The Northern Regional Office of the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) has empowered Secondary School pupils in Kalangba and Gbendembu in the Bombali District to enable them contribute to the fight against illegal charges and corrupt practices in their schools.
This was in the form of an awareness raising exercise titled, ‘Meet the schools campaign,’ at the Kalangba Agricultural Secondary School in Kalangba, Ahmadiyya Muslim Secondary School, Baptist Secondary School and Dante Bernini Junior Secondary School in Gbendembu on 8th and 12th June 2012.
The objective of the sensitization meeting was to enable the pupils become aware of corrupt practices taking place in their schools, like illegal school charges, their role and responsibilities and their duty to report corrupt practices to the ACC.
Speaking during the campaign at the respective schools, the Regional Manager of the ACC, Mr. Patrick Sandi, lamented that one of the main factors inhibiting the provision and delivery of effective services in the schools is the sustained presence of corruption.
He said the schools have been plagued with corrupt practices such as: examination malpractices, illegal admissions and promotions, falsification of examination results, payment for collection of report cards and BECE/WASSE results among many others.
He emphasized that all these practices fall under the offences in the 2008 Act and punishment for each count is a fine of not less than thirty million Leones (Le 30,000,000.00) or imprisonment of not less than three years or both.
Mr. Sandi further called on the pupils to report to the Commission any act of corruption in their schools, stressing that as pupils they have a role to play if corruption is to be wiped out in their schools.
“You are the future of this country, but you have the responsibility to prepare the future for yourselves. If you don’t help the ACC, there will be no future for you. Therefore, the only way we can make progress in this country is by embracing the ACC,” he exhorted them.
He read to them mobile phone numbers which they can call free of charge to report corruption incidents to the Commission and assured them of the Commission’s fullest confidentiality and protection whenever they make reports.
Explaining the purpose of the sensitization campaign in the respective schools, the Public Education Officer, Mr. Al-Hassan Sesay, told the Teachers and pupils that it is was geared towards educating them on the mandate of the Commission, and what they should not do and to solicit their support.
He emphasized the Commission’s determination to stamp out corrupt practices in schools and therefore warned them to desist from all forms of corrupt practices. He also explained that the Commission is only leading the fight against corruption, and they should be prepared to be ambassadors of Commission.
In their statements, Mr. Abdul Karim Fornah, Acting Principal, Kalangba Agricultural Secondary School, Mr. Solomon G. Kanu, senior teacher Baptist Secondary School, Mr. Maunana Morlai Fornah, a Teacher of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Secondary School and Mr. Joseph P. Fornah, Acting Principal of the Dante Bernini Junior Secondary School, said they appreciated the sensitization drive which they observed would go a long way to guide them and prevent corrupt practices in their schools.They called on the Commission to meet with them and sensitize them regularly.
At the end of presentations at the respective schools, the Teachers and pupils were given the opportunity to ask questions which were answered by the ACC team, while they were also presented with promotional and educational materials.