The Regional Manager of the Anti Corruption Commission (ACC) North, has pleaded with drivers plying the routes in the Northern Region to reject any corrupt demands from public officers in the traffic sector, as it is an offence.
Speaking at a sensitization meeting with drivers on Tuesday, May 15 this year at the Drivers Union office in Makeni, Mr. Patrick Sandi emphasized that the Anti Corruption Commission Act 2008 clearly makes it an offence for anybody who offers an advantage to a public officer or any member of a public body in order to influence him/her. He reminded the drivers that the 2008 Act is not just for government employees but also covers the private sector. The Regional Manager said the Commission has the mandate to investigate all forms of corruption, no matter the amount of money or individual involved in it.
Manager Sandi admitted that the Drivers Union is very strategic in the fight against corruption, noting that one of the things they should address as a union is offering of bribes. He lamented on the huge loss of revenue by Government as a result of failure by drivers to license their vehicles. The Regional Manager explained some of the offences in the 2008 Act that are related to the operations of drivers like protection of public revenue and property, offering, soliciting and accepting advantage, receiving advantage for and on behalf of public officers. He therefore encouraged all drivers to obey traffic rules and respect the law.
Manager Sandi further explained that the penalties for each of the offences in the Act is a fine of not less than thirty million Leones (Le30,000,000.00) or a prison term of not less than three years or both.
Explaining the rationale of the meeting, the National Public Education Officer, Mr.
Al-Hassan Sesay, said it was meant to educate them on the dangers of corruption and solicit their support in the fight against corruption in the country. He told the drivers that the ACC alone cannot succeed in the fight against corruption in the country and called on them to partner with the Commission.
Mr. Sesay said the ACC is not in existence just to arrest and convict corrupt individuals but also to sensitize the public on the dangers of corruption and the benefits of a corrupt free Sierra Leone. He called on all drivers to change their corrupt behaviours, opinions, attitudes and thoughts for the betterment of the country.
Also, Public Education Officer, North, Mrs. Fatmata Finda Bangura, explained the methods of making a report to ACC and the provision in the AC Act 2008 for the protection of informants. She explained that there is a 10% reward for informants and read out the free mobile hotlines but warned them against making false reports. “The progress of Sierra Leone is in our hands. We should not allow our children and those yet unborn to suffer because we failed to resist, reject and report corruption,” she told the drivers.
In his address, the Regional Secretary General of the Sierra Leone Motor Drivers and General Transport Workers Union, Mr. Hassan Tinka Kargbo, thanked the ACC team for enlightening them on what they should do and not do. He urged his colleagues to abide by the warnings and do the right things. He assured the Commission that they will continue to partner with them in a bid to wipe out corruption in Sierra Leone.
Questions, comments, concerns, suggestions and answers formed the high point of the meeting.