Auditor General and Anti-Corruption Commissioner questioned by parliamentary committee

Sierra Leone Telegraph: 25 January 2021:

Sierra Leone’s Auditor General – Lara Taylor-Pearce and the Anti-Corruption Commissioner – Francis Ben Kaifala, were both last week summoned by the country’s Parliamentary Public Accounts Committee (PAC) chaired by the Deputy Speaker of Parliament – Sengepoh Solomon to answer questions about the Audit Reports.

Responding to several concerns raised by the Committee, regarding press conferences held by the ACC and the AG Office respectively on the COVID-19 Audit, the Auditor General said she is not oblivious of the role of the Public Accounts Committee.

She said that she had to hold a press conference in defence of the reputation and integrity of her Office which was questioned in regard to the 47 laptops and generator mentioned her Audit Report.

When questioned about the authority of the Audit Service to conduct special audits without the warrant of the President or the approval of Parliament, she promised to seek legal interpretation from the Supreme Court regarding that authority.

In light of similar concerns raised, the ACC Commissioner – Francis Ben Kaifala, said that the ACC has not acted on the Auditor General’s Report of 2019, except the COVID-19 Audit due to its sensitivity and the fact that Parliament had gone on its annual recess.

He said the ACC acted in good faith, and not to undercut the role of Parliament, but to redeem the image of the country at a time when civil society organizations and the media had populated their spaces with contents of the COVID-19 Audit and the Auditor General’s Report on the accounts of Sierra Leone for 2019.

Speaking about the alleged missing 47 laptops, the 65 KVA Generator and recovery of cash to the tune of Le 274 Million, the ACC Commissioner said that consistent with global best practice, Audit Reports are the property of Parliament, and the ACC being the creature of Parliament to fight corruption is only playing a complementary role to that effect.

In his opening remarks, the Deputy Speaker and Chairman of the PAC, Hon. Segepoh Solomon Thomas said the PAC is appreciative and supportive of the work of the ACC and commended the ACC Commissioner and Team for doing a wonderful job which has attracted a lot of accolades and awards for the Commission.

However, he advised the ACC to carry-on with their investigations but to avoid making commentaries on the substance of the Audit Reports.

He also said that the PAC is determined to take the leadership going forward, in coordinating the ACC, Audit Service and NPPA in the fight against corruption, ensuring accountability in governance.

6 Comments

  1. I am personally pleading to any patriotic Sierra Leonean who knows the whereabout of this 50 KVA generator to give information to the ACC, otherwise they have to respect the finding of the ACC and hold their peace. I hope and pray that the citizens of Sierra Leone will respect the process and procedures of the Audit report based on the constitution. The confusion about the vehicles whether some are new or used, I personally believe that the only way that can be determined is not by mileage but the title. Used cars can be determined based on the fact that the title will indicate that it has been previously sold and registered at any Motor Vehicle Department, then it is a previously sold or pre-owned vehicle.

    On the other hand any car dealer can use a brand new vehicle as a demonstration vehicle or “demo”, which can later be sold as a new vehicle but discounted based on the mileage because of the manufacturers warranty which is usually 3 years or 36,000 miles bumper to bumper ( all mechanical and electrical faults but excluding wear and tear like brakes and tyres) and 5 years or 60,000 miles power train warranty which covers the Engine and transmission. The dealership can determine how many miles accumulated on the demonstration vehicle before it is sold as a “new demo vehicle” but not “Pre-owned” or Used Car.

  2. This is a very simple matter to resolve – most manufactured items in the whole wide world, especially complex and expensive items carry a SERIAL NUMBER. This is a unique number (sometimes with letters and other typographical symbols included) assigned to an item to uniquely identify it. For heavy-duty machinery, this number is usually cast on the main component of the item; and for electronic goods like smart phones, computers or laptops, there are software instructions to enable the owner to access the serial number of the particular product. When these goods are exported or imported to another country, the serial number of each item is always indicated in the shipping documents.

