The Southern Regional Office of the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) on 5th March, 2020, cautioned Central Chiefdom Administrative Clerks (CCACs) in Moyamba District on the use of public revenue in a bid to facilitate effective development and service delivery. The meeting took place at the Chiefdom Administrative Office in Moyamba.
Educating the CCACs on the Anti-Corruption Amendment Act 2019, Resident Prosecutor South and East, Abubakarr Sannoh, said laws were the pivot around which change and continuity revolve, noting that the provisions in the 2019 Amendment Act were to ensure that corruption becomes a high risk and low return venture. Mr. Sannoh said the amendment provides for an increment in fines from the minimum of Thirty Million Leones to Fifty Million Leones and an increase in jail terms from 3 years minimum to a minimum of 5 years. Additionally, there is a mandatory imposition of restitution on misappropriation of public funds. There is also a 10% minimum interest on recovery and more powers to the ACC Commissioner, in collaboration with the National Procurement Authority, to cancel any contract that is considered not to be in the interest of the people of Sierra Leone. Mr. Sannoh emphasized on the offences of misappropriation of public funds, noting that it was peculiar in institutions that generate public revenue.
Regional Manager of ACC South, Musa J.B Jawara, said the ACC Commissioner had declared 2020 as the year of enforcement, noting that such will not go without prosecution of defaulters. Mr. Jawara lamented on the recent audit report referencing 18 Chiefdom administrations not accounting for over Four Hundred Million Leones, adding that such monies would have facilitated the much-needed development in those chiefdoms. He said the period for non-financial management and accountability was over as the Commission was going to ensure that all monies generated by Chiefdom authorities were properly utilized and accounted for. He said heads of public institutions will be held liable for monies misappropriated under their watch, emphasizing on regular monitoring as one best practice in the management of public funds.
Mr. Jawaraa told CCACs that it was a common trend for superiors in public institutions to have subordinates use public monies for their personal use and benefit, cautioning that CCACs should only take lawful instructions from their superiors guided by existing rules and regulations. Concluding, Mr. Jawara bemoaned the rate of poverty in many chiefdoms in Moyamba District despite the huge revenue generated by chiefdom authorities.
Responding to the Regional Manager on behalf of CCACs, Francis Songa, Central Chiefdom Administrative Clerk, Moyamba District, said the meeting was apt and timely and further described it as a “warning before wounding shot” to all. He admitted to some of the poor financial record management practices, something he said they would work on.
Earlier, while welcoming the Team from ACC, Haroun Keh Turay, District Officer Moyamba, said as a representative of Government in the District, it was his responsibility to remind all that President Julius Maada Bio had declared war on corruption and therefore saw the engagement by the ACC as a very useful and timely move.