By Jariatu S. Bangura
The government through the Ministry of Finance will take stringent actions against defaulting Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) in relation to issues raised in the 2021 Audit report, to ensure that audit recommendations are implemented accordingly to improve the overall public financial management in Sierra Leone.
According to a release issued by the ministry, they were currently working with various stakeholders, including the Audit Service Sierra Leone (ASSL) and the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC), to develop a holistic and coordinated approach to address the issues raised in the Audit Report.
“It is worthy to note that actions to be taken will include application of Section 23 of the Finance Act 2022, which amends Section 13 of the Public Financial Management Act 2016, by the provision of a new Sub-Section (6) stipulating that: “Notwithstanding this Act or any other law where the vote controller or other responsible person of a- (a) budgetary agency; (b) sub-vented agency; (other entity in the central government (d) local council; (e) social security fund ; or ( public enterprise fails to implement or respond to the internal and external audit recommendations within thirty working days from the effective date of the publication or issuance of the report, his remuneration, fees and allowances shall be withheld subject to the authorization of the minister until the vote controller, or other responsible person, implements the internal and external audit recommendations,” the release stated.
The release also states that the Internal Audit Directorate within the Ministry is currently undertaking follow-up actions on the report and that appropriate actions will be taken against all process owners, vault controllers, accountants, procurement officers, both past and present, mentioned in the Audit Report.
The release further stated that the Ministry of Finance was compiling a schedule (by public sector entities) detailing audit issues, responsible officers and action points for the consideration of the Minister of Finance.