A four-person Accountability Team has returned home after a successful participation on the 13th International Anti-Corruption Conference (IACC) held at the Megaron International Conference Centre, in Greece. The Conference which attracted over one thousand five hundred participants worldwide had as its theme ‘Global Transparency – fighting corruption for a sustainable future’ discussed the fight against corruption within the context of human rights issues, good governance, the justice system, globalization, exploitation of natural resources, management of energy resources, climate change, peace and security.
The Conference aimed at reinvigorating a universal willingness to build an agenda that will correct the existing imbalances in the socio-economic and political realities of life and put forward corrective commitments in place for the benefit of mankind and the future generation. To achieve these objectives, the Conference organized four plenary sessions and fifty-two workshops from the 30th October- 2nd of November 2008.
The plenary sessions specifically focused on corruption, peace and security, corruption in national resources and energy markets, climate change and corruption, and sustainable globalization.
The participants from Sierra Leone were sponsored by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Sierra Leone; and the team comprised of the Chair National Accountability Groups (NAG) Board, Emile Carr, the Executive Director NAG Lavina Banduah, the Director Public Education and External Outreach Anti-Corruption Commission Ivan Ajibola Thomas and NAG Research Officer, Salia Kpaka. The Sierra Leone GTZ Programme Adviser, Barbara Jung was also in attendance.
Presenting a paper on corruption in Primary Education in Sierra Leone at the Education Management workshop, the Research Officer NAG Salia Kpaka stated that the primary education sector in Sierra Leone is beset with problems such as low wages, unpaid salary and lack of incentive. He said the survey conducted by his organization revealed massive corruption in Primary School Education.
He said this is related to bribery, the erroneous award of contracts for the delivery of education and procurement of goods and services. He also examined the nexus between the Primary School Education and the decentralization process. The Director Public Education and External Outreach, Dr Ivan Ajibola Thomas narrated the preventive, education and investigation work the Anti-Corruption Commission has embarked on in collaboration with the Ministry of Education to minimize corruption in the school management system. Dr. Thomas said the Ministry of Education has been addressing and arresting ghost schools syndrome which is responsible for sub-standard education and poor service delivery system in the education sector. In other workshops relating to corruption and media, Dr Ajibola Thomas spoke on the significance of the Anti-Corruption Act 2008 and its provisions which seeks to bring accountability and integrity in public life and makes corruption a high risk venture in Sierra Leone. He spoke of the Commission’s engagement with Civil Society Organizations, the media, and accountability institutions to develop partnership in the fight against corruption.
The Conference concluded that inter-disciplinary cooperation needs to be a priority for the anti-corruption movement, acknowledging the linkages between corruption, climate change, human rights, the justice system, good governance sustainability and globalization. The team from Sierra Leone developed a network of international contact and partnership with accountability institutions worldwide.