Yesterday at Mamba Point in the West end of Freetown, officials of the Anti Corruption Commission headed by the Commissioner, together with Civil Society Members and representatives of Government Ministries, Departments and Agencies witnessed the launch of ACC’s Advisory Opinion on Sierra Leone Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (SLEITI).
Being the first ever report drafted for the extractive industries to ensure transparency and accountability, the ACC Commissioner as provided under section 5(1) (a) and section 7(2) (g) (h) of the Anti-Corruption Act of 2008, was given a copy of the report to review and give advisory opinion in the form of recommendations in order to ensure transparency and accountability, as the process rolls on.
The ACC within its mandate is in the ad hoc SLEITI Committee comprising members of the Commission and civil society groups to proffer an advisory opinion in terms of addressing issues which include disclosure, reconciliation and accountability of all material payments and revenues in the extractive industries covering the period 2006 to December 2007.
During the review process by the ACC, it was found out that there were financial discrepancies, poor financial reporting system, no unique taxpayer identification, inadequate safeguards or verification among others which were brought out as few of the factors that need to be addressed in order to ensure a formidable and reliable report.
The ACC Commissioner Joseph F. Kamara said that the advisory opinion was not set to cast blames or name names but to give recommendation to ensure best practice for the development of the nation. Furthermore, it was recommended by the Commission that the industries should adopt better management of funds, increase public education, systems and processes review, investigation and enforcement and the provision of needed facilities and materials to facilitate the operation of the institution.
The Commissioner also said that the significant purpose of the report is to foster transparency and accountability so that the extractive industry will be seen as a capitalized venture for the development of Sierra Leone and its people. He urged stakeholders to collaborate with ACC in order to compliment government’s effort in its implemented projects and in so doing, help the people and the President to achieve the agenda for change initiative.
The representative of the ERSG, Mr. Nana K.A Busia, said “the ERSG is passionate of the subject matter considering the role of the extractive industry in development. He added that he is therefore closely behind the process and ready to render support”.
The chairman of Parliamentary Oversight Committee on Mines and Minerals, Hon. Chernor Bah, said “the EITI process needs total support to ensure transparency and accountability”.
The Chief of Staff of State House, Dr. Kelfala Marah, commended the move, saying “the ACC Advisory Opinion on the first SLEITI Report will ensure growth in the extractive industries”.
The Mines and Minerals Minister, Minkailu Mansaray, said that the Report provided the direction to which the Mines and Minerals Ministry should go and suggest further guidelines necessary to boost operations of the Ministry.
By Poindexter Sam