The Anti Corruption Commission last Wednesday held a one day Workshop for Non Governmental Organizations and other stakeholders in development in the South. The workshop took place at the Bo City Hall. The participants were trained on ‘Guidelines on the use of Donor Funds, Project Cycle Management and General Principles on Accountability and Transparency.’
While opening the interactive session Mr Alex Nallo from the Civil Society Movement Bo and who chaired the occasion opined that “corruption is the greatest moral challenge of our era” but that this was the time for the Anti Corruption Commission and the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development to see that all associations and organization within the country practice within the contents of their documents.
The ACC he said was embarking on firm action to see that all NGOs see that they ensure that they embark on the firm actions too. He said that it was time for all Sierra Leoneans to see “how we can help our country” particularly in accountability and transparency.
Mr Swahili K Jusu from the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development said that the commission this time round “is targeting not individuals but the system.” The reason for that he said was that a corrupt-free man would become corrupt should he find himself in a corrupt system, vis-a-vis. The above objective he said would be achieved through the three powers of the commission which are, ‘Public Education Outreach, Prevention and Prosecution.’
Talking on the ‘Revised NGO Policy and Donor Benchmarking’ he said that NGOs have been highly pro-active in Sierra Leone both during and after the war. He however said that the activities of NGOs are however yet to be interpreted in the lives of the people in the local communities and for which, “the people should be there to help with the verification of the things stated on NGO Registration Forms.”
He went on to say that NGOs within the country are in the habit of taking projects to communities even when those projects are not the priority needs of the people and against which he said: “Whatever NGOs do is for you and I, and you need to tell them “this is what you need.”
The people in the local communities he said “should monitor and evaluate the work of NGOs” with the NGO Revised Policy which emphasizes on people “following policies” which he said, “will lead people to do what they ought to do.”
Mr Saidu Dumbuya Head Monitor and Compliance Unit ACC, who lectured on Project Cycle and Management told the participants that the session was to “address problems in the system and to change the perception of people towards the ACC.” Projects he said should reflect the needs of the community and that any inconsistency in the logical project planning process will be an indictment against the project and the organization.
Patrick Monrovia who spoke on the General Principles of Accountability and Transparency said the ACC has concerns in ensuring Transparency and Accountability to reduce corrupt practices particularly in the implementation of Donor Funds. He further said that “Proper Donor Fund Management is no more discretional or optional; but mandatory.”
During the Plenary and Question-time Session concerns such as “who monitors the monitor, the abuse of results by the local people, employment of foreign and national staff and tax wavering” were raised.
Mr Dumbuya proclaimed the monitored to monitor the monitor.