter from the ACC requesting for an engagement to examine documents relating to the use and management of the school buses. Mr. Alpha welcomed the ACC intervention, noting that it would strengthen accountability measures in the running of the school buses. He dilated on the status of the school buses and the challenges faced in sustaining their operations in respect of payment of drivers and other terms and conditions of service.

The Regional Manager, ACC Southern Regional Office, Musa Bala Jawara, said the move by the ACC team was necessitated by intelligence received from the public that bus drivers were misusing fuel and not properly accounting for revenue generated on a daily basis; indicating that such will undermine the Free Quality Education programme of the Government, if left unchecked.

Mr. .Jawara said that pursuant to Section 7(g) of the Anti-Corruption Act, 2008, it was the responsibility of the Commission to ensure that public resources are used in an accountable and transparent manner to enhance effective service delivery. He concluded that the inquiry into the use and management of school buses was not an investigation but a preventive process to enhance and strengthen accountability in the use and management of public resources. He however noted that if revelations from the documents submitted proved any foul play, the ACC Head Office will be informed for further action.

Speaking on the general operations of the buses, the Bus Coordinator said that since they received the buses from the central government on 10th September 2019, each of the 46 – capacity buses was assigned one monitor. Haja Lukay said that the buses generated between one million five hundred thousand Leones to two million Leones daily; but that such amount, when collected at the end of the month, was used to buy fuel and initially pay nine drivers who were recruited by the central government. She added that despite few challenges in the running of the buses, the Bo City Council hopes to make savings in 2020 with a possibility of buying an additional bus.

Senior Investigation Officer Belinda Hebron said transparency and accountability are key elements in the fight against corruption. The team requested for documents in respect of fuel and revenue of the buses for examination to evaluate and review best practices that will ensure effective service delivery.