With the Audit tribunal adjourned to an indefinite date, Member of Parliament representing constituency 025 Paul Saa Sam has urged parliament to summon tribunal members, expressing concern over the huge salaries paid to them. The tribunal was set to investigate the suspension of Auditor General Lara Taylor Pearce and her Deputy.
Sam made the call on the 28th November 2022 during the debate on the bill titled the Appropriation Act 2023 and pointed out that it’s been over a year now and the tribunal is yet to produce a substantial report, at huge expense to the state.
According to the Law Maker, the government has gone contrary to the promise made to curtail all leakages of public funds, explaining that the government has been spending excess on maintaining the tribunal.
“Whilst we are blocking leakages, we are opening drainages” said the MP.
Another MP Sahr Charles cited paragraph 66 of the budget which speaks on strengthening the financial independence of the Audit Service Sierra Leone, noting that he is more concerned over the functional independence of the institution.
Charles explained that the institution has gone over a year without a substantive auditor general, with someone acting in that capacity since the suspension. He noted that the issue should be of concern to all, since the institution in charged with the responsibility to audit all Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) with regards to their expenditure.
It could be recalled that Budget Advocacy Network (BAN) on the 11th November 2022 called on the government to set a time frame for the conclusion of the tribunal sittings.
On the 17th November 2021, the president through consultations with the Judicial and Legal Service Commission ensured the setting up of the tribunal to investigate Taylor-Pearce and Tamba Momoh for alleged “misconduct and lack of professional performance” in the course of their duties.
The Auditor General and her Deputy have since been were suspended.
Three of those later appointed after her suspension by the president took oath on the 6th December, 2021 after two others had declined serving as members of the tribunal.