24 January 2013
Abdul M Fatoma
We at the Campaign for Human Rights and Development – Sierra Leone (CHRDSL), are deeply concerned about the revelations contained in the recent Audit Report 2011 of the Audit Service Sierra Leone, which was presented to a well attended houses of parliament in Freetown.
And, it is with utter dismay that the people of Sierra Leone have learnt that, those entrusted with the running of the economy of our country, have failed us, by the reckless manner in which they have handled our financial affairs.
It is even more disheartening to note that, not a single Government Department or Agency of the Republic of Sierra Leone, including the office of the president and vice president, have received a clean bill of health in relation to financial malpractices.
The Financial audit of the Public Accounts, compliance audits of Ministries, Departments and Agencies, as well as schools and vocational institutions, Public Enterprises and Commissions – all show a worsening and precarious financial position from the year 2008 to date.
These institutions have violated state policies with impunity and without proper documentation or authority, thereby leading to massive fraud and corruption.
It is a national disgrace for Sierra Leone to be losing so much money at a time of austerity, and most importantly, at a time when the country is hugely reliant on donor funding.
It is expected therefore, that the President will follow up those words with actions, by addressing with appropriate urgency, the findings of the Audit Report in the shortest possible time and bringing to book those responsible.
When Sierra Leoneans voted for President Koroma and his APC in 2007 and in November 2012, they did so aspiring for a government, based on the essential values of human rights, equality, freedom, democracy, accountability, social justice and the rule of law.
In this his second term of office and his new Agenda for Prosperity, it is expected that the government will bring about real change and prosperity in the lives of ordinary Sierra Leoneans.
The people have given the president a resounding mandate at the elections, to ensure that the values and principles that form the very foundation of our nation are protected and upheld.
The principles of good governance and the rule of law, are the cornerstones of a democratic and corrupt free state.
We are therefore calling on the Government of Sierra Leone to look into this unaccounted sum of One Hundred and Ten Billion Leones (Le 110,914,263,391) as estimated by the audit service to the full extent permitted by law.
The concern of CHRDSL is that if this trend continues and no action is taken urgently to enforce the rule of law – with appropriate punishable actions, our people will continue to suffer and the image of our country would be brought into further disrepute.
CHRDSL further calls upon all government workers and contractors – in the executive and the legislature, as well as all institutions, public and private, and all sierra Leoneans – individually and collectively, to be the watchdogs of our democracy, in order to ensure transparency and probity in our country.
Abdul M Fatoma is the Chief Executive of the civil rights group – Campaign for Human Rights and Development Sierra Leone (CHRDSL), Freetown, Sierra Leone.