The laughable attack on the Office of the Auditor General – Oped

Joe B. Swarray: 14 March 2021:

This is just plain common sense. The law and the letters speak for themselves. Audit service is independent. The law says so and the Government lawyers have said so. Former Attorney General Kamara said so.

Solicitor General Martina Koroma also wrote that the Audit Service is not included in the Fiscal Management and Control Act 2017 and Executive Order No.1.

Former secretary to President, David Vandy wrote to the Financial Secretary telling him to leave Audit Sierra Leone alone. Audit Service is not a revenue generating institution for government. It is not even listed in the Schedule of the Act.

Then you have the 1991 Constitution which is the supreme law and the Audit Service Act 2014. I cannot believe that the Financial Secretary and the current Solicitor General do not understand what these laws mean.

How can the Solicitor General now give a different advice?

It shows that he did not read the previous advice of his office, or he does not understand the very law he was trying to interpret for the Financial Secretary.

This is even more serious because it shows that the government’s own lawyers are giving the government wrong advice. Even non-lawyers know that legal advice will only change if the situation changes and something new happens.

The Solicitor General has led government down the wrong road. Those familiar with his work are not surprised. People will recall the pictures on social media about allegations of sexual harassment in his office.

The then Attorney General did not investigate the allegations, but they called the CID to investigate those lawyers they thought were the whistle blowers.

My advice is that these jobs should not go to ‘party pikin’ or their relatives. These are jobs are for seasoned lawyers. That is why we are in this mess. Look at the international court cases the country is facing.

The Financial Secretary upon all the previous advice and the law, it looks like he is obsessed. All the briefings against Lara Taylor-Pearce, shows an obsessed mind. Is this time and money well spent?

The worst is the suspension, pending investigation by ASSL of a man alleged to have been leaking information. Now suddenly he was suspended because Madam Lara is a tribalist?

This just shows how desperate officials in the government are. Do they seriously want to destroy the last institution that really functions in this country?

There are even rumours that you want to call in the Anti-Corruption to investigate her and destroy her reputation. This is intimidation and bullying.

I started the article by saying “This is just plain common sense”. How some of the government’s lawyers cannot comprehend this, does not augur well for our country.

We are watching. The world is watching. All good people stand with Lara Taylor-Pearce (Photo).

6 Comments

  1. If Mrs. Taylor was one of them, they would have given her all the support she needs to do her job. In fact the revelations she has brought out to the public using her professional expertise wouldn’t have been possible. Look at the case of ACC boss, do you think he is a man sitting on the fence in discharging his duties? No, why has he not investigated his Chief Minister? What will come out of Fatima Bio’s involvement in swindling this country’s billions of Leones?

    I am sure Madam Pearce has the support of the people of this country. Madam I salute you, continue your good job..

  2. Offices like the ASSL are the watchdog for accountability in the public sector and any attempt to diminish their role and that of the auditor General, will have negative political consequences for the government. Civil servants who are meant to be independent and serve the government of the day, have taken a political stance hiding behind their roles to go after those they perceive as saboteurs.

    I will urge the President to resist any attempt by these civil servants and others to undermine the ASSL. This is not the first time that the ASSL has come out with adverse findings against a government but with what we are observing this government does not take kindly to adverse findings. Lara Taylor-Pearce has proved to be very competent in her role and must be supported to continue. Those calling for the President to replace her are short-sighted and unpatriotic.

  3. ” A lawyer is as good as his case”. The word “independence” is a relative term in this context. Why is audit service independent, but yet cry out for government funding? In her own words, the Auditor General stated of financial constraints from government support to ASSL. Audit service is not an income generating body for government as assumed, but still generates income. If that is true then there is a case established. It is either ASSL is evading tax or otherwise. Who pays salaries at ASSL? Is it ASSL itself or government. If it is government why say audit service is independent? Please don’t misconstrue the word independence. In my own opinion, audit service is independent in carrying out its work without interference.

  4. There is mixed messaging coming from senior government officials about the true nature of how to move our country forward. On the one hand, you have president Bio telling Sierra Leoneans that his government, through his manifesto promises, that the gloves are off and he is now in a crusade in fighting the cancer of corruption in our country. Whilst Bio the president recognises that and says as a country, “We have to draw a line” to bring an end to this cancer of corruption. The officials who are actually entrusted to do the dirty work of fight corruption, like Mrs Lara Pearce Taylor, is maligned and ostracised, condemned and accused of everything under the sun.

    Bio and his people have even thrown the kitchen sink at her. But for Sierra Leoneans who know better, we know these accusations are politically motivated and do not deserve attention. We are talking about one of the most senior figures in our country, who wants to end the immunity of corruption, that for many years has dominated the political landscape of Sierra Leone. To that end, we need to sit up and recognise the people promoting tribalism and division in Sierra Leone are Bio and some of his officials. Once again by allowing his officials to brief against Mrs. Taylor, Bio has shown that unlike the presidents of Rwanda and Ghana, his idea of fighting corruption is just to satisfy our international financial creditors The IMF, World Bank, the European union, the British and the Americans, hich is one of their requirements, for his government to secure any financial assistance .

    I did not list China because they do not like to ask questions. You cannot fight corruption to gain international recognition, but to fight it with the sole purpose of defeating it in Sierra leonean society. So in the long term our country can move forward with developmental infrastructure projects that are urgently needed in Sierra Leone.

  5. These points really make common sense..for sure am even doubting their credibility in handling government function to audit service…. Madam Taylor is well optimistic. Have no doubt.

  6. Thats why patroitic Sierra Leoneans are calling your institutions to stand by the audit service not to be disadvantaged for doing the write thing as expected of them please.

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