By David K. Conteh :
Over seventy (70) police officers of the Eastern Police Division have been educated on the new National Anti-Corruption Strategy (NACS 2014-18) and activities of the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC). The event took place on Tuesday 24th June 2014 at the Eastern Police Station in Freetown.
Speaking on the relevance of the 2014 -2018 NACS, ACC Head of Outreach Glennis Frazer highlighted the fundamental elements that distinguish the previous NACS from the current; which are prevention, enforcement and suppression. Prevention, she said is aiming at strengthening Sierra Leone’s democracy, creating political competiveness, which will further reduce poverty and improve public service delivery systems.
Pointing out the role of the Sierra Leone Police (SLP) in the 2014-2018 NACS, Miss Frazer explained that the suppression of corruption should be internally motivated. Government ministries, departments and agencies such as the SLP, should develop systemic measures and internal corruption controls to check mate the system and weed out bad eggs from within their institutions. She further said, with the new NACS the ACC will collaborate with the SLP to develop internal corruption control mechanisms which will reduce the spate of corruption among officers of the SLP.
Explaining the Anti-Corruption offences as embedded in the 2008 Anti- Corruption Act, the ACC Deputy Director of Public Education and Outreach Department, Patrick Sandi made mention of Influencing a Public Officer, as an offence that addresses the problem of “orders from above”. He also spoke about Receiving Gifts for Corrupt Purposes, Conflict of Interest, Abuse of Office and Position, as offences in the 2008 Anti-Corruption Act that are likely to be committed by police officers. In elucidating the offence, Protecting Offenders from Legal Proceeding, Sandi said this act creates injustice, impunity and insecurity; where undue protection is provided for offenders of the law.
Answering questions on set up, Mr. Patrick Sandi debunked the allegations that the ACC is involved in witch hunting the police, and that the ACC is in no way involved in any form of entrapment. He said the “Sting Operations” implemented by the ACC is employed to gather evidence from a person who has been already accused of committing an offence by soliciting an advantage.
Earlier in the meeting, the Head of Public Education Unit Anti-Corruption Commission, Michael Sesay explained the reasons for meeting the SLP, especially after the formal launch of the NACS. He expressed the need to collaborate with the SLP in the fight against graft, as there are lots of benefits a nation stands to enjoy from eradicating corruption. He added that ACC has had very cordial working relationship with the SLP and demanded for more of such collaborations.
Addressing colleagues of the SLP, Chief Superintendent of Police (CSP) Amos Kargbo, who is the Local Unit Commander of the Eastern Police Station, wasted no time to welcome officials of the ACC to the Division. In his closing courtesies, CSP Kargbo made reference to other countries such as Singapore and Botswana to have strong economies; but at the same time associated such progress to their national resolve to fight corruption. He therefore called on all his colleagues to give adequate support to the ACC, and that ACC’s success will be in the interest of the nation.
ACC staff and cross section of police officer at the Eastern Police Station