Speaking to senior officers of the Sierra Leone Roads Authority (SLRA), the Road Maintenance Fund Authority (RMFA), Sierra Leone Road Safety Authority (SLRSA) and the Sierra Leone Police (SLP), Deputy Commissioner, ACC, Shollay Davies, declared that the Commission is determined to get rid of all opportunities for corruption, related to the implementation of road safety codes.
The Deputy Commissioner expressed dismay over situations that have been creating breeding ground for bribery in the enforcement of road safety laws. Referring to the set of ‘road furniture’ that defines what road engineers’ call the ‘language of the road’, Mr. Davies pointed out that effective laws demand clear definitions and sustained public education. The veteran anti-graft crusader passionately lamented that the ACC is concerned about the obscurity created in enforcing laws on road marks and signs in places where there are no visible road marks for instance. He advanced that the import of the meeting is to identify who is responsible for what, so that all opportunities for corruption that may arise in these situations are prevented.
Emphasizing the resolve of the ACC to ensure bribe free roads in the country, the Director of Systems and Processes Review Department (SPRD), Rashid Babar Turay, reflected on a previous meeting with the SLRSA where the two institutions expressed their determination to work together in accomplishing the same goal. Director Turay further noted that his Department is set to review the systems and processes of all MDAs concerned with the installation, funding and enforcement of road markings and signs, thereby preventing all gaps that are likely to fertilize corruption.
Responding to ACC’s concerns, Director of Planning, Programs, Monitoring and Evaluation of the RMFA, Richmond Sesay, agreed that there is need to bring more sanity in the enforcement process of the language of the road. He was quick to clear his agency out of the situation, stating that the RMFA only funds proposals on road markings and signs as and when tabled to their Authority by the SLRA.
On his part, Route Commander of the SLRSA, Victor Kobba argues that the SLRSA is not involved in any corrupt activity in the execution of their duties on defaulters of road marks, signs and regulations. He however acknowledged that sometimes they had to enforce the law even in places where there are no visible road marks. He blames this situation on the SLRA which has the authority by law to install and design road signs and marks.
Deputy Director of SPRD, ACC, Alhassan Kargbo, intimated the stakeholders that, where lines are not clearly drawn and law not clearly defined, opportunity for corruption arises. Mr. Kargbo noted that in as much as the ACC wants to promote the rule of law on the roads, arrests for offences on road signs and markings in areas where the furniture are not visible, would be categorized as arbitrary. This situation, the DD noted, is one of the things the Commission aims at addressing.
Acting Head of Traffic, SLP, CSP Patrick Johnson expressed optimism that matters relating to road safety will be made to work more effectively if the SLRSA, the SLRA and the SLP work concertedly. He further commended the ACC for the very thoughtful and laudable venture in bringing together the stakeholders on road safety.
Closing the meeting the Deputy Commissioner stated that the Commission will urgently follow-up on the situation until there is complete sanity.