Taking the queue from the words of Commissioner Joseph Fitzgerald Kamara, who has always emphatically and categorically maintained that religious leaders and scholars are key in the fight against graft, Public Education Officer Magnus Bendu intimated the audience that the Bible has many provisions which reveals God’s anti-corruption Act and Strategy.
He argues that all laws, including the AC Act 2008, have their roots from the Bible. Referring to Exodus 20, the ACC Officer maintains that the Ten Commandments are what constitute God’s Anti-Corruption Act. Going through the commandments, Mr. Bendu identified in them several elements of corruption offences that are entailed in the 2008 AC Act. Some of these include the offence of impersonation which is linked to the third commandment which negates the use of the name of the Lord in vain. The fourth commandment on ‘rest in the seventh day after six days of work’ identifies with abuse of office and position as a result of irregularity. The eight commandment on stealing also relates to the right to own, linking, it to asset declaration, misappropriation of public and donor funds and helping to detect unexplained wealth, etc.
The ACC presenter further noted that God hates corruption. For God, corruption is spiritual decay and moral dishonesty. It is the same as sin. Several biblical passages were advanced to show how God is against corrupt practices. The ACC presenter noted that in God’s Anti-Corruption Act, the fine for corruption is mainly death as for Ananias and Sapphira who committed misappropriation of funds; and life imprisonment as for Adam and Eve who stole fruit and so were driven from the Garden of Eden to the earth permanently.
Mr. Bendu therefore encouraged the Bible scholars and Church leaders that because the fight against corruption is part of their religious duty, they should always be ready to reject, resist and report people who commit corruption offences as stated in AC Act 2008. He also informed them that the Commissioner of the ACC, Mr. Joseph F. Kamara had a similar engagement with Muslim clerics and worshippers at the Rokupa Central (Gaddafi) Mosque on Friday 30th October, 2015.
In response, the religious leaders and scholars vowed to take their rightful place in the fight against corruption as active whistle blowers, advocates and activists citing the example of Bishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu of South Africa. They praised the ACC for being proactive in the fight against corruption in Sierra Leone.
Other speakers in the seminar were Cyril Juxon-Smith who spoke on the impact of media and public relations on the church, Abu Njai who spoke on the socio-economic status of Sierra Leone pre and post EVD and Ahmed Faray Kargbo who spoke on the activities of the Constitutional Review Committee (CRC).