February 26, 2015
Transparency International Sierra Leone (TI-SL) has commended the Audit Service Sierra Leone “for the proactive stance they have taken to audit the usage of Ebola response funds from May to October 2014”.
“We look forward to follow up actions that will ensure proper public financial management,” the organisation said in a press statement issued on Tuesday February 24.
The full text of the release follows:
The Ebola outbreak in Sierra Leone has led to an unprecedented receipt of funds by the country from well meaning individuals and institutions both national and international including other governments to support the country in fighting the disease.
As citizens expressed appreciation at the kind gestures they also raised numerous concerns with regards to the prudent usage of the funds. As such the initiative taken by the Audit Service Sierra Leone to conduct a periodic performance audit on the usage of the funds is quite appreciated by all citizens.
The Audit Report recently tabled in Parliament on the usage of the related funds sets the precedence which TI-SL believes will ensure that due processes and procedures which were not initially adhered to, as has been revealed by the report, will from henceforth be adhered to. This will stem the on-going practice of utilizing development funds without regard for laid down processes and procedures to ensure prudent financial management.
The Ebola outbreak has had a long lasting and devastating impact on all sectors of the country, especially the Health Sector. It could be recalled that it was due to the poor use of funds in the past that led to major lapses in the Health Sector which resulted in the lack of adequately trained professional health personnel, state of the art medical logistics and the requisite funds which the country needed to curb the spread of the disease, causing it to spiral out of control thereby endangering the whole country.
It is therefore expected that the funds that have been donated so far will not only be used to stop this present outbreak but also to further strengthen the health sector, through specialized training of health workers, the provision of state of the art medical logistics and adequate finance to also effectively deal with this outbreak and other medical conditions.
This can only be achieved through effective and judicious use of all forms of financial support available now and those to come.
In view of this, we regard this as a timely move by Audit Service Sierra Leone to galvanize into action to probe the utilization of the funds so far. Whilst we look forward to another periodic report for the usage of funds from November 2014 to present, we are confident that Parliament and the Anti-Corruption Commission will do their utmost to prove that the usage of the Ebola funds is not to be done in a ‘business as usual’ manner.
We also look forward to a ‘Value for Money” audit which will ensure that we receive good value for those expenditures and whether what was spent even if properly approved and documented ought to have been spent.
Transparency International Sierra Leone (TI-SL)