Government, Finance & ACC Refuse to Implement Recommendations on the 2018 ASSL Report   

By Yusif Moiguah

Sierra Leone’s democratic is expected to be going along with much transparency and accountability in the so called democratic administration of state governance. A case in point is the continuing delays by government, the Ministry of Finance and the Anti-Corruption Commission to implement recommendations made by the Audit Service Sierra Leone (ASSL) 2018 report, despite parliamentary clearance of the document. Rather public attentions are being diverted to what the ACC commissioner Francis Ben Kaifala described as the mismanagements of public funds spanned back to 2013.

Democracy without transparency and accountability is not a democratic dispensation to be entrust with an open government principles, wherein values and morality of the type democracy being run in Sierra Leone are completely flouted by the powers that be, as accountability and transparency are still big issues state authorities with no exception to president Julius Maada Bio and his entire government continue to be confronted with.

And whenever the media and other pressure groups question disregards for these values by government one automatically becomes public enemy number one, failing to note that the media forms a vital component of the democratic process.

Transparency and accountability now rapidly paving ways to high profile corruption in Sierra Leone, and to a large extent destroying the country’s growing democracy, as seen in delays in the implementations of recommendations of the ASSL 2018 report by government, ACC and the financial sector in particular simply because they are trying to hide the Bio led Sierra Leone People’s Party regime fiscal impropriety in utilizing public expenditures. A government that promised the nation and the world over of financial prudency and democratic accountability, and now acting contrary to what was promised on the campaign trails in 2012-2018.

For them accountability transparency and financial prudency are all dead now and have been laid to rest long since April 2018. All that is seen now are bloated wage bill for jobs that are being offered to pro-ruling party members and supporters at home and from their various diaspora chapters in the United Kingdom, United States of America and elsewhere in South-East Asia, lest we talk of fraudulent contracts procurements to siblings of government officials including those under the canopy of the seat of power. All these are unfolding under the leadership of the SLPP good governance technocrats paying lip service to the issues except when the World Bank step in to punctuate the finance ministry to slow down a bit in its massive waste of tax payers moneys.

That is the direction we all seem to be seeing the ASSL is moving towards, especially in instituting professional audits of public finances allocated to ministries departments and agencies on annual basis for the past ten to twenty years now in our country’s democratic consolidation. And the 2018 ASSL report is alarming with massive corruption as there were clear absents of transparency and accountability on the parts of public funds recipients which will militating against our efforts in consolidating democracy in the midst of grand corruption and those ills should therefore not be swept under the carpet in as much as the mitigation of corruption in the fiscal managements of public funds are concerned.

The ASSL 2018 report on missing One Hundred and Forty One Billion Leones is so alarming in that it has ignited serious lack of trust and public confidence in the political governance of the leadership for failures in enforcing financial prudency and democratic accountability principles. A platform president Bio campaigned on during his opposition days, though much is yet to be realized under his presidency.

With regards to the massive wastages in highlighted in the ASSL 2018 report the Sierra Leone anti-graft commission has pronounced that it will look into the recommendations of ASSL following a memorandum written by the Financial Secretary Sahr Lahai Jusu and copied heads of MDAs urging them to ensure strict accountability measure for mission funds or administrative actions being taken against defaulters. The Finance Ministry’s after though reactions on the ASSL 2018 report by Auditor General Mrs Lara Taylor-Pearce emerged shortly after the World Bank raised alarm on government for bloated wage bill, little or less cost consciousness in the area of procurement and the lack of tight financial policy by the country’s finance sector amidst hue and cry of incumbent government inheriting broken economy at the mockery of the suffering masses.

The more reasons the Bank is urging the failed government of Sierra Leone to diversify the food and agricultural productivity, this time with strong political will instead of empty policy papers and speeches. However delays by the Ministry of Finance, ACC and government to act on the ASSL 2018 report is being received with growing of public condemnations followed by huge lack of trust and confidence in the entire system by development partners as well as friends of Sierra Leone.

The ASSL 389 page-report by Auditor General – Mrs Taylor-Pearce, appears to have opened more holes in public finance mismanagement by MDAs than what was promised by president Bio, to block leakages in public funds, which has been questioned by donors in the areas of unregulated payments of salaries to the tune of Le4,384,950,940, daily sustenance allowances -DSAs and other allowances to public officials traveling to overseas all amounting to Le1,528,298,810, remained unexplained and unreported as well as Le18,708,699,304 nongovernmental programmes expenditures.

