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The Anti-Corruption Commission unveils anti-bribery citizens ‘Pay No Bribe’ reporting platform

UK Government’s Anti-Corruption Support to Sierra Leone

Pay No Bribe (PNB) is an innovative reporting platform where citizens can anonymously report incidents of petty corruption and bribery. Citizens can register an incident by calling a hotline phone number (515), the PNB website or on a mobile application in Krio, Mende and Temne. The recorded data will allow the Government of Sierra Leone (GoSL) to monitor public sector corruption trends, and use quantitative evidence to design more effective anti-corruption policy and processes.

PNB is modelled on other successful systems in Ghana, Uganda, and India. In keeping with the GoSL’s commitment to tackle petty corruption and bribery in key service areas, the platform allows citizens to anonymously record incidents in key areas such as water and sanitation, healthcare, education, police and energy. Incidents are logged according to location, the type of bribe requested and (if monetary) the amount. Age and gender are also recorded.

PNB is not a system for investigating people or punitive action, it is a data capturing tool allowing the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) to collect and share data and trends with relevant GoSL ministries departments and agencies (MDAs). The MDAs will use this data to address corruption at source through administrative action or systems/ policy reforms. The ACC will regularly publish data reports, spotlighting trends among public services, as well as progressive action taken by MDAs. Members of the public, media organisations, CSOs and other interested parties can also access data and action updates via the PNB website.

PNB reporting platform will be unveiled in Freetown-the Western Area, and popularized in Bo, Kenema and Bombali. For its first six months, public awareness outreach and engagements will be conducted by local civil society organisations (CSOs). Citizens will be able to access local CSO representatives in towns and villages to register incidents via the PNB app and mobile phones. After this initial pilot phase, PNB may be expanded into new sectors, or new districts, allowing nationwide coverage.

PNB is led jointly by the Anti-Corruption Commission and the Office of the Chief of Staff, in coordination with relevant MDAs and is part of the President’s Delivery Priorities (PRPs). The platform is funded by UK Aid and GoSL. Coffey International has provided technical support to the ACC and GoSL in developing the PNB platform.

PNB is an important tool in the fight against corruption in Sierra Leone. Corruption is pervasive throughout the state and although there has been improvement, corruption involved in the access to basic services threatens economic gains made since the end of the war in 2002. Citizens have not reaped the full benefits of national growth as corruption exacerbates poor quality of life.

Citizens currently have few channels through which to challenge corruption when they experience it, have little ability to hold officials or local politicians to account and little access to sanctions or redress. Where the burden of corruption falls on the poorest, PNB gives citizens a voice and empowers them to feed into national change, encouraging government-citizen engagement.

Mr Ady Macauley, Commissioner, Anti-Corruption Commission: “We will roll out the ‘Pay No Bribe’ Campaign, which puts the weapons to beat the evil of corruption in Sierra Leone into the hands of the public. It allows individuals to tell us in confidence when they have been asked to pay a bribe for health, education, water, power and police services. “Ministries, Departments and Agencies will act on this information to tackle bribery ‘hotspots’ and will report back to the public on the action they have taken.”

Guy Warrington, the British High Commissioner: “This new reporting platform is another strong example of the British Government working alongside Government of Sierra Leone on programmes which will make a real difference to the lives of people in this country. Corruption ruins people’s lives, and stops countries becoming wealthier. The Pay No Bribe programme forms an integral part of the UK’s commitment to supporting the Government of Sierra Leone’s President’s Recovery Priorities.”

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