As the world commemorates the UN’s Anti-Corruption Day, the office of the Attorney General and the Anti-Corruption Investigation Bureau have teamed up for a social media campaign to address corrupt practices.
Anti-Corruption Day is marked on December 9.
The partnership aims to raise awareness and sensitise the public as part of a national Anti-Corruption Risk Assessment Programme. The social media campaign can be found by searching the hashtag #thatiscorruption and the slogan “Get to Zero… For a Corruption Free T&T.”
In a media release on Wednesday, the partnership, which also includes the UN Development Programme (UNDP), said the campaign includes promoting Crime Stoppers’ call-in number 800 TIPS to report corrupt actions locally.
“Locally, for the year ending October 2021, over 840 reports of corruption were received by the ACIB. None of the reports on record was made using the 800-TIPS system. The anonymous hotline has traditionally been associated with reporting violent crimes, not white-collar crimes or corruption.”
Snr Supt Deryck Walker of the ACIB is quoted as saying the unit was never promoted as an anti-corruption tool.
“Corruption is not treated as a crime that devastates lives. However, the hotline has played a significant part in combatting violent crime, and it holds the same potential for bribery, fraud, extortion, embezzlement and nepotism.”
The release said with public-sector officers as the main target, the programme seeks to identify threats corruption poses to covid19 recovery efforts with the aim of developing measures to prevent and negate such offences.
In June the Auditor General noted over $8 million was lost after citizens accessed both the salary relief grant and the income support grant. The report said over 2,000 people took advantage of the system put in place to address loss of earning as a result of the pandemic.
Last week Lystra Irving, a senior public servant at the Inland Revenue Division, was charged with stealing $1.49 million and multiple other offices after allegedly falsifying government records.
The release said the theme of this year’s Anti-Corruption Day is to highlight the rights and responsibilities of everyone
in tackling corruption.
“This year’s commemoration also promotes the need to unite and face this global problem with shared responsibility. Every person - young and old – plays a role in anti-corruption corruption for societies to achieve greater resilience and integrity at all levels.”