By John Tarawally
“Young and old, rich and poor, men and women, corruption affects us all. But each one of us can stop this corrosive problem. Take part in International Anti-Corruption Day”. This statement was made by United Nations Secretary General, Ban Ki Moon during the commemoration of IAC Day in 2014.
Article 13 of the United Nations Convention Against Corruption (UNCAC) states that signatories of the Convention must “promote the active participation of individuals and groups outside the public sector … and to raise awareness regarding the existence, causes and gravity of and the threat posed by corruption.” Public education programmes, including school and university curricula, as well as information campaigns on how to report corruption are named to be carried out.
International Anti-Corruption Day 9th December is a time set for political leaders, government officials, legal entities and lobby groups to come together against corruption by promoting the day and the issues that surround that event.
On this day the Anti-Corruption Commission Sierra Leone will be organizing series of event to engage the public to break the chain of corruption.
It is in this light that the Commissioner of the ACC, Joseph Fitzgerald Kamara noted during the 2014 IAC Day celebration that “the fight against corruption requires our united and determined efforts. National integrity institutions such as the judiciary, the Sierra Leone Correctional Services, the Sierra Leone Police, the Auditor General’s, Office, Office of the ombudsman, the National Public Procurement Authority, must take on anti corruption as a major activity in their annual program plans”.
The Commission over the years has engaged several actors, like Civil Society Organizations who have been instrumental in promoting the anti-corruption policies, assisting in monitoring the implementation of the National Anti-Corruption Strategy as well as acting as whistleblowers. The Commission also engaged schools and tertiary institutions through Meet the School and University campaigns. Students have been educated on integrity issues, organizing symposiums and workshops, outreach campaigns have proved successful to reach communities at the local level. The Commission has also held consultative meetings at national level, to create dialogue with various entities in mapping a way forward in the fight against corruption.
International anti-corruption day is purposely celebrated to create awareness on the scourge of corruption and to remind both the private and public sectors of their role and responsibility in maintaining integrity in the provision of public services to the people. It also reminds other anti-corruption watchdogs and the media to step up their efforts in monitoring government ministries departments and agencies in the mainstreaming of anti corruption policies in their day to day administration.
The theme for this year’s celebration is Breaking The Chain of Corruption. It is only when the chain of corruption is broken that we can move Sierra Leone forward. Therefore, it is the responsibility of all Sierra Leoneans to join the fight against corruption for a better Sierra Leone.