Sierra Leone Telegraph: 17 November 2021:
Amid growing furore in Sierra Leone, President Julius Maada Bio has this evening appointed three members of a judicial tribunal that will investigate the country’s Auditor General – Lara Taylor-Pearce and her deputy – Tamba Momoh, for what the president refers to as allegations of misconduct and unprofessionalism.
The statement announcing the names of the tribunal says: “Pursuant to Section 137(5)(a) of the Constitution of Sierra Leone, 1991, His Excellency the President has appointed Tribunal to investigate the Auditor-General, Mrs. Lara Taylor-Pearce and the Deputy Auditor-General, Mr. Tamba Momoh for alleged misconduct and lack of professional performance.”
The tribunal members are named as Justice Nyawo Finda Matturi-Jones – Chairperson; Mr Lahai M. Farma – Member; and Mr Abu Bakarr King – member.
On Monday 8th November, 2021, Deputy Attorney General (a title most legal minds in the country say does not exist in the constitution) – Mr. Umaru Napoleon Koroma, sent a letter to the Chief Justice calling for the setting up of a judicial tribunal to investigate the conduct of Mrs. Lara Taylor-Pearce and her deputy – Mr. Tamba Momoh, with regards “several allegations in the form of complaints lodged to His Excellency the President, amounting to misconduct or lack of professional performance while in office”.
Since the publication of that letter, public as well as media reactions have continued to demonstrate support for the Auditor General, whom many describe as the country’s most honest and dedicated public official – who has exposed massive evidence of financial mismanagement and impropriety by successive governments.
But critics of the government say that the President has taken the decision to suspend and put on trial the Auditor General because of the latest – yet to be published audit report which will show evidence of massive corruption in the Bio-led government.
The decision to appoint the investigating tribunal comes on the heels of a letter written to the country’s Attorney General yesterday by the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Sierra Leone, showing support for the Auditor General, as well as today’s public statement from the International Organisation for the Supreme Audit Institution (INTOSAI) calling for the immediate reinstatement of the Auditor General and her deputy: