ACC has commenced action on 2019 auditor general report – says anti-corruption czar

Sierra Leone Telegraph: 21 December 2020:

There is intense debate and speculation on social media and across the political divide in Sierra Leone, about what should now happen to the findings of the damning report into the government’s mismanagement of the country’s financial affairs, published last week by Audit Service Sierra Leone.

At least 177 billion Leones in cash cannot be accounted for by the government, along with millions of dollars swindled through corrupt public procurement arrangements, as well as the disappearance of many items bought by the government for public use – such as dozens of laptop computers and an electricity generator meant for assisting in the fight against the covid pandemic.

The 2019 audit report makes for chilling reading, for a president that promised to close what he referred to during the 2018 election campaign as “leakages” in the former government’s finances.

President Bio also promised to curb the abuse of office by government officials and the rampant corruption in high places, that is destroying the lives of millions of people in a country classed as one of the poorest in the world. Today, president Bio himself stands accused.

Many in Sierra Leone are now calling for the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) to commence immediate investigation into the findings of the report, and today the Anti-Corruption Czar – Mr Francis Ben Kaifala (Photo) said in a twitter post that – the ACC “will today commence immediate action on the 2019 Audit report working with Parliament”.

This is what the ACC said in a statement published today:      

“The Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) wishes to inform the general public that the tabling in Parliament and publication of the Auditor General’s Report for the Financial Year ended 31st December 2019 and the COVID-19 Report by the Audit Service Sierra Leone have been brought to its attention and that it has commenced immediate examination of the same.

“The ACC attaches utmost importance to the Auditor General’s Reports. As such, in recent times, the Commission had provided and will continue to provide updates to the public through Serialized Media Releases on the many interventions and outcomes in regard the Audit Reports 2015-2018 which resulted in investigations, prosecutions, convictions, recovery of huge sums, prevention measures, and, in appropriate situations, exoneration and clearing of persons and institutions.

“More importantly, the Commission is also cognizant of the role of Parliament regarding this issue and it shall be collaborating with them.

“The Commission preliminarily notes that that there are various issues in the report that it had already commenced or concluded investigations into, either due to the fact that they arose in the year 2019 or, they were already the subject of investigations before the conclusion of the audit.

“For those still under investigation, it will continue and conclude them speedily. For the rest, it will work with Parliament and Audit Service Sierra Leone to ensure that each party performs its role to ensure that the various issues of concern are speedily and accordingly addressed without favour or anyone.

“The ACC is now examining the Reports with a view to ascertaining violations of the Anti-Corruption Act 2008 as Amended in 2019, or needs for intervention by the ACC; and/or identify system weaknesses within the audited institutions for appropriate prevention efforts to address them.

“It wishes to make it very clear that anyone found wanting shall face the full consequences prescribed by law with no exceptions. In this regard, the public is encouraged to exercise patience while the Commission does a thorough review and analysis of the Reports and thereafter commence taking action as may be expedient.”

But as the country’s parliament closed today for Christmas break, the National Grand Coalition Party leader in parliament – Dr Kandeh Kolleh Yumkella, reminded the Speaker and fellow MPs that over two months ago on October 22, he and a colleague MP tabled a motion, which was adopted unanimously by the House for a debate on the 2018 and 2019 reports of the Auditor General along with the specialized audits -including the COVID-19 report on how funds meant for tackling the pandemic have been spent.

Dr Yumkella said he wanted to make sure that the reports are put on the agenda when  parliament reconvenes next year, and that MPs can use the Christmas break to study its findings.

7 Comments

  1. It’s rather unfortunate that while countries around the world are spending their time trying to control this pandemic, because of the deadline given to the corrupt and destructive APC to return their looting, the Auditor General office is just trying to create sensational news by distracting the NACOVERC team that are in the process of sacrificing their lives to save lives and livelihoods in our beloved nation. Why should these people mortgage their integrity for just laptops and single generator.

    Comparing pandemic which only happened in 1918 -1919 which was the influenza caused by the H1N1 virus that resulted in at least 50 million deaths worldwide with about 675,00 occurred in the USA and currently counting almost 350,000 deaths with the Ebola disease 2014-2016 which resulted in 11,310 deaths in only the Mano River Countries and only 15 deaths outside, is not only ludicrous but insane.
    The whole world is now suffering from not only health crisis but also financial crisis then decided to pour millions of dollars into Sierra Leone just to prevent the Ebola from spreading around the world but unfortunately was stolen by the APC government during the deaths of almost 4,000 of our citizens.

