By Bernard Abass Kargbo – Public Education Officer, ACC
As part of its quarterly monitoring exercise, the National Anti-Corruption Strategy (NACS) Secretariat has on Monday 28th March 2022 engaged key stakeholders of the Makeni City Council, Bombali and Tonkolili districts councils respectively on the implementation of the NACS 2019-2023 and the contents of the Monitoring Report.
The specific objectives of the engagement as explained by the Director of the NACS Secretariat, Nabilahi-Musa Kamara, are to strengthen the effectiveness of oversight in the implementation of the Strategy by local councils, to ascertain compliance with the actions allocated to councils and track their performance relative to the NACS Implementation Action Plan and to deepen ownership and accountability of the process of the implementation and enhance the functionality of Integrity Management Committees (IMCs).
Nabilahi-Musa Kamara encouraged stakeholders to take ownership of the Strategy, as the Commission is only tasked with the responsibility to coordinate the activities of the Strategy as enshrined in Section 5(1) (c) of the Anti-Corruption Act of 2008 as amended in 2019.
Mr. Kamara said 79 public bodies were monitored in the previous quarter; of the 22 councils, the total agreed action points were 677 across the board but only 416 of these action points were fully implemented, he said. The Director of the NACS Secretariat said the overall performance puts the compliance rate at an average, noting there is more room for improvement.
The main reason for not reaching total compliance was due to the fact that there was poor coordination and lack of managements’ commitment and willingness to support the implementation, he said. “Most authorities viewed the NACS implementation as purely the business of the ACC rather than the responsible sector and in most instances, much time and attention was not given to the coordination and implementation of the NACS by council authorities,” Mr. Kamara concluded.
ACC recommends that the Internal Auditor and the Procurement Officer, two key positions in the Councils to help prevent corruption, should be made to be part of the councils’ managements, if the councils were to achieve full compliance status.
The NACS Steering Committee representative, Winston Mella Jalloh, entreats authorities of the councils to own the fight against corruption through the IMCs. “We will all be accountable in the future for what we do now, and in any case it will come to us to do the right thing even when no one else is watching,” he noted.
On their own part, the three local councils highlighted some of the challenges which hinged on lack of coordination/communication among key institutions responsible for the coordination of district and city councils, weak coordination of the activities of Integrity Management Committees (IMCs) in MDAs and the lack of information sharing between and among management, especially with regards to transfers of key staff and posting of new ones.
All the 3 local councils engaged so far by NACS said there is still room for improvement and reiterated their willingness to work with their respective IMCs in a bid to meet the goals set out in the Strategy.