Sierra Leone Telegraph: 16 November 2021:
Media reports on the suspension of Sierra Leone’s Auditor General has taken a new twist today, following a letter written to the country’s Attorney General by the Institute of Chartered Accountants, expressing serious concern over her alleged suspension and that of her deputy by President Julius Maada Bio last week.
Whilst many legal experts now believe that the letter seen by the Auditor General – Mrs Lara Taylor-Pearce which formed the basis of her published statement last week, was not addressed to her but to the chairman of the Board of the Audit Service Sierra Leone (ASSL) – suggesting that the Auditor General should be suspended pending investigation, the general view now is that in reality Mrs Lara Taylor-Pearce does not have to vacate her desk until she has received a formal letter either from the Board of ASSL or from the president, asking her to go on suspension in accordance with due process.
This is what the Auditor General said in a statement published after receiving a letter sent to the chairman of ASSL from the Office of the President, suggesting her suspension: “I can confirm that I was handed a letter signed by the Secretary to the President to the Chairman of the ASSL Advisory Board, stating that the Attorney General has been asked to set up a tribunal to look into the ASSL for professional performance or the lack thereof. Further that myself and Mr Tamba Momoh, my deputy should be sent on suspension with immediate effect.
“I have not been told what the remit of this tribunal is or what wrongdoing we are supposed to have committed, neither have we been told who the members of the Tribunal are or will be. I should state that ASSL has always maintained the highest standards at all times and we deny any wrong doing in the exercise of our mandate. At all times we have upheld international best standards. I remain ready to cooperate with any tribunal guided by my legal representative, and to defend my reputation anywhere, anytime.”
So far there has been no clarification from State House, the Attorney General nor the Chief Justice confirming whether Mrs Lara Taylor-Pearce has been suspended or not.
But what makes this saga even more intriguing now is that the chairman and Directors of the Board of ASSL are also keeping tight-lipped.
“If I were the Auditor General, I will not budge. I will stay in office until someone hands me my suspension letter,” a senior barrister in Freetown told the Sierra Leone Telegraph.
But today, the President of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Sierra Leone has written to the Attorney General requesting explanation as to why the Auditor General has been “suspended”, and on what constitutional grounds.
This is what the letter says:
Finally, it seems we have the first MOTHER TERESA of Sierra Leone. She is so perfect that everyone will be willing to take an oath with the Bible about her innocence. People have accused President”Talk and Do” Bio who is the only Commander-In- Chief of Tribalism, Sexism and cover up, even though both the Accountant General and her deputy – with different backgrounds can prove that their suspicions are baseless.
Hopefully, Pope Francis of the Vatican will soon release a statement about our perfect AG. Please Madam AG just put every suspicion to rest by simply facing the tribunal to prove your innocence.
Seems like a perfect opportunity to embed the core principles of democracy. I personally advocate following. The mill mustchurn; suspend them, activate a tribunal, and afford them an opportunity to defend against the allegations. It’s disheartening to rely on rumors. I’m tempted to believe the outcome will be a win for our “democratic system”, and a positive precedent for future incidences.
We must, however, address this issue with unbiased professionalism, devoid of partisanship. This may well be the catalyst for political and administrative improvement in dear Salone. Our nation deserves the opportunity to distinguish between possible whistleblowing and treason. He said she said is the name of of a progressive society.
As always the devil is certainly in the detail, I wonder why suspend her when the 2020 report is weeks away from public view? Has it got to do with the Africanist press and the covid 19 saga??? The government better have a good reason for this suspension otherwise this is becoming one of the biggest blunders by a government that is trying to cover up its mess on state resources and wants to use the AG as a scapegoat.
It’s stupefying to see supporters of the PAOPA regime, many of whom in exchange of bread crumbs have sold their souls to the devil, making a mockery of themselves in this intellectual platform with their constantly nonsensical utterance. In the midst of the worst economic hardship that our nation has ever experience, with prices of goods and services ever increasing, even before Convid-19(with the slogan ‘D gron Dry’), couple with the worst political instability our citizens have ever had to deal with, you have these delusional clowns, going around spewing deceptive utterance that, our nation is enjoying its glory days under the leadership of their demi-god.
All across the nation, the suffering of our citizens have quadruple since this regime came into power. Almost all economic indicators, prices of goods and services, unemployment, inflation, investment climate, and a host of other factors are worst off. Instead of investing our meager resources locally, the globe trotting president, has been busy flying around, spending millions of dollars to international media consultancy firms, in a waste of our tax payers money in a so called ‘image fixing of our country’.
