The Anti-Corruption Commission unveils anti-bribery citizens ‘Pay No Bribe’ reporting platform.
October 11, 2016
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 has been 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.”
The system is completely anonymous and no personal details are collected when incidents of bribery and corruption are reported. We recognise that the people who suffer the most from public sector corruption are those who will find reporting the hardest, partly because they fear retribution. PNB guarantees anonymity. No personal data is captured during the logging of incidents on the website or smartphone app. All telephone calls and SMS reports to the call centre are processed through number-blocking technology so each call is anonymous. No personal details are asked for by call centre operators.
What happens to citizen’s information?
The PNB Reporting platform does not hold any personal information on its database.
The reported incidents of corruption are fed into and stored in the database. This data is then processed and analysed by the ACC to establish trends, which are made available on the website. This information is then shared with MDAs.
Information can also be by accessed members of the public, media organisations, CSOs and other interested parties via the PNB website. This helps foster transparency and engagement.
How will you manage false reports?
It is hoped that citizens see PNB as a new and exciting way to effect positive national change and therefore use the tool responsibly.
How user-friendly is the website and App?
The website and app are designed to be very user-friendly. The app and website are available in different local languages (Krio, Mende and Temne). There is also audio available for non-literate users on the tablet application.
How will you publicise Pay No Bribe?
Our communications campaign is aimed at creating understanding and ownership of PNB among the general public and other stakeholders. We will use posters, radio and television to convey the message and explain how the system works. Following the official launch, the ACC and CSOs will do outreach in the different districts of Sierra Leone, engaging and discussing PNB with citizens.
What is the role of the Media in Pay No Bribe?
The media plays a key role in investigating corruption and informing the public about the work of the ACC and PNB. A series of media workshops on anti-corruption laws and strategies will present the media with the tools and techniques to investigate and report on corruption more effectively.
Who owns Pay No Bribe?
PNB is owned by the GoSL. However, its effectiveness depends on the willingness on both sides - the general public’s willingness to report, and the public sector’s willingness to listen and take action. It will take time and patience for people to learn to trust the system and time for MDAs to develop effective responses.
What is the role of UK Aid and Coffey International in PNB?
PNB was developed as part of a larger Anti-Corruption Support to Sierra Leone programme funded by the GOSL and the UK Department for International Development (DFID). DFID is a leader in supporting anti-corruption efforts in developing countries. The programme is managed by Coffey International, which is one of DFID’s key delivery partners.
Coffey won the contract to implement the programme through DFID’s competitive bid process. Coffey is part of the wider Tetra Tech group, which implements over 250 projects in more than 100 countries. Tetra Tech and Coffey have over 40 years of experience in development, and significant expertise in institutional strengthening and anti-corruption programming.