The minister for Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Zainab Hawa Bangura, yesterday disclosed that fighting corruption was a very expensive exercise and called on the international community to continue rendering assistance to the anti graft commission.
Speaking at the Bank of Sierra Leone Complex at the presentation of the ACC Strategy for the period 2008-2010, the minister said the country could not achieve basic benchmarks where corruption flourished and that the battle against corruption was long pone but that as a government they were not going to relent on it.
Zainab Hawa Bangura stated that, “corruption has a particular effect on the development of the country” and that she was pleased that the Anti Corruption Commission had developed a strategy in the fight against graft since the current government had put much emphasis on the fight.
She called on the donor community to continue supporting the commission so as to achieve its aims.
Abdul Tejan Cole, the commissioner for the ACC in giving an overview of the strategy, explained that the 2008-2010 strategy was meant to give a new direction to the commission since his task at the commission was made very demanding by the president, who had laid greater emphasis on the fight against corruption.
Mr Tejan Cole revealed that when he took over as commissioner he realised the need to have a change in the mission and core values of the commission, and that the objectives of the new strategy was to enable the commission to take a lead role in coordinating the implementation of the National Anti-Corruption Strategy, as well as to set and attain performance targets for its existing and emerging mandate areas and build capacities both in the human and financial levels.
The new strategy, the commissioner said, called for the intervention of the private sector in the fight against corruption and that there was need for public awareness to be raised so that people could know the negative effects of corruption on the community.
Mr Cole stated that there were key elements in the new strategy, among them the vision, mission, and strategic goals framework, since according to him, the mission of the commission was to make the country a corruption free nation.
The new strategy, Mr Cole said, was also looking at the organisational structure of the commission and other strategic areas.
Alfred Sallia Fawundu is the chairman of the ACC’s Advisory Board. He told those present that the new strategy was a bold and timely effort at establishing a comprehensive framework for the commission to monitor the implementation of the National Strategy to pursue the fight against corruption.
He said the new strategy was designed not only to brace the commission to execute its mandate but to transform the commission into a platform from which, it would radiate the energy and determination to fight corruption.
Another speaker at the presentation ceremony was the acting finance minister, Dr Richard Conteh. He said the commission was very helpful in building trust and restoring confidence since there had been a history of lack of confidence and trust within the international circle on the use of funds.
He said with the newly drafted ACC Act awaiting parliament approval, he was sure the commission was now going to have the free hand to run its affairs.
Dr Richard Conteh called on the donor community to continue supporting the commission in fighting the endemic disease.
Presentations were made by different directors of the ACC.
The strategy would be officially lunched next Monday by President Ernest Bai Koroma.