Auditor’s General Tribunal: State House Accountant testifies in court

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By Ibrahim Kabba Turay

Accountant at the Office of the President State House,Musa Jajua, has  testified in the tribunal hearing of the former Auditor General, Lara Taylor Pearce and her deputy, Tamba Momoh.

According to the tribunal witness, Musa Jajua, he was a staff at the Accountant General Office, but had since 2011 been attached at State House as assistant accountant.

The witness said as an Assistant Accountant and a custodian of receipts, his role was to prepare payment of vouchers for the Office of the President through the supervision of his boss, the Chief Accountant, Joseph Elliot.

He testified that he was also working closely with the State Chief of Protocol, the Ministry of Finance, Accountant General Department for payment processing approved by the Office of the Secretary to President, coordinate payments for local and overseas travel, being approved by the Office of the President

The witness said he recalled in May 2021, when his office at State House received a letter from the Audit Service of Sierra Leone, informing the Account Department at State House that they were coming to do verification for the financial year 2020.

He said the engagement letter from Audit Service Sierra Leone was endorsed by the Secretary to President. The team of auditors came and had an engagement meeting with them at State House.

At the meeting, he said the team requested for certain documents needed for the audit process, and to be provided by the Office of the President.

The documents requested, according to witness, were presented to the team of auditors and that they proceeded with their auditing.

He said after which the team went and later sent the draft report, stating that they will be coming again for certain documents that were not provided to the team of auditors.

He said the team came and he ( the witness) provided the documents which they verified, and in their final report the team commented that the expected issue had therefore been resolved.

He said payment receipts of hotel bills overseas were amongst the list of documents requested and which he witness identified.

Musa Jajua also recalled on the 19th October 2021, when verification report was addressed to the Secretary to President.

Asked by Principal State Counsel, Ahmed J. Maxwell Bockarie, as to whether he (witness) is familiar with the phrase of 3rd party confirmation, the witness answered no.

While being cross examined by Lawyer Roland Wright on behalf of the first respondent, Lara Taylor Pearce, the witness said at the beginning of the audit investigation he was not in possession of certain documents, but with the State Chief of Protocol.

The lawyer asked the witness whether he was aware that  there was a  discrepancy of seven hundred United States Dollars difference as per the calculation of receipts, the witness said he was not the author and not in the position to say.

The 4th tribunal witness was presented as an expert satisfied chartered accountant, but was objected to Lawyer Roland Wright on the grounds that there was no statement before the Court and for him to lead evidence the State Counsel need to come the right way.

An application for the 4th tribunal witness to lead evidence was made by Ahmed J. Maxwell Bockarie.

The tribunal has been adjourned to the 16th November, 2023 for ruling of State Counsel application.

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