    The reality is the laptops and generator are not missing and the 177 billion of missing Leones are cumulative amounts from 2015 based on the fact that government is continuity and some of the unaccounted monies are still rolling in the current audit report until they are accounted for, so let’s continue to follow the process and give time to the parliament and ACC to continue to perform their constitutional duties rather than drawing hasty conclusions based on revenge and propaganda.

  2. I am in a state of confusion; how can a government that pledged their loyalty in the fight against corruption find themselves in a big mess?

  3. I do agree with your analysis. The main thing that puzzled me is the timing of the submission of the Auditor General’s report, just after Sierra Leone qualified to get $400 Million from the MCC (I am not referring to the Monrovia City Corporation MCC) but the Millennium Challenge Corporation from the USA, immediately the 99 Tactics took to the roads of Salone. I hope the ACC investigate it well.

  4. This is not about party or personal interest. But for the betterment of our one and only mama Salone; as the Krio man say “eat small N lef smoll” duya papa Government.

  5. There is a reason why the international community institutions and the USA government rated our country as the least corrupt country in our region with 81% ratings. The credibility of Sierra Leone plummeted in two years under the new direction government after the 11 years of the misrule of the destructive and thieving APC party rating of 40%. The reality is, even during the 10 years of the past SLPP government under the leadership of late President Tejan Kabba, our country experienced this same destructive propaganda and the destructive APC party then succeeded in brainwashing some musicians to release music accusing the government of corruption, but after the commission of inquiry by the APC, no evidence of corruption was discovered.

    Within a year of the destructive APC Party in power, based on the massive corruption that was discovered, the same musician released “ Yesterday betteh pas tiday” and later when the looting intensified and Austerity was declared, ”Munku boss Pan matches” was released which was the final nail on the coffin for the destructive APC party.

    I hope and pray that the ACC will not listen to all the noises of the destructive APC party and just work with the parliament and recommendations by the Auditor General report, because I personally believe that by the end of the day after all the relevant documents which are still needed by the institutions are tendered, most of the new direction government officials will be vindicated based on the fact that they respect the fight against corruption.

    • You know Mr Fallay, having people of your type in the midst of us sierra Leoneans is really disheartening and disappointing. Not even the culprits of the Ebola and mudslide saga are close to this level of kleptocratic and inhuman nature. At least those folks were not out there flaunting a defenseless point like what you are doing now. Even though that is still not to give them a pass for what they did, but as “OL KABOR NA KABOR” so too is “SOME KABOR PAS KABOR”. As in this newly dubbed “new direction” the latter applied most fittingly. As King Masco once said in one of his songs that:’SIERRA LEONEANS, WE NEED TO CHANGE OUR ATTITUDE IF WE ARE TO MOVE SIERRA LEONE FORWARD’

      Guys like you out there really need to put down your ego of blind loyalty to rest for the sake of Sierra Leone in general and us the people in particular. No one is condoning evil but once we make up our mind as people in moving forward to a new chapter, that should be our only focus and determination to succeed in achieving goals in the said chapter. I believe that was the principle nature behind the birth of the NEW DIRECTION. Unlike you and some of your maniacs who cannot tell the difference between water and blood, many of us are against corruption, since day one and will continue to do so till it is minimised if not eradicated.

      Some of us have been critical of the previous administration of EBK for not doing much in the fight against corruption even though there were great strides made, but what we are seeing happening right now under this BIO administration, is a total disgrace to Sierra Leoneans. If you can’t tell the difference between a goat and a duck, sit down, be quiet and let us show you the difference ok..

  6. Hey Dan Kamara, are you asking me to wait and see what Ben Kelfala will do to his bosses who stand accused of pillaging our nation’s resources? Hahaha. Perhaps you have just waken up from a deep slumber, or else you would not come to this glorious intellectual platform to declare outright propagandist statement to satisfy who knows what! Now before wasting anyone’s time in this noble platform, here are a few corrupt acts that have taken place almost a year now, with the culprits being Bio and his henchmen—the missing 140 billion in 2018 report, the over 50,000 bags of Chinese rice stolen, the chief minister’s 1.5 million dollar saga. Please Dan Kamara, provide to this noble platform exactly who Ben Kelfala has named and shamed publicly, in addition to being asked to repay any stolen resources. Just name us one corrupt Bio official that Ben Kelfala has dealt with, to convince me otherwise my friend.

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