Two members of the Strategic Team of the COVID-19 Response Transparency Task Force of the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC), the Coordinator of Operations, Emmanuel Koivaya Amara Esq., and the Director of Public Education and Outreach, Patrick Sandi, have on Friday 14th August, 2020 concluded engagements with five (5) District Corona Virus Emergency Response Centers (DiCOVERCs) in the South (Bo, Moyamba, Bonthe and Pujehun) and Eastern (Kenema and Kailahun) regions of Sierra Leone.
The engagements which were very interactive aimed at ensuring that the DiCOVERCs are mindful of the accountability and integrity regimes in the management and utilization of public and donor resources meant for the control and containment of the pandemic.
Addressing staff of the DiCOVERCs, Director, Public Education and Outreach, Patrick Sandi outlined the composition and rationale for the establishment of the Task Force, led by the Commissioner, and the Deputy Commissioner.
He underscored that the meetings with the DiCOVERCs Pillar Leads were not to undermine their good efforts in the response, but one which sought to ensure the effective and judicious use of public/donor funds and resources that will guarantee efficient quality service delivery.
Mr. Sandi updated members of the DiCOVERCs on the activities and operations of the Task Force since its establishment and launch.
In his submission, the Coordinator of Operations, Emmanuel Koivaya Amara Esq. highlighted the relevant provisions in the Anti-Corruption Act of 2008 as Amended in 2019 as they relate to integrity, transparency and accountability. He also stated that the law has the appropriate preventive and punitive measures, once any person contravenes it.
However, the ACC was keen on the prevention of corruption and corrupt practices rather than on prosecution-hence the engagements with the DiCOVERCs are to instill and mainstream best practices in their programs and activities.
The District Coordinators of the DiCOVERCs appreciated the move by the ACC, and pledged their commitments to support accountability guidelines as would be recommended by the Commission.
Various Pillar Leads of the DiCOVERCs; quarantine, psycho-social, laboratory, data management, logistics, case management/surveillance, social mobilization and risk communication, finance and administration, and security, provided updates on their programs and activities, and also catalogued the challenges. Key among the challenges are; the delays in the payment of incentives and allowances meant for health and non-health care workers, and the delays in the turn-around time of 48 hours for COVID-19 Test results, with only Kenema District that has the laboratory to service all the seven (7) Districts in the South and East.
The ACC team also provided skills-support to the Admin/Finance, Quarantine and Logistics Leads in the areas of records management and proper reporting mechanisms that would eliminate the opportunities of corruption which were obvious in the programs and activities of the DiCOVERCs.
Visits to treatment centers and quarantine facilities, including radio talk shows formed part of the exercise.
Similar engagements to provide a comprehensive, holistic and national perspective and impression on the operations of the DiCOVERCs will be held in the remaining Districts of the North-East, North-West Regions and Kono District.