ACC Cautions Paramount Chiefs on Use of Surface Rents
The Regional Manager of the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) office in Kono has called on paramount chiefs, local council representatives, chiefdom clerks, and parliamentary representatives in the district to imbibe transparency and accountability in the utilization of surface rents paid to them by mining companies.
Hawanatu Kamara made the call during the payment of surface rents by the Pan African Rare Metal Mining Company to the three mining chiefdoms of Nimiyama, Sandor, and Nimikoro chiefdoms in the Kono district which took place at the Kono District Council Hall.
Speaking at the event, the Manager said that the ACC has the mandate to ask questions and investigate all public expenditures in the country. She continued that the ACC has held customized meetings with almost all the chiefdom development committees in the district to solicit their support in the fight against corruption and to guide them in making use of best practices in the implementation of chiefdom funds. She continued that, treasury clerks (chiefdom treasurers) and councils have been trained to ensure transparency and accountability in the utilization of these funds.
The Manager also explained some of the offenses in the Anti-Corruption Act of 2008 as amended in 2019; corrupt acquisition of wealth, influencing a public officer, peddling influence, bribery, soliciting an advantage, misappropriation of public funds and property, possession of unexplained wealth, among others. She also said that the Commission has now deployed Prevention Officers at regional offices to monitor projects and proffer recommendations for best practices. “The Commission will not only be monitoring the utilization of surface rents but also the Diamond Area Community Development Fund,” the Manager emphasized.
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Mrs. Kamara said that the surface rent has five components which are paid to paramount chiefs, land owners, chiefdom development, constituency development, and local council.
She noted that the Commission is only concerned with the utilization of rents paid for chiefdom development, constituency development, and local councils, describing them as public funds. She, therefore,e,e,e,e,e, warned all the custodians of the rents to utilize the funds for their intended purposes and be transparent and accountable.
Speaking on behalf of the paramount chiefs, Hon. P.C. Sheku A.T Fasuluku Sonsiama III of Sandor chiefdom thanked the ACC Manager for the words of admonition delivered at the event.
He assured all present that the funds will be judiciously utilized for the intended purposes, noting that no paramount chief or treasury clerk will dare misappropriate any of the funds.
The Chairman of the Parliamentary Committee on Mining, Hon. Saa Emerson Lamina also expressed gratitude to the Commission for the good work it has been doing under the leadership of Commissioner Francis Ben Kaifala Esq., which has led the Commission to be an icon among Anti-corruption institutions in the sub-region. He, therefore, solicited residents of the district to join the fight against corruption and to report incidences of graft to the Commission.