The main objective of the training was to build capacity of member-states of anti-corruption institutions to help combat corruption in the sub-region.
Addressing participants from the sub-region, the Commissioner of the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) Sierra Leone, Joseph Fitzgerald Kamara commended NACIWA and the United Nations Office of Drugs and Crime (UNODC) for initiating such a training that would build capacity and at the same time participants would use the forum to exchange knowledge about the challenges of corruption in the sub-region. He pointed out that the cost of corruption has reduced the amount of money the government has to pay workers and purchase of goods for the well being of its citizens and those with money and influence circumvent the law. Symptoms of corruption Commissioner Fitzgerald Kamara highlighted were; unexplained wealth, sudden change of lifestyle, weakness in the internal audit control, consistent failure to correct major weaknesses among others. He went further to say that the main reason why corruption is so endemic in the sub-region is because people fail to imbibe the culture of integrity. He encouraged the participants not to relent in the fight against corruption before the pandemic turns around to consume the region.
The President of the Network of Anti-Corruption Institutions in West Africa (NACIWA), Issoufou Boureima called on States in the West Africa regions to increase funding for the running of anti corruption institutions in the region. He said NACIWA has an important role to play in the good governance process in West Africa. Mr. Boureima said the training is timely because it would expose participants to laws, treaties and agreements and it would also evaluate relevant legal instruments and administrative measures with a view to determining how adequate they are to prevent and fight corrupt. He informed the gathering that there is no one size fits all solution when it comes to the design and implementation of anti corruption issues as there are various contexts of corruption challenges from country to country. He called on participants to ignore the pessimists and serve their conscience.
Samuel De Jayere of United Nations Office of Drugs and Crimes acknowledged the work of the ACC, in his comparative report in the sub-region. Mr. De Jayere said ACC Sierra Leone is the most efficient Commission in terms of knowledge of anti corruption issues, quality of work, number of cases taken to court, prosecuting financial management and robust public education campaigns.
The training covered topics such as; overview of criminal justice systems in Anglophone countries, overview of the United Nations Convention Against Corruption (UNCAC), the African Union Convention on preventing and combating corruption, ECOWAS protocol on the fight against corruption, corruption related legislations money laundering, asset recovery, whistle blower protection; promoting anti corruption values and attitudes and building a culture of integrity, engaging the public in the fight against corruption; the role of civil society and the media in preventing corruption and national anti corruption strategies and the role they play in preventing corruption, forensic accounting and litigation support; and preventing corruption in political party financing .
Mohamed Kromah, Head of the Policy and Ethics Unit of the Anti-Corruption Commission Sierra Leone in an interview praised NACIWA for initiating such training for staff of anti corruption agencies all over West Africa and also gaining new skills in the fight against corruption.