Addressing key corruption issues surrounding operations of the Sierra Leone Police has been very challenging, the Anti-Corruption Commission on Wednesday 15th July 2020 engaged personnel attached at the Lungi Police Division to sensitize and enlist their support in combating graft and bribery.
The Local Unit Commander of the division Superintendent Franklyn Bawoh, welcomed the ACC team, and described the meeting as an important step to educating personnel and as well as guiding their activities and conduct on what constitutes corruption offences. He added that the engagement will also add to existing knowledge to help personnel to be professional in the discharge of their duties.
Addressing personnel, the Regional Manager Al-Hassan Sesay informed them that the engagement was to sensitize them on corruption, solicit their support and to further strengthen the existing partnership between the two institutions. He noted that the ACC considers the SLP as a responsible partner and values their support in the fight against corruption adding, that when corruption thrives in the SLP it will have an adverse effect on other sectors. Commenting on the recently published corruption perception survey report by Centre for Accountability and Rule of Law, Mr. Sesay said the report named the SLP as the most corrupt institution which was indicative of the interactions and perception held by the public on corrupt practices in the Police Force. He encouraged them to maintain ethical standards in carrying out their duties and harnessed efforts to change the negative perception of the public about the SLP. He emphasized that Police Officers are public officers and by extension are covered by the ACC Act of 2008 and 2019 as amended.
Explaining various corruption offences, Manager Sesay explained related corruption including offering, soliciting and accepting advantage, abuse of office and position, misappropriation of public funds and property, receiving gifts for corrupt purposes among others. He also informed them with the 2019 amendment Act of the ACC, the commission has now been empowered to cancel all contract deemed not to be in the interest of the public or a section thereof, narrowed the asset declaration regime, trial in absentia, restitution and jail terms and fines increased to five years and fifty million Leone respectively. “The impact of corruption has had a devastating effect on the nation’s development and this amendment has made corruption a very risky venture to undertake,” he emphasized. Mr. Sesay without mincing of words mentioned the invisible Scorpion Squad that will sting at any given opportunity to curb corrupt practices across the country. He made a stern warning to both senior and junior police officers to stay clear of corrupt practices and particularly encouraged them not to be used by their superiors for any corrupt syndicate.
The Senior Public Education Officer Sahid Mohamed Kamara in his brief statement of the thrust of the meeting said the meeting was to educate the Lungi Police Division on their roles and responsibilities, offences in the AC Act, corruption issues captured by the corruption perception survey and to solicit their support in the fight against corruption.
Public Education Officer Mohamed Thullah who spoke on the role of senior management in the fight against corruption accentuated the significance of maintaining ethical standards and high sense of integrity with a meaningful demonstration of supporting and resisting demands of corruption. He highlighted various methods of reporting corruption and underscored the central role reporting corruption occupies in combating the same.
Delivering the vote of thanks, Police Inspector Ejatu Sanu expressed appreciation and thanked the ACC team for sensitizing them on various issues of corruption and promised to put into action the knowledge acquired.