Winstanley R. Bankole.Johnson: Sierra Leone Telegraph: 20 March 2021:
The last few weeks have heralded a series of scathing, besmirching and wholesomely puerile media outbursts directed more particularly against the Auditor General Mrs. Lara Taylor-Pearce in particular, than the institution (Audit Services Sierra Leone – ASSL) from which she draws authority to perform her constitutional role.
And those denigrating outbursts were not on account of her performing below par, but simply because in an environment where everyone and everything is compromised, Mrs. Lara Taylor-Pearce and team have opted – true to the demands of their calling – to keep their integrity unsullied and far above the external advantages of fortune. But this is Sierra Leone for you; The Land we purport to love.
Do I hear loud voices heckling ridiculous reasons for my wading into the Taylor-Pearce fray? Who cares?
If no one branded the passionate blindness with which the entire Kenema Township defensively rallied behind the Chief Minister Prof. David Francis in the face of glaring and incontrovertible insinuations of corruption against him to date as nepotism and tribalism, then no one should insinuate same against me if as a relation, I chose to rally national support for Mrs. Lara Taylor-Pearce (Nee Cline-Cole) for several cogent reasons.
Unlike in the case of the Chief Minister against whom allegations including Money Laundering were inferred (and still unsatisfactorily explained away), the Auditor General is being bad-mouthed mainly by pro-government Tabloids (some of which are even calling for her immediate sacking) for refusing to compromise integrity and for strenuously safeguarding government’s (and by extension citizens’) funds.
A recent Global Times Editorial outcry for Mrs. Taylor-Pearce’s sacking was so infantile that they ended up exposing themselves as perverts of accountability and purveyors of hate. In that editorial they emerged more concerned that their political “demi-gods” were being disgraced by glaring revelations of corruption and ineptitude as alleged by the Auditor General and the Africanist Press Reports (which are now of universal interest), than with a lack of accountability within MDAs.
They even directly accused the Auditor General of leaking official information to the Africanist Press. That is the main reason for which they were insinuating she should be summarily relieved of her posts.
Also unlike as with allegations against the Chief Minister for which the ACC Commissioner pro-actively sprang to the former’s defense unsolicited, no one in this government is rushing to the rescue of the Auditor General as her character and reputation are being irreparably disparaged by the Pa-O-Pa brigade.
A further glaring difference between the two cases is that whereas the allegations against the Chief Minister were directed at his person, those against the Auditor General implicitly transcend her personality and are calculated to further derail the efficiency and effectiveness of an institution created by an Act of Parliament to wit: Audit Services Sierra Leone.
In Lara Taylor-Pearce and her team responsible citizens are seeing dependable anti-corruption government allies and easy pickings for President Bio to leverage from. And that is exactly why we’ve got their backs covered as is evident in various dispassionate public statements in their defense.
Regrettably, the converse seems to be holding good on government side as what they’re rather seeing these days is that an institution that was supposed to be waxing an expansive level of autonomy under Sec. 119 (6) of the Constitution is being pilloried just so as to discredit and “pinhole” their laudable efforts. And this is happening under the watchful gaze of an administration that ascended into office on the mantra of zero tolerance on corruption.
The inferences reasonable beings are drawing from those recent puerile, beguiling and sensational front-page screamers in mainly pro-SLPP Tabloids such as-:
– Lara Taylor-Pearce In Bribery Scandal!!
– Audit Services Sierra Leone Exposed!!
– Auditor General to Refund Le3 Billion!!
– Lara Taylor-Pearce to be Investigated!!
Are that they are calculated to frighten the daylight out of the Mrs. Taylor-Pearce and which (in their warped imaginations) will coerce and transform her into a pliant and malleable tool that will in future be superintending the churning out periodic “placebo-like” Audit Services Reports favourable to their agents and that will not even pass public scrutiny.
Yes, Mrs. Taylor-Pearce is concerned, but not intimidated. And her primary reason for that is nationalistic. On whether she will resign she retorted: “Everything is left to God….I am still young and there are other things to do: But it’s going to be difficult for Sierra Leone”.
