January 19, 2015
The management teams of the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) and the Audit Service-Sierra Leone (ASSL) on Friday 16 January met at the ACC head office in Freetown to strategize on the way forward for 2015. This strategic meeting between the two institutions was sequel to the release of the 2013 Auditor General’s Annual Report, and among the deliberations of the meeting, it was confirmed that the report is yet to be scrutinized by the Public Account Committee of the Sierra Leone Parliament.
As the leading institutions with the mandate to instill integrity in public life, the ACC and ASSL in 2014 signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) which defined the terms of collaboration between the two institutions. The mandate of the ASSL is to examine the public sector institutions by carrying out financial and management audits. The ACC on the other hand has the mandate to investigate and prosecute instances of corruption in the public sector. Therefore, the two institutions believe that their union is very significant to expose and confront corruption.
ACC Commissioner Joseph Fitzgerald Kamara, in his statement, affirmed that one of the strategies for 2015 for both institutions will be joint public education and training sessions for the public sector. He stated that this union will contribute immensely in the investigation and prosecution of corruption cases.
In addition, the Commissioner cannot agree more with the notion that the union of the two institutions will help to assure compliance to the recommendations of the Auditor General’s report and the monitoring of the Audit Appliance register which should be maintained at the Accountant General’s office.
Tamba Momoh, Deputy Auditor General of the ASSL, speaking on behalf of the Auditor General, expressed satisfaction about the initial meeting and stated that the ASSL needed the support of other agencies such as parliament, civil society organizations and particularly the ACC. He said it is important that citizens understand the purpose of having an audit and the results of that audit.
However, he pointed out that not all disparity of accounts may be due to corruption, noting that the recommendations carried in the report are to ensure full transparency and accountability to cancel out the perception of suspicion of corruption.
He further highlighted that loss of government resources due to lack of efficiency in following financial procedures, procurement procedures and improper records keeping can be avoided if MDAs comply with not only with the recommendations of the Auditor General’s report, but also that of the ACC as a result of a systems review and implementation of the National Anti-Corruption Strategy (NACS).
Mr. Momoh voiced the need for integrity management to be made functional and effective, adding other stakeholders, namely the Public Accounts, Transparency and Accountability and Finance committees of parliament, would need to consult and confer to facilitate a definite focus and strategic action.
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Deputy Commissioner of the ACC, Shollay Davies, in his closing remarks expressed thanks to both management teams for the collaboration in 2014. He hoped that 2015 will see a more robust implementation of the MoU and the action plan.