The Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) of Sierra Leone played host to a delegation of officials from the Ghana Anti-Corruption Coalition (GACC) and the Institute for Governance Reform (IGR) on Tuesday September 26, 2023. The meeting, held at Integrity House on Tower Hill in Freetown centred on the critical topic of implementing audit recommendations from various reports.
In his opening statement, Augustine Foday Ngobie, Deputy Commissioner of the ACC, reiterated the Commission’s dedication to collaborating with GACC and IGR. He emphasized that over the past four years, the ACC has taken substantial actions in response to audit reports, prompted by recurrent issues highlighted in prior reports. Ngobie also clarified the ACC’s role, emphasizing its authority to initiate actions based on suspected corruption allegations received through various channels.
Ngobie further disclosed that the ACC had established a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Audit Service Sierra Leone to enhance cooperation and ensure swift responses to suspected corruption cases, even before audit reports are finalized.
Emmanuel Koivaya Amara, Coordinator of Operations, stressed the importance of debating and acting upon audit reports, particularly by the Public Accounts Committee. He acknowledged the challenges faced by Parliament due to the volume of work and expressed gratitude for the close collaboration between Parliament and the ACC in ensuring necessary actions are taken.
Mohamed Ibrahim Justice Ganawah, Senior Economist at IGR, praised the ACC for its efforts in improving the accountability of public officers. He highlighted that prior to the ACC’s intervention auditors often struggled to obtain requested documents from public officers, contributing to unrecorded cash losses. Ganawah also raised concerns regarding the timeliness and financial implications of the ACC’s actions in cases of misappropriation of public funds.
Beauty Emefa Narteh, Executive Secretary of GACC, commended the ACC and stressed the significance of giving due importance to audit recommendations in West African countries, including Ghana, Sierra Leone, and Benin. She highlighted the widespread issue of trivializing such recommendations and emphasized the need for their effective implementation.
Evelyn Kuyateh, Director of Intelligence and Investigations at the ACC outlined the Commission’s response mechanisms to published audit reports. She highlighted the specialized “Elite Scorpion Team” tasked with swift actions, including arrests in cases of misappropriation.
Patrick Sandi, Director of the Public Education and External Outreach Department, emphasized the ACC’s commitment to transparency and public awareness. He detailed the department’s efforts in disseminating information through press conferences, media releases, and radio and TV programs.
The event concluded with Deputy Commissioner Augustine Foday Ngobie presenting copies of the Anti-Corruption Act of 2008, as amended in 2019. The meeting represented a crucial step in fostering collaboration between anti-corruption bodies and organizations across borders to combat corruption effectively.