Sierra Leone News: Bike riders complain of too much bribery at Tikonko checkpoint

Some of the bike riders plying the route between Kakua and Tikonko Chiefdoms in Bo District are alleging that too much is going on at the Tikonko checkpoint in Tikonko chiefdom and have called on the Anti-Corruption Commission [ACC] to spring into action to either put a stop to it or reduce the act of bribery at the checkpoint.
This comes after the Pay No Bribe campaign facilitated by the Center for Accountability and Rule of Law was put into gear.
Speaking to this medium in a downbeat mood on condition of anonymity after sensitization of the Pay No Bribe [PNB] campaign, a bike rider who appeared to be youngish said that it is good that the PNB animators are going around in the Bo district to facilitate the report about corruption in the country. The young bike rider said that it is good that ACC speedily look into the report that they are sending to the ACC call center during the PNB campaign so that those involved in petty corruption will stop or reduce it.
“Too much bribery at the Tikonko checkpoint should be treated with the utmost seriousness. I am not lying. I want the ACC officials to disguise as a rider and go to the checkpoint to verify my report of corruption,” he said.
Another rider who also spoke to AWOKO on the condition of anonymity for fear of reprisal claimed that even when they have all their documents in place for their motor bike the police at the Tikonko Checkpoint will still go ahead to demand money from them before they are allowed to move to their respective destinations, adding that “it will be good for the ACC to come down hard on them if we want corruption to be reduced or totally put a stop to it.”
Some of the Police officers attached at the Tikonko checkpoint categorically denied that there is nothing like too much corruption or bribery at the checkpoint as claimed by some riders plying their area of operation.
According to them, the Inspector General of Police [IGP] had cautioned them not to involve in any act of corruption as disciplinary action will be taken against anyone found wanting, adding that “what is making the riders to level allegations against them is when we want to enforce the traffic rules without compromise.”
The Southern Region Chairman of Civil Society who doubles as the Regional Coordinator of the Center for Accountability and the Rule of Law [CARL]- Sierra Leone, Jeremy Ben Simbo encouraged people to report the act of corruption.
He said that his organization is among the civil society organizations that the ACC brought on board for the PNB, noting that the fight against corruption requires the collective effort of all and sundry, as ACC alone will not be able to fight corruption in the country.
Mr. Simbo pointed out that the people can also report when workers in the piloted Ministry, Departments and Agencies [MDAs] including health, police, electricity, education and water offer services to people without asking for money.
The animators, he said are in the communities to facilitate reports of people in their community or the people can also call the 515 with their phone and directly make their report to the call center, adding that the animators trained by his organization with support from the ACC and its partners are not ACC workers “but merely facilitating reports.”
By Aruna Kamara in Bo
Thursday November 24, 2016