President Dr Ernest Bai Koroma on Thursday 20th February said that the "Pay No Bribe Campaign" would primarily ensure that Service Charters for key institutions and agencies nationwide are printed and disseminated so that citizens are aware of services provided with costs and expected service delivery time.
"Each Service Charter shall have the ACC hotline numbers to report incidences of corruption and administrative decadence/ bottlenecks," he noted, and vowed that as a nation, we will not relent in the fight to tackle corruption in the country.
The President admitted that although there are still challenges, government's determination and dedication to meeting these challenges is stronger than ever before. He also maintained that the hosting of the Mo Ibrahim State of Governance Seminar in Africa by government demonstrates its continued commitment to promoting democratic good governance, transparency and accountability.
"Mr. Chairman, ladies and gentlemen, through support from DFID, we are launching a pilot study to identify key institutions that will be targeted for reporting bribery and, by May this year, we will install a data management system at the ACC manned by an independent service provider mandated to receive reports via phone calls and text messages on incidences of petty bribery and grand corruption." President Koroma further noted that the roles and involvement of civil society in the success of the war on graft through the "Pay No Bribe Campaign" is immeasurable; "we count on your cooperation; we will protect whistle blowers; we will ensure their confidentiality. This is a fight for everybody; this is a fight for integrity in the offices, in the banks, the markets, the streets, in the classrooms, the courtrooms and the boardrooms," President Koroma urged.
State House Chief of Staff, Dr Richard Konteh said in his welcome address that the hosting of a Mo Ibrahim Seminar on governance in Africa by the Government of Sierra Leone (GoSL) is a testament to President Koroma's dynamic leadership and resolve to transform the country by upholding the tenets of the rule of law, transparency and accountability and by introducing sound management of natural resources and proper fiscal management.
Today's seminar and launch of the "Pay No Bribe Campaign", he stated, is a transformative deep-dive by the GoSL to promote transparency and accountability and to realign the war against corruption.
Board Member of the Mo Ibrahim Foundation, Abdoulie Janneh commended President Koroma for his desire and commitment to launch the "Pay no Bribe Campaign" in Sierra Leone.
African Development Bank Director of Governance Department, Isaac Lobe noted that the presence of the President at the launching ceremony is an attestation of his commitment to governance and tackling corruption. He reiterated the Bank's continued support for Sierra Leone's efforts at achieving good governance and the "Pay no Bribe Campaign".
Anti-Corruption Czar, Joseph Fitzgerald Kamara said in his very entertaining presentation that today marks a red letter day as "we take a positive step forward in the fight against corruption in our country." He called for awareness raising activities, especially among youth such as jogging against bribery or observing a "No Bribe Day" at the Immigration Department.
According to the Anti-Corruption Czar, who quoted the Afrobarometer survey, almost 1 in 5 people (16%) have paid a bribe one or more times to a government official in the past year in order to get an official document or permit. Paying a bribe to get medical treatment as well as avoid a problem with the police were the other two most cited reasons for bribery, he stressed. He urged all to consider bribery as a common enemy.
Shortly after President Koroma officially opened the Mo Ibrahim Seminar on State of Governance in Africa and the Launch of the "Pay No Bribe Campaign", an MOU on "Pay No Bribe Campaign" was signed between the Office of the Chief of Staff at State House (OCOS) and the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) and the Department for International Development (DFID). The sum of 4.7 Million British Pounds Sterling has been set aside by DFID in support of the campaign to end bribery.
Dr Richard Konteh, Joseph F. Kamara and Cynthia Rowe signed for the OCOS, ACC and DFID respectively.
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