The meeting comes days ahead of the end of the six-months pilot phase of the PNB campaign.
“While we wrap up the first phase of the PNB campaign, it is necessary to strengthen our partnership, to stay committed to making success and sacrifices in tackling bribery and corruption. We believe the campaign will be extended because we are fast taking ownership of it, and Sierra Leoneans are becoming aware of the importance to reject bribes and the need to report same through the 515 PNB free line,” Samuel Marah told his audience.
Samuel Marah said it should be the concern of the Media, Petty Traders Union, Sierra Leone Traders Union, Bike Riders, Motor Drivers Union, CARL, SLAJ, and other CSOs present to continue to raise awareness on bribery since it affects their constituents. CSOs like Drivers Union, Bike Riders, and Traders Union should mount sensitization campaigns targeting their membership on the dangers of bribery and how to make complaints through the 515 free line. CSOs should also engage institutions like the police, health, education, and electricity, where PNB complaints are increasing, to develop public education campaigns and to initiate and implement policies intolerant to malpractice, while enhancing efficiency in service delivery.
Jeremy Simbo, Southern Coordinator, Center for Accountability and the Rule of Law (CARL), said CSOs represent the interest of Sierra Leoneans. As interest groups, it is their role to advocate for the welfare of the citizenry: to ensure sanity in the traffic, prevent malpractices in education, address bribery in the health sector, curb bottlenecks in electricity meter acquisition, forestall petty corruption in commerce, and to prevent hindrance water connection and distribution in the operations of SALWACO.
He urged CSOs present and the media to provide oversight functions to monitor implementation of the Pay No Bribe campaign, and to educate their membership on the importance of reporting instances of bribery on accessing services of the police, education, health, electricity, and water. Mr. Simbo said CARL has animators in the fifteen chiefdoms of Bo District, helping people file in complaints using the PNB App.
Richard Ngevao, SLAJ Southern Regional Chairman, said bribery is a plague to society. He underscored, the media has been persistent in lifting the red flag where there are seeming issues of corruption and will continue to work with the ACC to control the spate of malpractice. He said SLAJ provides voice to the voiceless so that everybody is brought onboard the campaign to defeat bribery.
PRO Bike Riders Union and Secretary-General Drivers Union said, their relationship with the ACC is strong due to their collaboration in the roll out of the PNB. They pledged commitment to the campaign.
The Pay No Bribe campaign has injected speed in the fight against bribery in Bo District. The Commission has held partnership meetings with MDAs, CSOs, and the Media in order to reinvigorate interest in the fight and make commitment in sustaining it, through advocacy and implementation.