19 February 2013

Sierra Leone: Audit Service, Non-State Actors Dialogue On Auditor's Report

The Audit Service Sierra Leone (ASSL) has concluded a one-day workshop with the non-state actors (NSA) on the recent 2011 Auditor General's report,which has been tabled in parliament for discussion.

The workshop, which was held at Santano House on Howe Street last Friday, was attended by several media practitioners, civil society organisations and representatives from non-governmental organisations. Chairman of the programme, Victor L. Koroma, said the pressure will reduce if the media, CSOs and NSAs assist in bringing better development to the country and opined that the people of Sierra Leone have high hopes especially now that the report is on the table of parliament as Sierra Leoneans are yearning to know how monies stated in the report were utilized.

He said it is very embarrassing for a country that relies on donor support to have many cases of monies given but not being accounted for.He noted that such behaviour will lead to the downfall of any nation, adding that members of the Public Account Committee should double up their steps in monitoring MDAs this year to ensure that missing documents for monies utilized are accounted for.

Information, Education and Communication Officer at ASSL, Martin Sandy, said the purpose of the workshop was for the ASSL to hand over the report to civil society organisations, non-state actors and the public as the mandate given to the Auditor General to audit all MDAs at the end of every financial year has been concluded.

He commended the media, CSOs and others that have contributed to the promotion of the report and maintained that the pressure and mandate are now left with them for the audit function and the monitoring process in exposing corrupt MDAs.

Senior Auditor, Public Account Committee, Alfred Saffa, said it is when the report has been tabled in parliament that it will be made public just as it is mandated by the Constitution that at the end of every financial year the Auditor General will tender an annual report for MDAs, adding that any institution that is established by an act of parliament is required to be audited.

He said that with all the taxes collected by the National Revenue Authority (NRA), there were no proper documents to render for verification by the auditors which is frustrating, and urged that the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) take the responsibility to query all MDAs as such will be a disgrace to the state if not addressed. He added that CSOs would be delighted to know the reaction of the parliamentarians and the recommendations that would be sent to the public, while advising against allowing the report to end in the dustbin or shelves but mobilization should be undertaken instead by CSOs to alarm the executive body on what they should do.

National Coordinator for Non-State Actors, Sidi Bah, commended ASSL for producing the voluminous report as it is a new trend undertaken by the service. He said the report is very interesting as MDAs utilized monies and could not account for them and with the existence of CSOs, parliament and the media, a better result will be attained at the end of the day as the concerns raised will be adhered to. He said the report should be continually looked into and the government should take appropriate steps. He also urged the ASSL to make copies available to people at the grassroots and should create an open channel of communication with CSOs as they have connection with the performance and proper monitoring sector to help capture debtors.

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