The Zero Corruption Campaign (ZCC) which is a civil society partner organization of the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC), with support from the SIERRA LEONE COMMERCIAL BANK, LEONE ROCK METAL and UNITED BANK FOR AFRICA has on a two-day Anti-Corruption Sensitization drive, shared vital Integrity Messages with pupils in schools in both Makeni and Port Loko on the 9th and 10th of January, 2024 respectively.
Making his statement at the commencement of the Engagement in Makeni at the Saint Francis Secondary School, Executive Director of the Zero Corruption Campaign, Elison John informed the hundreds of students that converged at the School’s devotion ground, that they as Civil Society Partners poised to address the scourge of corruption, are appalled at the attitude of pupils engaging in Malpractices.
He said this will seriously affect them, and further cause them to either drop out of school at some point or at the end acquire qualifications that will not reflect their output.
Mr. John disclosed that the over 34000 results seized by the West African Examination Council (WAEC) in the previous Senior School Certificate Examination because of suspected malpractices, is a serious concern that they as an organization are determined to address. “Whilst we keep engaging stakeholders in ensuring that we are able to tackle this. Part of finding a lasting solution is what informs our sensitization drive”, he stated.
He encouraged them to remain studious and focus on their academic work, and eschew all forms of malpractices.
Public Relations Assistant, ACC, Alex A. Bah in his admonishment across the schools visited, said the Commission is the institution that is only leading in the fight against Corruption, but the fight is a collective and national one that requires all shades of society to dedicate their much needed support. This he stated is what informs the ZCC as one of the partners to lend their voice in amplifying anti-graft messages.
Mr. Bah disclosed that the Commission in its 2019 amendment of the 2008 Anti-Corruption Act, made all forms of academic malpractices a criminal offence that attracts stiffer sanctions – 50 Million Leones (Old) or 5 years jail term, or both. _”The Commission recognizes the importance of education and young people as the Commonwealth of the society. We therefore encourage you to imbibe the values of honesty at this formative stage to eventually maximize your potential and contribute to the growth of Sierra Leone.
We find pleasure in discouraging people from committing any corruption offence, but not to arrest and Prosecute. This is why we consistently forwarn the public”, he averred.
Principals of the various Schools sensitized, profoundly thanked the ZCC whilst noting that the ACC usually visits and reminds them with these messages. They underscored that they equally admonish their staff and pupils to inculcate the tenets of academic honesty. Principal of the Benevolent Islamic Secondary School Makeni, Abdul Salam Conteh reiterated his commitment to curbing examination malpractices. He stated that there is zero tolerance for malpractices in his school and they often take photos of pupils caught with evidence and display those photos on their school’s notice boards.
He said this is part of their uncompromising posture on the same, emphasizing its far reaching repercussions if entertained.
The sensitization which started in Makeni with Saint Francis and Benevolent Islamic Schools, also benefited Maforki Islamic and Port Loko Catholic Secondary School, both in Port Loko, North Western Region of Sierra Leone.
Similar engagements are expected in other parts of the country including the Western Area.
In a related development, the Executive Director ZCC, Elison John on the 8th and 11th January 2024, also engaged prominent radio and television stations in Freetown in the bid to convey anti-graft messages that relate to the dangers and far-reaching impacts of Examination Malpractices.
(@) Zero Corruption Campaign Media Team