Deputy Speaker warns Finance Minister, ACC to ‘stay off’ Technical Audit report
April 10, 2019
By Jariatu S. Bangura
Deputy Speaker, Hon. Segepor Solomon Thomas, who doubles as Chairman of the Public Account Committee, yesterday sternly cautioned the Minister of Finance and the Commissioner of the Anti-Corruption Commission to ‘stay off’ the Technical Audit report that was recently launched at the Ministry of Finance.
He stated that the document is purely meant for Parliament to act on and not their respective institutions.
Hon. Thomas also warned the Auditor General, Madam Lara Taylor-Pearce, to always submit her findings or report to Parliament and not the Minister of Finance, unless she is told to do so.
“It is not the business of the Minister of Finance, but Parliament, and we can wholly accept it or not. The Public Account Committee can look at the report and make recommendations to the whole House. We don’t want any MDA to take advantage of the situation. Stay off this report, otherwise, you will be held for contempt, if you disrespect the committee. We must be a country of law. We want the ACC to stay put until we look at the report,” he warned.
Earlier, Whilst tabling the report on the Technical Audit done on Social Security, Telecommunication, Civil Works and Energy sectors, volume 1 & 2, the deputy chairman of Public Account Committee, Hon. Lahai Marah, commended the Leader of Government Business for making it clear to the public that all audit reports must be laid on the table of the House, as findings and recommendations made by the Auditor General were mere ‘assumptions’.
He said the document would have been presented to Parliament and not to some other institutions, thus pointing out that the Auditor General had no right to have presented the report to the Minister of Finance or the ACC.
“It is the document of Parliament and no one has the authority or responsibility to look into it without waiting for the report of Public Account Committee. It is clear in the Constitution that anyone that disturbs Parliament from the discharge of its function should be held in contempt, and if they are charged, they will be criminalised,” he said.
Hon. Marah stated that the Technical Report is a special report, hence it could not be a public document until parliament look into it.
The Technical Audit, which report was launched by the Minister of Finance, Jacob Jusu Saffa, was one of the recommendations made by the Government Transition Team (GTT).The said report revealed that over one billion United States Dollars was siphoned by the various institutions that were audited. Meanwhile, the opposition has described the said report as a complete diversion of people’s attention about the failure of the New Direction administration’s one year in governance.