- to account for public monies
February 9, 2016 By Ibrahim Tarawallie
The Accountant General’s Department of Sierra Leone is seeking more independence in a bid to efficiently and effectively account for public monies.
“We want more autonomy. This department is not yet sufficiently independent. It’s as if we are being breastfed by the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development,” said Accountant General Kebbe A. Kouroma.
He stated that the vision of the department was to establish a quality accounting class, efficient treasury and accounting systems in the public sector by compiling timely, accurate, comprehensive public accounts and institute financial controls that would prevent fraud and irregularities.
Kouroma added that his responsibilities include placing accountants in government ministries and departments, as “someone should always be there to look after that money”.
“We do not raise revenue, we are just a conduit. It is the ministry [of Finance] who prepares and allocates the budget, and we are just spending. We do not operate in vacuum; we have rules and regulations that guide us,” he said.
Mr. Kouroma opined that lots of the work that they do was highly centralized, which is why they intend to devolve some of their functions to ministries and various sub-units to ease the burden.
Even though the department has instituted lots of controls to make sure that fraud and irregularities are a thing of the past, the Accountant General highlighted capacity building at all levels and the need for highly professional accountants as some of the problems affecting their operation.
“We are tired of signing cheques. We want a system that will make payment direct,” he called. “We want to automate our records going forward so that when records come to us, we scan them.”