In her bid to unearth the irregularities and expose the misuse of the people’s money, the Auditor General has come under intense criticisms, and there are indications that those on whose toes she had stepped are not going to take her actions lightly, they seem to have gone on the war path, making all sorts of allegations against her institution, so as to discredit her work. Unfortunately, they have failed to realise that the position of Auditor General is a creation of the country’s constitution (section 119), and that she is only answerable to Parliament (the people’s representatives), by extension, to the people of Sierra Leone, and no one else (section 119 (6) of the 1991 Constitution refers)
Section 119 of the 1991 Constitution:
(6) In the exercise of his functions under this Constitution or any other law, the Auditor-General shall not be subject to the direction or control of any person or authority.
This was intentionally put in the said constitution to protect the Auditor General from interference in the discharge of her duties. So far Sierra Leoneans are satisfied with her work and only those on whose toes she has stepped are worried of further revelations that might come up when she continues to scrutinize the Corona Virus Fund.
The Audit Report she produced during the tenure of the former President Koroma administration was one of the documents used in the COI, thus there is no reason to think that her report will be otherwise manipulated. She has been on record for giving the most concise and forthright in her description of the use of the public accounts of the country. It is her work that has made many Sierra Leoneans aware that there has been massive corruption in public institutions, which had been responsible for the current state of the country’s economy and any manipulation to get rid of her could best be described as a means of allowing corruption to have a field day in the country.
What is being displayed by the Ministry of Finance against the Auditor General is an attempt to take away the independence of the office of Auditor General, an office create by the constitution of Sierra Leone, and in the process give all unscrupulous officials a free hand in looting the people’s money with impunity and render the masses in abject poverty. The ASSL is not a revenue generation entity, but rather an entity that investigates the use of revenue generated for the public good by state officials and other persons in authority. All funding for the institution is from the consolidated fund in accordance with the dictates of the constitution and the Treasury Single Account (TSA) does not in any way include it in its list of those that should deposit all their accounts there; According to Executive Order 1 of President Bio. .
It could be recalled that attempts to control the activities of the ASSL by the Ministry Of Finance, which issued threatening at its budgetary allocation will be withheld if they do not comply with that directive, saw the institution seeking legal opinion from the Attorney General’s Office on same, where the ,his reply said
Unfortunately, after the release of the 2019 Audit Report and that of COVID-19, which established wide spread corruption by government officials, as well as those in the Ministry of Finance, the Financial Secretary Again came up with his earlier memo in respect of the ASSL adherence to the TSA regulations. In a sudden change of mind, the Solicitor General, Tarawally
Why the two different stance on the same matter (one in 2018 and another in 2020) by the office of the Attorney General? Is it to render the ASSL helpless in the execution of her duties when it is against them and to embrace it when it is in their favour?Has the Auditor General bruised the heads of the cats, rendering them fierce and dangerous? Does it make sense for the Accountant General to audit the ASSL that audits its use of public fund? Is transparency and accountability being compromised? These are questions that have all been asked in the on-going wrangling between the Ministry of Finance and the ASSL over accountability issues. Where will this leave the fight against corruption, so vehemently preached by President Bio?