That response speaks volumes of (a) her traditional and tenaciously religious upbringing (to place her destiny into the hand of the Great Architect of the Universe) (b) her resilience (that she’s young and still has much more to offer this country in particular and the world at large) and (c) her empathy for Mamma SaLone (Patriotism).
Those are the primary considerations this country needs at this critical point in time that we have become so ethno-centrically fragmented in the last three years, if we are to leave legacies for the next generation. But they are not ordinary and can’t be imbibed by temporary accesses to the political limelight. In other words, they have to be innate. And this is what is lacking in many of our “pseudo-political elites” and “pseudo-Journalists”. “Pseudo” because their social relevance evaporates and is not sustained if their government is not in power.
No matter how adverse or widespread their flurry of negative insinuations against Mrs. Lara Taylor-Pearce (Photo) and the Audit Services Sierra Leone, those who believe she could be intimidated into silence or subservience are having “day-mares” in their siestas.
Equally so those who believe that exiting her from her tenured contract (a common phenomenon under this political administration) will frustrate the residual crop of ASSL staffers into watering down future annual reports just so as to please their handlers are also having “day-mares” in their siestas.
The fact of the matter is that Lara Taylor-Pearce is unfazed; unperturbed because like all of us, she knows too well that this government has a responsibility to safeguard the life of every citizen irrespective of their perceived political persuasion – Lara and Team inclusive.
Further no matter how hard anyone tries to influence things, basic International Auditing and Accounting Standards (IAAS) and Practices will not allow Audit Reports – whether now or ever – to be manipulated to the narrow advantages of any one tribe, region or political party colour.
Any Auditor General or government attempting that will in addition to having their credibility tarnished, also have to bear the wrath of the IMF/World, and our other traditional partners that prioritize accountability and transparency as a basis for their courtship. That is why it is foolhardy for any blind supporter of this government to be misconstruing the quality of recent ASSL and Africanist Press Reports as the handiworks of the APC opposition.
In fact truth be told since 2015 to date, nothing has changed in the form of presentation and substance of both the Audit Services and Africanist Press Reports on successive sitting governments.
But unlike now, the APC never for once insinuated that those adverse reports on their administration were politically motivated because unlike the SLPP, we had “Game-Spirit”.
A majority of Sierra Leoneans are thankful for the likes of the Auditor General and her Team that in a nation where corruption is this pervasive, they have been sincere, resilient and committed enough to keep their heads above waters in order to actively compliment the “spoken commitment” of President Bio to eradicate all forms of corruption in our MDAs.
Their prayers are that President Bio should now be seen to be openly complimenting efforts of ASSL to pro-actively block all leakages that have since April 2018 been transformed into drainages as exposed in various Audit and Africanist Press Reports.
A key enabler towards achieving that is our Legislature. The overwhelming public reactions of the public on matters arising from the Year 2019 Audit and NACOVERC Reports are clear indications that they are undeniably of serious national concerns.
The fact that Sec.119 (5) of the Constitution does not stipulate timelines for Parliament to conclude deliberations on Audit Reports and to form the requisite Committees to delve into serious issues (if any) should not mean that can continue to sit on those Reports indefinitely.
Accordingly, the sooner Parliament closes their review of the Audit and NACOVERC Reports and form the necessary Committees to move the process forward, the better.
Meantime, Mrs. Lara Taylor-Pearce and Team be assured that all responsible and law-abiding citizens have got your backs covered.
