Pyne said dismantling of Tikonko checkpoint is a relief to drivers and an economic gain to traders and other passengers.
The team conducted on a spot-check at the Union and the traffic Division of the Sierra Leone Police to the impact created by the Pay No Bribe (PNB) campaign on the two sectors. In the last eight months, relationship was sour. Intimidation of drivers were incredibly high. Police used to arrest and charge to court eight to ten drivers per day in Bo District. The two sectors saw each other as friendly enemies. However, compliance to the law and the PNB has helped the situation in that police may arrest and charge to court now two drivers a day.
Barely three months ago, the SLP demolished nine checkpoints across southern region following PNB reports that they are centers for the occurrence of bribery and other forms of corruption and corrupt practices.
It appears though that some officers persist in the demand for bribes at some illegal and makeshift checkpoints along Bo-Kenema Highway. Southern Coordinator CARL, Jeremy Simbo, said drivers continue to pay booking fee at Kalia checkpoint, some seven miles from Bo. “There is no visible barrier there, but the officers will lodge themselves underneath a mango tree, while commercial drivers will pull over and attend to them by booking,” Jeremy said. He noted that the bribes are paid willingly by drivers.
Jeremy Simbo also noted that, there is another checkpoint at Baiama village, one mile from CKC, that demands booking fee from commercial drivers and bike riders. He called on the Divisional Traffic Officer (DTO) to take swift action against personnel breaking the law.
Pyne argued that any driver who fails to pull over and book will be arrested on his return trip. “The officers do not need to pull over drivers physically, the understanding is already there. If you do not book you will be arrested and charged to court” Pyne told the team. It is the police orchestrating payment of the bribes, he said jerkily.
Assistant Superintendent of Police and DTO South, Sidie Thomas, confirmed that relationship between the police and drivers is cordial. He acknowledged presence of certain officers at Kalia, but could not confirm their assignment there.
Pay No Bribe campaign has made significant success in the country. Senior Public Education Officer ACC, Alimamy Lahai Kamara said, it does not only record complaints of bribery happening in ministries, departments, and agencies, but, we now know it also build relationships between the formal and non formal sectors of the State. Mr. Kamara said friendly association between the SLP and Sierra Leone Motor Drivers Union will lead to reduction in bribery and corruption in the traffic, increase in service delivery, increase in business activities, reduction in accidents on the Highway, and reduction in crime rates especially smuggling, overloading, and carriage of conductors on the roof-top of vehicles. He said the Commission is interested in friendly relation between the two sectors working as partners in development, while at the same time checking on one another’s excesses by making reports through the PNB platform.
The PNB is funded by UK Aid through DfID, and GoSL, with Coffey International providing technical support to the ACC and GoSL in the implementation of the project.