By Jeneba Kemoh
One of the strategies in fighting corruption requires raising public concerns with state institutions concerned in a bid to address the issues and ensure improved service delivery.
It is as a result, the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) Eastern Regional Office in Kenema engaged and confronted officers of the Sierra Leone Roads Safety Authority (SLRSA) in Kenema with allegations of corruption by the public.
The engagement took place at the SLRSA office in Kenema.
ACC’s Public Education Officer, Jeneba Kemoh, said the engagement was an opportunity for the SLRSA to hear the experiences of members of the public about services delivered by the institution. “The public interfaces with state institutions and therefore build perceptions based on their experiences with public officers. While the allegations may or may not be true, they reflect the genuine concerns raised by the public, as generated through the several complaint channels of the Commission,” she said. She said the Commission provided officers of the SLRSA the opportunity to respond to the allegations and find ways to resolve them.
Senior Public Education Officer, ACC, Sulaiman B. Sowa, said the allegations include traffic wardens receiving bribes, wardens owning and allowing unlicensed bikes to ply, bloated licence fees and workers at the Authority serving as agents for insurance companies.
He warned that all the allegations are offences in the 2008 Anti-Corruption Act as amended in 2019, particularly bribery conflict of interest and abuse of office or position. He said traffic wardens must resist and reject acts of bribery and other acts of corruption at all times.
Mr. Sowa said public perceptions about state institutions are key factors in determining the levels of corruption and therefore called on the officers to focus on rebranding the image of the institution and manage their behaviors and lifestyles.
Othaniel Lahai, Head of Station SLRSA in Kenema, said the Authority received the allegations in good spirit. He however said the allegations resulted from institutional challenges and misunderstanding of the operations, mandates and policies of the Authority. Mr. Lahai denied allegations of bribery by traffic wardens, stressing that the Authority has a zero tolerance policy against all forms of corruption.
Mr. Lahai also denied allegations of officers serving as agents of insurance companies, adding that each insurance company has a representative stationed at their offices. He concluded that the Authority has produced a service charter which is conspicuously displayed at their offices in a
bid to prevent attempts to bloat prices of services. He assured the Commission of their commitment to supporting the fight against corruption by resisting and rejecting all forms of corruption.