“Also unlike as with allegations against the Chief Minister for which the ACC Commissioner pro-actively sprang to the former’s defense unsolicited”-Winstanley R. Bankole Johnson. Although this is not important for this discuss, I wonder why Mr. Winstanley R. Bankole.Johnson left out his coveted Reverend Title in authoring this article. While no one is against support given to one’s mate, friend, relatives and tribeswoman, inserting innuendos or incorrect statement to make your point raises eye brows. We all know that the Chief Minister although new in Sierra Leone politics seems to be the most hated politician in the current government. His crime, he led the information gathering process that gave birth to the Commission of Inquiry. Now to the statement quoted. The ACC did not spring to the defence of the Chief Minister uninvited as alleged by Mr. Winstanley R. Bankole.Johnson. Rather it was the chief Minister who reported a case of harassment and extortion to both the Police and the ACC respectively against a Journalist called Salieu Tejan Jalloh.
So if the ACC did any investigation, the complainant in their investigation was the Chief Minister. However to ensure the get to the gist of the complaint they went beyond the compliant of extortion to find out if the chief minister actually did what they journalist tested to him. In that respect, the ACC said that the interviewed officials from the Mining Company that was alleged to have bribed the Chief Minister. The officials from the Mining Company said that they did not give money to the chief Minister. Was that true? It is easy to form an inference on that. You bribe someone to gain an advantage. The Mining Company that the journalist said bribed the Chief Minister had its contract terminated during that period. They are still in court with the government for the termination of their mining contract. The contested Mining site has since been given to another company by the government.
I am sure that the Mining Company would be crying out aloud for their money if they had bribed for their contract not to be terminated. Further, the ACC went ahead to interview the bank, and the bank said that they did not have an account for the Chief Minister. And one thing that was made clear, all of the avenues pursued by the ACC were from the test message forwarded to them by the chief Minister. And only the chief Minister provided his evidence to the ACC which was the test message that he said he received from the Journalist Salieu Jalloh. Salieu Jalloh refused to cooperate with the ACC investigation. He did not publish the evidence he had and he has never submitted it to anyone else for publication or to corroborate his allegation. So if we came to know of the allegation, it was from the chief Minister who the Winstanley R. Bankole.Johnson still believes did what he reported was alleged against him.
The author was clear in his article,there are a lot of questions unanswered by the Chief Minister and the ACC Commissioner so any effort to try and discredit him on this Forum will be waved off with suspicion and contempt.If you are a true Patriot and questions are being raised regarding the conduct of someone in a position of high authority the right thing for you to do is to conduct your own private research until you are able to come to a logical,acceptable conclusion.
Again, its up to the good Reverend to choose whether he wants to use his revered title in such matters of national interest or not so trying to create doubts about his motives is an attempt that clearly reveals not only pettiness but also an amoral attitude stemming from malicious and ulterior motives.
Let’s get off the leg of tribalism and address more serious issues facing Sierra Leonne. The point of having ones back is good and dandy but do we not expect as is customary for an audit team to allow the audited body to preview and answer questions or address adverse opinions pertaining to the audit? This is a common and the only acceptable way of doing
an impartial audit. That’s what the MOF is asking for.
Thank you brother Stargazer for telling our people what is really going on in Salone (tenky tenky O Papa) I was one of those they sacked because of tribalism when they came to power ~ thank you my brother. Today is my birthday and you have made it a lovely and bright moment. God bless you!
Fullah Town Girl – my sister I am sorry to hear about the terrible ordeal you went through in the hands of the Criminal SLPP Cabal but take heart 2023 is not too far away;we are going to fix things once and for all but we need you and thousands of others who have been unfairly treated by this government to stay strong,focused and never give in to despair.Now allow me to wish you a Happy Birthday on this blessed day that Existence has chosen to give you as a rare precious gift to our beautiful earth and the welcoming people of Sierra Leone.Finally,since no one knows who you truly are better than yourself – I wish you,my sister all the nice,precious and good things you have been wishing for yourself;To all you prayers in perfect agreement with you…I say YES and AMEN…Enjoy your special day.
