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ACC TAKES ANTI CORRUPTION CRUSADE TO FAIDUGU- MACONTEH CHIEFDOM

The Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC), has on Monday 9th August 2021, entreated stakeholders, community members and beneficiaries of the Social Safety Net (SSN) project, in Maconteh Chiefdom, Port Loko District, to support the Commission’s no- nonsense stance against corruption in the project.

The sensitization and awareness raising engagement, which was held at the Community Square in Faidugu community, left tongues wagging and hearts panting for integrity and accountability when the people listened to the various speakers from the ACC.

Sylvanus M. Blake, Senior Public Education Officer of the ACC, explained that the objective of the SSN Project is to establish the main building blocks for the basic national safety net system and to provide income support to extremely poor households in Sierra Leone. He told them that the role of the ACC is to guarantee the integrity of the entire process, through robust monitoring and implementation of the Grievance Redress Mechanism (GRM). He furthered that, from the first phase of the pilot project in 2014, which catered for about 13 thousand vulnerable households in four districts, to the second Additional Financing (AF2), with support from the Global Risk Financing Facility (GRiFF) that has expanded the project to all 16 districts in the country, which commenced in 2019, the ACC has been and will continue to be deeply involved in the implementation.
‘’The ACC is always ready, willing and able to address any and every integrity issue in this project. That is a constant factor. The variable is, can we report any suspected corrupt acts to the ACC?’’ Blake asked in a convincing tone. He assured his listeners that the ACC was well positioned to sustain the integrity of the SSN project. Reading the ACC hotlines, Mr. Blake explained the depth of the Grievance Redress Mechanism component of the project to the public, and assured them of confidentiality, witness and informant protection and prompt response from the ACC.

He took his audience through a captivating case-studies on the changes the project has brought into the lives of beneficiaries.
A case in point, Kadiatu Sesay, a beneficiary from Krima Community, echoed with beaming tears from her eyes, how she lost her husband and her only male son in 2018. ‘’I was left with 5 daughters to care for as a single parent. They did not go to school. We hardly eat, we were sick, the roof of our house was blown off by wind, we slept in the rain. I was indebted and in slavery, but thank God for the World Bank, the Government of Sierra Leone and NaCSA. With the SSN money my children are back to school, our roof has been fixed, and I now run my own small business. I cannot describe how I feel. This project is a game changer and a life saver’’ she ended joyfully.

Similar sentiments were expressed by several other beneficiaries.

The Public Relations Officer ACC, Margaret Murray, updating the people on the activities of the Commission, underscored that the ACC is the People’s Commission and its commitment to the fight against corruption is informed and spurred by the desire to actualize the socio-economic needs and welfare of Sierra Leoneans. She highlighted the monumental gains the ACC has recorded, especially in the past three years, for which there is a resounding acclamation within and outside Sierra Leone.

ACC’s PRO stated that, the national fight against corruption, led by Francis Ben Kaifala Esq., is unbiased and unsentimental and do not target persons for who they are but for what they do.

She emphasized that the very few who perceive the ACC of cherry picking in the fight against corruption are not only disingenuous, but are unappreciative of how far we have come as a people in this war against the dreaded monster-corruption, for reasons best known to them. She said that available empirical data speak to the fact that the ACC is and has been doing its work fairly and transparently and goes only after the corrupt.

Margaret Murray implored her audience to join the fight against corruption. ‘’We are the Doctors, we can medicate corruption but you-the public are the Patients. Until you tell us, we cannot do proper diagnosis to know what exactly is happening and what can be done to address it’’.

She called on parents to make good use of the resources, such as investing it wisely. She encouraged them to send their children to school adding that someday, the funding will stop, but prudent investment will be the saving grace.

Pete Dalton Sesay of the ACC moderated the questions and answer session, which was interactive and educative, and Salifu Kamara, ACC’s Port Loko District Monitor, chaired the meeting.

Similar engagements are expected in the Kambia and Karene Districts in the coming days.

© Public Education and Outreach Department ACC

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