The Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) Northern Region Office on 25th May 2017 held outreach meeting with the people of Punthun at their Community Centre, Makari Gbanti Chiefdom, Bombali District; to empower them with anti-corruption messages, and solicit their support in the Pay No Bribe (PNB) campaign.
Speaking at the engagement, ACC Regional Manager North, Abu Bakarr Kamara said, as people living in remote community they must be mindful of heartless NGOs and public sector workers that would want to use them to enrich themselves. Manager noted that the Commission's work is geared towards improving the lives of every Sierra Leonean by ensuring that all forms of corruption are eliminated.
Manager Kamara informed his audience of the Pay No Bribe (PNB) campaign noting that it is an innovative anonymous reporting system that provides a platform for the public to report incidents of bribery that they encounter in any of the five piloted sectors namely: health, education, energy, water and the Sierra Leone Police. He went on to explain how to report, and read out the PNB 515 free line to call on all networks and make report. The Manager implored them to be anti-corruption crusaders and ensure that their environment is corrupt free.
In his submission, ACC Public Education Officer Abdulai Saccoh described the meeting as an open and frank interactive forum intended to shed light on key corrupt practices that the people might be suffering from, and the community's role in combating the threat.
Saccoh maintained that most rural communities remain underdeveloped due to persistent corruption. The Public Educator highlighted some of the prevalent corrupt practices in the education, health and security sectors that reinforce poverty in the lives of the rural people such as: misuse of school fees subsidy, extorting money to collect report cards, BECE,WASSCE and NPSE results, inflation of school fees, abuse of the free health care programme, misuse of the free malaria test and drugs, bribes paid before bail is granted, disrespect for the rule of law, refusal to pay local tax, misuse of tax revenue and poor implementation of projects. The Public Education Officer informed his audience that the aforementioned acts constitute offences in the 2008 Anti-Corruption Act and are punishable by law.
Earlier, in his welcome statement, Acting Section Chief, Punthun, Lamin Fornah said, they are pleased to have ACC in their community noting that such engagement will restore their hope and confidence in the ACC as they have been suffering in silence. On behalf of his people chief Fornah pledged his people's fullest cooperation with the Commission in curbing bribery and petty corruption.
Questions and answers session formed part of the outreach campaign.