The Anti Corruption Commission Public Education and Outreach Systems have distributed the newly-enacted ACC Bill 2008 to Heads of Junior andSenior
Secondary Schools in the Western Area.
Speaking at the consultative and familiarization meeting held at the Rokel Secondary School at Tower Hill in Freetown, the Head of Public Education Unit, Desmond Johnson highlighted some of the issues surrounding the new ACC offences and the asset declaration forms.
He noted that the Ministry of Education, recently issued a Public Notice prohibiting all extra school charges, besides the Government stipulated school fees and other charges approved by the Ministry.
He reiterated that, “the cost of education has increased drastically to a point where many children would be left out of school due to the extra financial burden on parents to pay school fees and other charges levied on pupils by Heads of schools.
Alhassan Kargbo of the Legal Unit of the ACC also spoke about the powers of the new ACC Bill; which he said has now empowered the ACC to investigate and persecute public officials on twenty-seven (27) types of offences on corruption and therefore urged Principals and Teachers to visit the ACC office to obtain their assets declaration forms.
He called on Heads of Secondary Schools to respect and support the ACC Bill for a corrupt free society as incomes without reasonable explanations would be cross-checked and properly investigated; noting that culprits of any corrupt act would be fined not less than Le30m with three years imprisonment or both.
Ivan Agibola Thomas, Head of the Public Education Unit at the ACC, admonished Heads of Schools to read the ACC Act properly, and explain the contents to Teachers and Pupils in their various academic institutions for a corrupt free society.
The Principals then expressed frustration and disappointment over the inadequate learning materials in schools and shortage of qualified Teachers in most schools. “One of the Principals emotionally complained about the deplorable working conditions in the class rooms which they cited is a recipe for corruption.
Saidu Dumbuya of the Monitoring and Integrity Unit of the ACC then promised to replicate similar forums across the country with Heads of Schools, before the three months deadline for the declaration of assets.