    So, what is the brouhaha between the Audit Service Sierra Leone (ASSL) and the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) regarding the alleged missing 50KVA or 65KVA Generator and the 47 laptops? All the Auditor – General’s team have to do is to compare the unique serial numbers of these items, as recorded in the shipping documents, and the serial numbers of the recovered items, as postulated by the ACC. Any discrepancy therein, then the particular item in scrutiny is inauthentic – Period. As for the 50KVA (or 65KVA) Generator, the shipping documents can always be obtained from the Chinese Embassy that donated these goods, or directly from the supplier with the help of a simple telephone call.

    The ACC should operate within the confines of their remit. They are mandated to investigate and prosecute acts of corruption; though in this case they appear to be drifting on ASSL territory by challenging their integrity. Seemingly, the ACC is acting as the Anti-Opposition Commission (AOC) instead of fighting corruption across the board. Furthermore, the apparent intimidation of the Auditor General by the Parliamentary Public Accounts Committee (PAC) points to the premonition that the 2020 Auditor General Report would be a bombshell of unproportional magnitude for the government. And not surprisingly, the general public can hardly wait.

  3. The Auditor General has become a thorn in their flesh. They are scared out of their wits of what she will reveal in her next reports.(lol) Summoning her is just a way to let her know that they are watching her closely and that she must tread cautiously. Tactics of intimidation – being summoned in an impromptu manner, then making her wait for hours before subjecting her to a long list of inconsequential questions, has always been a method used by the Criminal Cabal
    in the art of political warfare. We know where and how they walk in the dark because we have been tip-toeing right behind them. Criminals they are, that should not be allowed to get out of sight.(lol)

    My advice to the brave Auditor General is for her to stand strong and firm against all they are going to throw against her. There is a lot coming, but it will be nothing worth losing sleep over. All nothing but empty, baseless threats and noises; Madam they are like barking dogs that cannot bite, and the most vicious amongst them are like wolves that howl tirelessly without fangs and claws.(lol) Keep on doing the good work you are doing lady for our beloved Sierra Leone. Why must a good work cease because of a bunch of lazy good-for-nothing inept bunch of SLPP freeloaders?(lol)

  4. Hauling Mr Ben Kaifala, the ACC commissioner, and Ms Lara Taylor – Pearce, in front of the parliamentary Committee, to answer questions that relate to the efficacy of their jobs, and the way they go about in achieving their goals as mandated by the constitution, is not only questionable by the questionnaires, in this case our corrupt politicians, but it amounts to being hauled in front of a Kangaroo Court baying for blood. The action of these parliamentarians amount to scoring an own gaol. This is what Bio was talking about. Corruption fight back. You got to give it to Bio. At least he is unashamedly honest with his dishonesty. This politicians are not interested in the truth.

    Far from it, their behaviour suggests they are allergic to the truth. And they certainly come across as people who don’t want to hear the truth. This level of intimidation would not be made possible with out the complicity of Bio, the commander in chief of duplicity, when it comes to fighting corruption in Sierra Leone. If these politicians think by going after the truth-finders, thereby creating the perfect smoke-screen for their corrupt ways, or going out of their ways to sow doubt in the minds of the Sierra Leonean public, about the work ACC and the Auditors, are doing on behalf our country, they should think again. Right now the corrupt politicians are throwing everything at them to see what sticks.

    Sierra Leoneans might be an easy-going and easy to rule people, hardly ever protesting at the lack of improvement in their standard of living, but that does not mean, when we are hustling every day from PZ to Waterloo to make a living, we are blind to what is going on in our country. We see you driving every day in your thousand dollar vehicles, raising dust in the process, costing us more to buy soap to wash our clothes, that are caked in red dust raised by our politicians who were elected to represent us. What a turn of events. We have to fork out to clean up after you corrupt politicians.

  5. 65 KVA generator was recovered in Jimmy village. Who uthorized and who tucked it there? Please ACC, we Sierra Leoneans like to know the names. Again, 70% of those laptops are they not the new ones they stole and replaced with old and unworkable laptops to replace the amount?

  6. With culpability looming over our parliamentarians, are these corrupt bunch using arm-twisted tactics now in trying to coerce and subdue the functionalities of both the ACC and the Audit department, to cover their rear behinds?

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