S. U. Thoronka………..
Audit Sierra Leone (ASS) on Monday19th May2014 presented to the Pre-Legislative Committee the draft 2012 Audit Bill to replace the 1998 Audit Act.
Deputy Auditor General, Tamba Sahr Momoh in his introduction informed the committee that before now the Audit Department used to have only one qualified accountant but that at present Audit Sierra Leone can boast of twelve (12) qualified accountants. He, however, mentioned some of the clauses inserted in the proposed bill that were not in the 1998 Audit Act.
Mr. Momoh said Audit Sierra Leone intends introducing in the not too distant future best practices from other Commonwealth nations already visited within the Africa continent and was optimistic that the idea would enhance democracy and good governance in Sierra Leone. He said the purpose was to strengthen the proposed bill in accordance with both the Lima and Mexico Declarations.
The Auditor General Mrs. Lara Taylor-Pearce in seeking the views and input of MPs informed that now that the Audit Service Act 2014 is before them their responsibility is to look at the document properly and make relevant contributions.
The Auditor General noted that good laws act as reference point by which a country is guaranteed to do business with both local and international investors in a competitive and transparent manner.
She appealed to M Ps to help the Audit Service using their legislative powers to provide more budgetary support so that the business of Audit can be carried out without hindrance.
A P C Member of Parliament for Constituency 51, Honourable Hassan Sheriff noted that before the Audit Report could be laid in Parliament it is already in the public domain. He cited the 2011 report which he said the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) received before it was presented to Parliament.
The Deputy Auditor General Sahr Tamba Momoh responded by stating that at no time had the Audit Sierra Leone presented the report to the ACC before laying the document in Parliament. He said according to official procedure it is only when the Audit Report is laid before Parliament and thereafter, it then becomes a public document.
SLPP member for Constituency 27 in Kono District Honourable Komba Eric Koedoyoma in addressing the issue raised by his colleague M P, informed that when some members of Parliament visited the British House of Commons before 2011, a question was raised by a member of the host committee as to whether audit reports are made public in Sierra Leone. Hon. Koedoyoma said although the question was simple they could not proffer an answer and no reason was given for failing to answer to the simple question.
He said when they returned home, late Hon. Chukuma Johnson who was part of the delegation and Chairman of the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) wrote to the Audit Sierra Leone instructing the A G to make the audit report public