Sierra Leone Telegraph: 12 April 2019:
After two days of frenzied reaction from all sides of Sierra Leone’s political spectrum, to the revelation by the Auditor General of Sierra Leone in response to a question as to whether she can corroborate the alleged misappropriated $1.6 Billion cited in the minister of finance report, calm has been restored.
Speaking on radio and TV, the Auditor General could not corroborate the finance minister’s figures presented to the media and the public. She said she does not recognise nor seen anything like $1.6 Billion of public funds missing in her technical audit report which she handed to the minister of finance.
Parliament now has a big job to do to instil confidence in the public. It has taken full control of the report, and has announced that its Public Accounts Committee will be discussing the report next Tuesday and come up with its findings and recommendations on the Technical Audit Report.
Yesterday parliament issued this statement:
“The Public Accounts Committee (PAC), chaired by the Deputy Speaker of Parliament, Hon. Segepoh Solomon Thomas will start public hearings on the Report of the Technical Audit of the Social Security, Telecommunications, Civil Works and the Energy Sectors tabled in Parliament on Tuesday 09th April 2019 by the Deputy Chairman of the PAC, Hon. Lahai Marah.
“The PAC will hear auditees from NASSIT on Wednesday 17th April 2019 and from NATCOM, SIERRATEL and AFRICELL on Thursday 18th April 2019 at 10:00 AM respectively at Committee Room Number One, Parliament Building, Tower Hill, Freetown.
“Therefore, the PAC is inviting Civil Society Organizations, the Media, Non-Governmental Organizations, International Non-Governmental Organizations and the General Public to witness the conduct of its public hearings with auditees, including contractors and service providers with regards to the Technical Audit that was recently carried out by Audit Service Sierra Leone.”
Yesterday, the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) also issued an invitation to the media to attend a press conference on the same day that the parliamentary committee will be discussing the report.
The ACC says it will announce what steps it will take in responding to the technical audit report. It says: “The Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) is inviting one representative from each media house/outfit to a press conference on Tuesday 16th April, 2019 at 10:30 am, at the Cathedral Hall, 3 Gloucester Street, Freetown.
“The conference is to update the media on the position of the ACC and what it plans to do with the findings of the Technical Audit Report on Roads, Telecommunications, Energy and Social Security (NASSIT) sectors and other matters of recent significance to the fight against corruption. Your attendance will be highly appreciated.”
But with Parliament now debating the technical audit report next Tuesday, 16th April, it is unlikely the ACC will say or do anything that will usurp or undermine the authority of parliament.
Once the parliamentary committee has debated the report, it will send its findings and recommendations to the full House for approval and public discussion.
But until then, the mystery surrounding the alleged misappropriated One Billion Dollars by former government officials in the Koroma led APC government continues.