CSOs call for transparency in Auditor-General’s tribunal outcome

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A cross section of CSOs making the call

By Hassan Gbassay Koroma

Civil society organizations have urged the government to disclose the findings of the recently concluded tribunal concerning the suspended Auditor-General, Lara Taylor-Pearce and one of her deputies.

The call for transparency came last Friday from the Budget Advocacy Network and other institutions, including the Sierra Leone Association of Journalists, 50/50 Group, Campaign for Good Governance, Network Movement for Justice and Development, Institute for Legal Research and Advocacy Network, among others.

Abu Brima, Executive Director of Network Movement for Justice and Development, speaking as the Chairman of the event, emphasized that as NGOs, they stand for transparency, accountability, and the country’s development, hence their dedication to contributing to these goals.

“We, the undersigned Civil Society Organisations (CSOs), are urging for greater transparency following the conclusion of the tribunal set up to investigate the Auditor General, Lara Taylor-Pearce, and one of her deputies, Tamba Momoh, over allegations of ‘professional misconduct,'” Brima stated.

Brima noted that the tribunal, tasked with reviewing charges of ‘breach of confidentiality and professional misconduct,’ has completed its investigation, and the findings were presented to the President on 12th June 2024, as per Section 137(5)(b) of the Constitution.

The charges revolved around the Auditor General’s alleged contact with third parties during a compliance audit of the Office of the President without explicit permission. Specifically, the tribunal examined concerns that Taylor-Pearce and Momoh contacted hotels in Lebanon, South Africa, and The Gambia to verify audit receipts without the Office of the President’s approval.

He despite the tribunal’s conclusion, there has been no communication to the public regarding the next steps. Brima emphasized that principles of natural justice demand the findings be communicated to Taylor-Pearce, Momoh, and the public.

He stressed the importance of transparency, accountability, and maintaining the integrity of the investigative process. “We urgently urge the tribunal to provide the report’s contents to Taylor-Pearce and Momoh and to make the findings public.This transparency is vital to ensure fairness and address concerns about the tribunal’s proceedings,” Brima noted.

Ahmed Sahid Nasralla, President of the Sierra Leone Association of Journalists (SLAJ), reiterated SLAJ’s commitment to upholding free expression, press freedom, and holding government officials accountable. Nasralla called for transparency and accountability in publishing the tribunal’s findings.

Mattia Koi Dimoh, Country Representative of Christian Aid Sierra Leone, emphasized their institution’s stand for justice and fairness, joining the advocacy for the tribunal report findings to be disclosed to the suspended parties and made public.

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