So when citizens cry about hardship and lack of any development on the ground, these nincompoops will turn around pointing, don’t you see IMF is giving us more loans, and we are having passing MCC scorecards! Are you serious? How has MCC scorecards or IMF loan approval, alleviated the suffering of our people? How has this international ratings that you have spent so much money on, instead of investing on ground, have transform our nation? What a gang of no nothing, with misplace priority! Throwing away millions of dollars for a mere empty, feel good, ratings. What nation on earth has actually develop due to such approach? Sickening! It will be great if you guys can actually point out visible transformational things you have accomplish on the ground, instead making a fool of yourself with these so called, MCC ratings or IMF loan approvals.
“Telepathy is possible not because thought can travel in space but because space is actually in tought”. In my opinion, I believe the issue of the Auditor General’s suspension was fairly met despite the murmurs surrounding the issue. There were sections of the law which you can refer to. All we look forward to now is to see them following the due procedure by attending to the call of the tribunal. You see, Sierra Leone has taken a different trajectory in the application of the rule of law and the fight against corruption under the leadership of H.E the president Dr. Julius Maada Bio. This is a novelty in Sierra Leone. It has never happen in the past where our past presidents will be bold enough to bring the Auditor General to task to account for their stewardship. Each and every past presidents of the past governments have found it very difficult to do so. Do you know why? It’s because these past leaders assumed that the office of the Auditor General is very powerful that it can not be touched for fear that it can expose their weaknesses. When a man believes that he is upright, he has nothing to fear so is the leadership of the present government of Sierra Leone Dr. Brigadier (Rtd) Julius Maada Bio.
That is why he instituted this policy of “auditing the Auditor General”. We can’t assume that the past and present Auditor General’s were perfect. We’ve seen and witnessed incidences where lawyers representing themselves in court loose their own case despite being lawyers. Please, let’s be patient. It makes common sense to note that when an institution like this under the leadership of Lara Taylor-Pearce choose to act in a defiant manner when asked to account for her stewardship, there is an error sported somewhere. Please let’s be patient and wait to see the outcome.
Remember that very recently, Sierra Leone as a country made some significant gains in the MCC scorecard. I want to believe all of us contributed to it. Let the issue of one person doesn’t take us aback. Writing international partners or other organizations is not the absolute best.
In general African dictatorship hardly cares about public opinion.And the only time they sit up and notice, that their behaviour and actions are getting under the skin of their populations, is when people take to the streets to demonstrate against their weird actions. The recent turn of events in the DRC against the appointment of the head of the electoral commission, and people taking to the streets because they felt he is the wrong person for the job and a stooge for the President that will help rig future elections outcomes. . In the case of Sierra Leone, the sacking or suspension, of Mrs Taylor, the right person for the job. Given how Sierra Leoneans are cowards and can swallow any unhinged actions by this Bio government, I don’t think they will take to the streets of Freetown and demonstrate peacefully against this sacking of Mrs Taylor, that have been widely praised for her good job she was doing over her tenure in office as our Auditor General. Perhaps doing the hardest and most difficult thankless, under appreciated job in Sierra Leone, to audit the most corrupt government we’ve had in peace time Sierra Leone.
I think is about time the civil service organisations, religious groups, our elders, SLAJ, the diplomatic corps intervene and register to Bio and his government their displeasure, as he tried , and failed to manufacture a crisis of confidence on the character of a well respected public officials, that have since her appointment on her role as the Auditor General have not held back in carrying out her work with precision like a hit seeking missile that don’t care which targets its hits as long as it takes out our corrupt public officials that are clearly enemies of the state of Sierra Leone.In her line of work, naming and Shaming them is more than she have achieved. she’d not only know her job inside out, that in a politically charged and polarised society such as ours, she have managed to rise above all the political snipping and conducted her job remarkably well, without taking any prisoners.
Her job discriptoin is to ask the difficult questions that demands transparency and accountability from those that are entrusted to run our institutions. Her unfiltered audit reports that resembles blood stains on our political leaders, APC /SLPP that have taken turns to wreck untold suffering to the people of Sierra Leone, has been an eye opener to the public, that for past decades have been hoodwinked and forced fed propaganda bile messages, by corrupt politicians, to hide their corrupt ways,. Thus so far what she have managed to do, is to shine a light in the dark alleys of our corrupt politicians, and show us how they carry out their murky dealings and condeming our country to the satus of one of the least developing countries in the world. Since 60% of our country’s budgetary needs are coming from our international foreign aid partners is about time they too start to ask the difficult questions. At the end the day the debts acquired by Bio from international money markets, have to be repaid. With all the good intentions by our international aid partners in dolling out this monies to Bio’s government and his cronies. Our international partners should now come out of the woodwork and put an end to this Bio circus. We can’t continue to run our country like this and expect to transform it to an economic powerhouse in the west African sub-region. It will not stand the test of time.
Hope to see the profession uphold its impeccable standards as stated in this article with thanks.