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‘Only 231 recommendations implemented out of 953’

- Audit report reveals

February 9, 2016 By Regina Pratt

Auditor General, Mrs. Lara Taylor-Pearce,

Auditor General, Mrs. Lara Taylor-Pearce,

The 2014 Audit report on ministries, departments and agencies reveals that out of the 953 recommendations made, only 231 have been implemented while 75 of the recommendations are in progress and 647 have not been implemented.

The auditors stated that in comparison to 2013, the rate of implementation of recommendations appeared to have marginally improved from 19% in 2013 to 24.2% in 2015, albeit adding that the improvement was nothing to smile about as it was due to the fact that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs was not included in the 2014 figures as the annual audit was not undertaken in time for inclusion due to logistical constraints arising from the Ebola outbreak.

“Almost without exception our observations and recommendations are not being given the attention they deserve or that Parliament, citizens and international donors have a right to expect,” the report states, citing as example the Freetown City Council, which has implemented less than 8% of recommendations.

“There is a clear pattern of ASSL [Audit Service Sierra Leone] year-over-year repeating observations, recommendations across all the audit entities, and in the areas of repetition it relate to basic tenets of public financial management and compliance with the laws of this country,” the audit report states further.

According to Auditor General Mrs. Lara Taylor-Pearce, “dereliction of duty…by senior public servants and others are largely in the following areas within cash management and internal control, compliance with procurement laws and regulations, basic records maintenance of an administrative and financial nature and protection of assets.”

The auditors say there was clearly a lack of political will and a systemic failure of corporate culture to address issues raised by auditors in previous years, and that with the possible exception of procurement, where the laws and regulations are complex but addressable with training of officers, the remainder are well within the capacity of even moderately skilled clerical staff if properly supervised.

“Indeed not only are managers not motivated to improve, but may in some cases be complicit in not doing so,” the auditors aver.

The report states that, “Overall just 24.2% (19% in 2013) of recommendations have been implemented, an apparent but not real improvement.”