Abdul what the people of Sierra Leone owe you for creating such an invaluable platform that enhances mutual dialogue and understanding is beyond evaluation. I agree with you Sir – Tribal hate has no place in our Sierra Leone where it has already been responsible for crippling and fracturing the social and political fabric of our country for decades gone by. I have to admit that I have never heard about any tribe in Sierra Leone that has been known to boast that they have never taken a bribe as Mr Stargazer is now claiming. Perhaps he would be kind to tell us who those people are because as you can see he has cleverly avoided telling us who he is talking about. Let me hasten to add also that the subtlety and acute exactness with which his comment was written gives me the shivers.
There are subliminal messages craftily inserted everywhere, operating with precision below the threshold of our consciousness, purposefully designed by his nifty hands to influence the opinions of readers towards his specific line of reasoning and thought. This is not an ordinary commentator Sir but a skilled craftsman brimming with confidence. No question, he is a tenacious individual – someone ready to achieve a goal despite any challenges he may encounter on his way. I will be keeping an eye on him. I thank you sincerely for your attention Sir.
Let’s be clear, as the Bio government struggles to respond to the 2019 audit report, and the cascade of corruption cases coming from the Africanist Press, and the anger of distrust grows in the public domain, Bio and his supporters are fighting back. They have literally put on their boxing gloves, and is using Mrs Lara Taylor-Pearce as their punching bag. Since they cannot get to Chernor Bah of the Africanist Press. All right thinking Sierra Leoneans, should come out and support our Auditor General and her team, as they expose some of Bio’s corrupt government Ministers. The president promised to fight corruption in all its form.
Right now what families up and down the country are wrestling with is, dwindling expectations, and household incomes squeeze with no real alternative sources of income. All the while government ministers are getting richer and richer. Are you better off today, or worst off since Bio took the oath of office? I don’t think a majority of Sierra Leoneans will say yes. People of Sierra Leone really need to wise up and see who is fighting their corner. This thankless job Mrs Lara Taylor-Pearce and her team are doing for our country should be commended. Corruption has ruined our country.
It has not only brought us war, but has caused us a massive brain drain, in which young, industrious, educated, and entrepreneurial Sierra Leoneans are forced to leave their country for other parts of the world. Bio should stop this nonsense.These attacks and briefings against our Auditor General should stop. Where are our international financial partners when you need them? Because they are the ones giving Bio a blank check.
You’re damn right we got their backs covered – Our Sierra Leone doesn’t belong to the Criminal SLPP Cabal and they have no right to intimidate and harass well-meaning patriotic citizens like Lara Taylor Pierce. But then again what do you expect from shoe shine military boys that used to shine boots until they reflected like spanking new mirrors for extra rations of food? (lol) Its quite easy to see that the Auditor General is in a league of her own – JJ the “Hang man Saffa” and his partner in crime the incompetent Sahr Jusu have been put in a situation where they have no other choice but to attack Lara Taylor Pierce – they are in a Checkmate,and its crystal clear to me that the Auditor General has already won hands down.
But Stargazer JJ Saffa and Sahr Jusu are just pawns in a political game; Idiots they may be but pawns being used in a political game by the man in State House all the same – What say you? True indeed that they are SLPP Stooges but make no
mistakes friend, they are degenerate stooges – tribalistic men whose judgement has become totally impaired by greed and their lust for power and riches. What beats me is why the ACC Commissioner keeps on looking the other way while these SLPP bandits keep on remorselessly robbing our nation’s coffers totally empty. Oh I forgot they are his tribesmen from the only tribe in Sierra Leone overcrowded with criminals that are known to boasts proudly that they don’t take a bribe.(lol) Geez! How delusional are these criminals.
That imposter they now call a Chief minister is guilty of taking hot bribes to the tune of over two million dollars and the Wannabe cowboy in State House and his Gold digger have been robbing our nation blind like outlaws in the American West; and now they are after the Auditor General because she is totally against their thieving debasing attitudes.(lol) Mr President leave our hardworking Auditor General out of your petty little childish games. Sierra Leone needs her now more than ever before.(lol)
Mr Stargazer – please lay off the tribal slurs. We have more than enough tribal hate in Sierra Leone today, so please lets not fuel it. Thank you, God bless.