By: Abdulai Saccoh
The Public Education Unit of the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) office in the Southern Region has in a customized meeting, enlightened the management and staff of the Sierra Leone Water Company (SALWACO) on some of the illegal practices that have the tendency to undermine the growth of the institution and negatively affect service delivery. The engagement took place on Monday 11th October 2021at the conference hall of SALWACO office in Bo.
Speaking at the meeting, ACC’s Senior Public Education Officer, Abdulai Saccoh, reminded staff of SALWACO of their primary responsibility to provide safe drinking water for residents in the provinces. “This mandate cannot be achieved if the institution fails to take the appropriate actions to address incidences of corruption,” he said. He defined a public officer as any person working in a public body whether paid or unpaid, adding that employees of SALWACO are public officers and therefore can be investigated for any acts of corruption.
Mr. Saccoh catalogued a number of practices that cannot only result in loss of revenue but also undermine the growth of the institution such as; manipulation of meter and meter reading, over invoicing, abuse of discretionary power, dishonest billing process, fraudulent and illegal connections, absenteeism, soliciting bribes, misuse of office properties, among others. “Since the amendment of certain provisions in the Anti-Corruption Act 2008 in 2019, participation in corruption has now become a high risk venture and a non-profit making enterprise,” he admonished.
He said that if an individual is convicted of the corruption offence of misappropriation of funds or property, whether public or donor funds, the individual will, apart from the court fine, mandated to refund in restitution what they misappropriated.
Public Education Officer Mohamed A. Kabba described the meeting as a testament of the ACC’s commitment to interact with employees of SALWACO in order to remind them of their civic responsibility and to shed light on some dishonest acts that are perpetrated by some workers. He encouraged the SALWACO management to institute internal corruption prevention mechanisms to strengthen systems and processes in order to ensure effective service delivery to the public.
In her statement, ACC’s Public Education Officer, Yangie Deborah Sesay, said staff of SALWACO can positively contribute to the fight against corruption by ensuring that duties assigned to them are performed diligently and in a manner that portrays integrity, transparency and accountability. She encouraged them to report incidences of corruption to the ACC through the 515 toll free line and assured them of confidentiality and protection.
SALWACO’s Southern Regional Manager, Dennis Macavoray, commended the ACC for its public education drive and recognized that it has increased their understanding on corruption-related issues which will guide them in their operations. Mr. Macavoray called on ACC to replicate similar engagement to Ministries, Departments and Agencies in Freetown. He appealed to the SALWACO Station Manager in Bo Osman Turay, to cascade the information to those that were not in the meeting due to official reasons and urged those who attended to heed to ACC advice. “The ACC Commissioner Francis Ben Kaifala will at no point stop to serve justice to rogues,” he averred.