By: Bernard Abass Kargbo
The Public Education and External Outreach Department of the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) has engaged beneficiaries and stakeholders of the Social Safety Net (SSN) Project in Moyamba District, to educate them on the role of ACC in the project, reassure them of the Commission’s continued commitment to integrity of the project and to solicit their support in the fight against corruption. The engagement took place on Monday 29th November, 2021 at the Moyamba District Court Barray, Moyamba Town, Southern Sierra Leone.
Speaking at the engagement, ACC District Monitor Moyamba , Jonathan Bassie, said the SSN project started with Le: 250,000 Leones per person quarterly, the amount he said has been increased over the years to Le: 436,000. During the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, the project decided to give money for three quarters due to the restrictions that were in place. He furthered that, the World Bank was so pleased with the intervention of the ACC through the GRM that they have decided to commit themselves to extending the project.
The District Monitor encouraged the beneficiaries to continue to use the funds judiciously.
In his statement, the Deputy Director, Public Education and External Outreach Department ACC, Abu-Bakar Turay said the SSN project was introduced by Government through NaCSA to provide income to extremely poor households in 16 districts. He said although NaCSA is directly in charge with handling the project and payment is through the Rokel Commercial Bank (RCB), the Commission is in the project to ensure transparency, accountability and fair distribution of monies to beneficiaries.
On the impact of the project, Mr. Turay said the GRM in SSN has been of great relevance in supporting the livelihoods of beneficiaries and their dependents. He explained that because of the SSN project some people who were living in thatch houses now have corrugated roofing sheet on their houses, some parents have been able to pay for their children at the university, and some fishermen confirmed that they now have stronger fishing boats after they bought boards to repair their boats with the money that was provided. “For this reason, the ACC will not allow some ill-motivated persons to deprive anyone from what he/she should have” he said.
On backlogs that are owed to some people, the Deputy Director called for patience, and assured them all that they will receive their backlog together with the last quarter payments. He concluded by assuring them of the Commission’s continued support to the project and of a stout leadership in the fight against corruption.
Public Education Officer ACC, Bernard Abass Kargbo, updated the participants on some of the current activities of the ACC. He highlighted the successes of the Commission in the just released MCC report, recoveries and the high conviction rate in the cases charged to court. He encouraged participants to always resist, reject and report corruption, noting that the fight against corruption can only be won with everyone onboard. He read the ACC toll free lines 077985985, 077986986, 515 as convenient and confidential reporting platforms.
On behalf of the participants, Madam Gladys Hawa Lamin in her vote of thanks, appreciated the Commission for such engagements likening the intervention of ACC to someone that helps save a person from drowning.
Earlier in his welcome address, the Moyamba District Youth Secretary Cyril Fofanah commended the Commission for its unwavering commitment to the fight against corruption with monumental accomplishments and in ensuring that the targeted beneficiaries in the SSN project get what is due them unhindered. He said because of the involvement of the Commission in monitoring the project implementation, they have not had any complaints of beneficiaries’ names being omitted, extortions, underpayments etc. He also stressed on the need for beneficiaries to report any instances of suspected corrupt practices in the project to the ACC through the GRM mechanism. He registered the District youths’ support to the ACC in promoting the values of integrity and accountability.