Apart from these the ASSL 2018 report also highlighted Le 22,267,935,226 impress not retired Le1, 113,548,001 amongst several other unregulated and unexplained expenditures unearthed by the public finance audits conducted by ASSL in the 2018 report which needs to well investigated by law enforcement agencies including the ACC without fare, favour nor delays in the best interest of democratic transparency, accountability and financial prudency.

ACC Chief Francis Ben Kaifala said investigations into financial misappropriations including the missing Le 104 billion amongst others discovered by the 2018 ASSL report are currently being investigated though with less political actions on the part of government, under the leadership of president Bio and lawyer Ben Kaifala, the man charged with tasks of fighting corruption.

For God’s sake there is no way the ACC can be selective in the fight against corruption, as seen in the selection of alleged corrupt practices offenders, like those vulnerable teachers who were early this week discharged by the court for lack of evidence and last government officials who are presently before the commissions of inquiries while big fishes kept swimming in the pool of corrupt practices at State House in the persons of president Bio’s Chief Minister, Prof. David John Francis, House of Parliament, Clerk Hon. Umaru Paran Tarawally, Haja Isata Abdulai Kamara of the China rice theft saga the list is long are not still brought to book for reasons best known to Kaifala and Bio. President Bio has on several occasions told the nation and the world over that he has no sacred cows in his war against corruption, which is why most people think his government set up the commission of inquiries to investigate and try alleged perpetrators of mismanagement of public funds during the last administration.

Also as in line with the mandates of the commission and other law enforcement agencies, the ACC is expected to look critically into the financial maladministration of public funds by the twenty-two local councils as reported by the ASSL 2018 report, which according to the service have largely undermined rural developments across the local government spectrums.

The ACC like any serious anti graft agency must therefore be seen speaking very well to the issues by investigating chief administrators and their various procurement officers rather than waiting for the World Bank and other development partners to reminding come them and government of their responsibilities, if only the present political leadership is sober about the fight against corruption.

Investigations into recommendations made by the ASSL 2018 report are very legitimate in that funds squandered by public servants and their various MDAs are not theirs but tax payers moneys and should be brought to book if found wanting of corruption related crimes.

Moreover several other MDAs including the National Minerals Agency are also coup able of corrupt of fences relating to the mismanagement of finances allocated to them which were allegedly not accounted for according to the ASSL 2018 report all of which need to be probed.

What still remain largely shocking is that the ACC seems to shifting public focus from the holes in wastage of public funds discovered by the 2018 ASSL report irrespective of the alarming rate at which it left so many huge holes in the national economy.

By and large, the call for democratic accountability and financial prudency in the management of public funds being allocated to MDAs must be appropriately accounted for by recipients of such funds as reported in the 2018 ASSL report published by the Auditor General and team and it in that regards that the ACC, Finance Ministry and government must be hasten enough to investigate mismanagement of taxpayers moneys with full implementation of recommendations made by the ASSL 2018 report. For the people want to where did their money go since the new regime set in to work.

