Sierra Leone’s vice president Juldeh chairs meeting with key agencies on accountability and transparency

Sierra Leone Telegraph: 12 July 2021:

Last Tuesday, vice president Dr. Mohamed Juldeh Jalloh of Sierra Leone chaired a high-level meeting involving the Anti-Corruption Commission, Parliamentary Accounts Committee, Audit Service Sierra Leone, Ministry of Finance, and Public Sector Reform Unit, to discuss how best to improve public finance accountability and transparency.

The meeting was held following a global report on government transparency published by the US government which concluded that the government of Sierra Leone is not only failing to be transparent but is taking no steps to improve.

Vice President Juldeh said that the Anti-Corruption Commission, Parliamentary Accounts Committee, Audit Service Sierra Leone, Ministry of Finance, and Public Sector Reform will become the new information sharing platform that will help the government improve its coordination of accountability issues, track and deliver benchmarks, ensure compliance with Auditor-General’s recommendations, and help support the ACC in controlling corruption in Sierra Leone.

The meeting was attended by the Commissioner of ACC,  the CEO of the National Public Procurement Authority, the Deputy Speaker and Chair of the Public Accounts Committee of Parliament (PAC), the Financial Secretary of Ministry of Finance, the Auditor General, the MCCU Coordinator, the Minister of State in the VP’s office and other support staff of the respective constituent institutions of the Platform.

Notable by his absence was Chief Minister JJ Saffa, whose role in the government it is to coordinate all government departments and ministries (MDAs), manage their effectiveness and account for their performance.

Ndeye Koroma, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of MCCU, highlighted the objectives of the high-level accountability platform. These objectives, she explained, are centered on how government institutions can be effectively coordinated to improve accountability and transparency to gain citizens’ trust in Government.

Mrs. Koroma also underscored that, pursuing these objectives requires high-level involvement and presupposes a technical team to drive the process.

The team will work to integrate all international benchmarks in addition to the MCC and solve systemic problems facing MDAs, promote collaboration and cooperation, take a holistic view and approach in improving service delivery by identifying leakages, wastage, and inefficiencies.

The lack of cooperation by MDAs was highlighted by the Anti-Corruption Commissioner, Francis Ben Kaifala who said that “cooperation of MDAs with auditors is a big challenge and that is a fundamental issue to be addressed by all to ensure a better accountability space.”

The ACC Czar went on to say “if the underlying issues of co-operation in regard timely disclosure is tackled, most issues in the Audit Report will not recur.”

The Auditor General (AG), Audit Service Sierra Leone, Lara Taylor-Pearce (Photo), said that, all MDAs should realize that the AG’s office is to be seen as a “watchdog rather than a bloodhound” and must allow the AG’s office to do its job.

It was agreed at the end of the meeting that the Anti-Corruption Commission, Parliamentary Accounts Committee, Audit Service Sierra Leone, Ministry of Finance, and Public Sector Reform Unit will continue to meet to review progress every three months.

1 Comment

  1. This is an other fruitless exircise by Vice President Julldeh Jalloh. More like he has shut the stables door after the horses have bolted. We know this damming American government report that was highly critical of Bio and his corrupt government, is not the sort of report you will leaf over,ignore, and leave it to gather dust on the shelf.This issues raised are not made by their fellow Sierra-leoneans, but by a foreign government concern about the direction of travel by this incompetent Bio government. It demands answers, because the Biden administration knows how corruption, lack of transparency, and accountability have held back many African countries entangled in the web of corruption cases, that have played a greater role in stopping us having meaningful changes towards our development goals. A year is a long time in politics.

    In 2020, under a different US administration, and a different US Ambassador, in the person of Mrs Maria Brewer, Bio was presented with the Millennium Challenge Cooperation award score card at state House for his socalled fight against corruption, and his government been more open, transparent and accountable the way his government was working to meet the Mellenium challenges cooperation goals for the citizens of Sierra Leone. President Maada Bio and his government, can’t afford to ignore Biden. Any rebuttals of the US government report, has to be followed or seen to be follow a plan of action, so his government will be seen in the kept in the good books of the Biden administration. With China making more in roads and getting a foot hold on the Sierra Leone economy, Bio might be comfortable with the Chinese government policy of none interference in the domestic affairs of Sierra Leone.

    With the American administration, any relationship with his government will depend on his government been seen to be more transparent and accountable. Also the respect of human rights, free press and the rule of law is the new ethical foreign policy coming from this new white House. So any idea of the repeat of the 2020 Pademba prison massacres will be swiftly condem by the Biden administration. Whilst thats not the case this time, the concerns raised by this report if not addressed has the tendency to create insecurity, deepens mistrust in government, accelerate underdevelopment, a free fall economy, which produce a whole population sinking in to dire poverty. For vast majority of us, we are just struggling for our daily bread. This US government report is welcome.

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