Most Viewed Posts

  • PRESS RELEASE ON INTERNATIONAL DAY OF PEACE, SEPTEMBER 21, 2021 (Forum) (1)
    By THE MANO RIVER WOMEN PEACE NETWORK (MARWOPNET) SIERRA LEONE CHAPTER To all MARWOPNET (SL) share this peace message with Sierra Leoneans directly and by extension all citizens of the Mano River Basin and beyond on the occasion of International Day of Peace. This is because we are a sub-regional women Peace Network whose distinctive […]
  • Introduction of Online Voting: IPAM Sets another Record in Africa (Forum) (2)
    By Alhaji Dauda M Bangura Under the energetic and innovative leadership of the Deputy Vice Chancellor of the Institute of Public Administration and Management (IPAM), Prof. Edmond Nonie, the university has for the first time in the history of Sierra Leone and in the West Africa sub-region, set up an online Students’ Union (SU) Voting […]
  • Caritas Freetown Empower 30 Women (Forum) (2)
    After a successful one-year business, 30 women of Tissana Village, Russel along the Freetown Peninsular axis were so joyous to share-out eighty million Leones among themselves in their Savings and Loans Association (VSLA). The VSLA was formed some three years ago in that community by Caritas Freetown -Justice and Peace Commission (CF-JPC) in partnership with […]
  • Manso Dumbuya Declares For SLPP Regional Chairman (Forum) (2)
    The incumbent Chairman for the Sierra Leone People’s Party (SLPP) in the Western Region, Hon. Manso A. Dumbuya aka Top Up has officially declared for a second and final term. He made this declaration at a well-attended gathering of all constituencies and districts delegates of Western Area on Sunday 19th September 2021 at John James […]
  • NATCOM Asks Le 292bn from Govt. (Forum) (2)
    By Henry Kargbo The Director-General of the National Telecommunication Commission, Mr Daniel B. Kaitibi has said in Freetown that NATCAM generated Le 292bn revenue for government in 2020. He disclosed that the commission also generated Le 29.6bn from January to August 2021. NATCOM DG Kaitini Thursday 23 September 2021made the pronouncement whiles making a request […]
  • NDC Expose APC ‘Enemies of Progress’ (Forum) (2)
    The main opposition All People’s Congress (APC) has publicly exposed what the party recently described as ‘enemies of progress’ who are causing problems within the party. The revelations were made by the APC Chairman and Leader at opening of the party’s Emergency National Delegates’ Conference, hosted at the regional secretariat, North in Makeni, from 17-19 […]
  • Fulbright Fellow Meet Higher Education Minister (Forum) (3)
    The Milton Margai Technical University (MMTU) on Tuesday 28th September 2021 officially presented the Fulbright Fellow recruited by the America Government, Professor Desmond Brown to the Minister of Technical and Higher Education, Professor Alpha Wurie at the Ministry ‘s New England Ville conference room in Freetown. The Minister of Technical and Higher Education, Professor Alpha […]
  • RC Bank MD Wowed Canadian College Students With Powerful Motivational Speech (Forum) (3)
    The Canadian College for Modern Technology in Mile 91 has played host to Sierra Leone's foremost Motivational Speaker who also doubles as the Managing Director of Rokel Commercial Bank. On the invitation of the college administration, Dr Ekundayo Walton Gilpin, was at the College for a motivational speaking session on the topic, "Creating Your Tomorrow […]
  • The APC Is Stronger and Ready (Forum) (3)
    22nd September, 2021 The events of the last few days have been very historic for one of Sierra Leone's, and indeed, one of Africa's oldest and most successful political parties. The All People's Congress (APC) of Sierra Leone has endured more than three very turbulent years following the 2018 general elections. But once again, the […]
  • Sierra Leone Participates in Chinese Ningxia Expo (Forum) (4)
    Sierra Leone was among Africans and non-Africans countries that participated in the first International China’s Wine Culture and Tourism Expo. The Expo which kicks off to bring worldwide wine lovers was sponsored by the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs, the Ministry of Culture and Tourism, the Chinese People's Association for Friendship with Foreign Countries […]
  • USL Goes to Pujehun (Forum) (4)
    By Alhaji Dauda Musa Bangura On Friday 1st October, 2021, history was made in Pujehun District when the University of Sierra Leone management team formally commissioned the first-ever USL branch in this district. This historic landmark achievement occurred under the watch of the USL Vice Chancellor and Principal, Brigadier General Prof. Foday Sahr and Deputy […]
  • Liberian Foreign Minister Meets President Koroma (Forum) (4)
    The Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Liberia Dr. Toga Gayewea McIntosh, who was on a tri-nation tour of the Mano River Union region on Thursday (1st September 2011), delivered a letter conveying a special message from the Chairman of the MRU, Her Excellency Madam President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, to President Dr. Ernest […]
  • Obasanjo Lauds Koroma’s Development Drive Obasanjo Lauds Koroma’s Development Drive (Forum) (4)
    FREETOWN: The former Nigerian president Olusegun Obasanjo has on Friday 26th August 2011 commended the government of Sierra Leone under the leadership of President Ernest Koroma, for the developmental gains that have taken place in the country in barely less than four years of effective governance.His good opinion was given to the government and people […]
  • NCD in Face-To-Face Meeting with Pupils (Forum) (4)
    To commemorate International Day of Democracy (IDD), the National Commission for Democracy (NCD), Western Region, on Monday 20th September 2021 organized a face-to-face meeting with selected pupils of some secondary schools in the Western Area at the HEAL-Sierra Leone E-Learning House, 40 Sanders Street in Freetown on the theme “Strengthening Democratic Resilience in the Face […]
  • Guma Targets 9.9bn Debt Recovery (Forum) (4)
     By Henry Kargbo  Managing Director of Guma Valley Water Company Maada S Kpenge has disclosed that Guma is targeting 9.9 billion Leones debt recovery for 2022 fiscal year. He made this disclosure during their annual 2022 budget presentation at the Ministry of Finance. He said that the recovery is part of debts Ministries Departments and […]