The Auditor General of Sierra Leone, Mrs Lara Taylor-Pearce, has been awarded the 2015 prestigious National Integrity Award by the Anti-Corruption Commission. The award ceremony which normally coincides with the commemoration of the World Anti-Corruption Day took place at the Bintumani Hotel Complex on Wednesday 9th December 2015.
The colourful ceremony attracted public officials, development partners and Sierra Leoneans from various walks of life. Presenting the award on behalf of the President of Sierra Leone, the Secretary to the President, Mr Osho Coker paid tribute to Mrs Taylor-Pearce and her staff for their distinguished service in the protection of the country's resources and hoped the award will inspire her to greater success in future.
Receiving the award on behalf of the Auditor General, the Deputy Auditor General, Specialised Audit Tamba Momoh, thanked the ACC for the award and on behalf of Mrs Taylor-Pearce assured his compatriots that his organisation and the Auditor General shall remain committed to the protection of the resources of the country for the benefit of the people. The National Integrity award is an annual accolade that is awarded by the Anti-Corruption Commission to deserving Sierra Leoneans who have exhibited the highest standard of integrity in the course of their service to the nation for the year ended.
Since she became the Auditor General of Audit Service Sierra Leone, Mrs Taylor-Pearce has demonstrated remarkable courage in her audit of government institutions accountable for public funds, and has consistently and fearlessly exposed accountability shortfalls wherever they occur in her Annual Reports since 2011. Furthermore, she has exhibited an uncompromising commitment to high ethical standards and a passion for accountability and transparency in the discharge of her responsibilities.
The Auditor General’s track record of probity and distinguished stewardship transcends her country’s borders. In 2014, such was the distinction with which she represented her country on the Governing Board of the African Organization of English- Speaking Supreme Audit Institutions (AFROSAI-E), that her peers on the continental organisation unanimously elected her Chair of that august body to a three year term (2014-2017). In November 2015, she was also decorated with an award in South Africa for her excellence and professionalism in the implementation of AFROSAI-E’s initiatives.
In addition to her incisive Annual Reports into the utilization of public funds which has brought her national acclaim, in 2014, Mrs Taylor-Pearce undertook a sensational real time audit of the Ebola funds which exposed certain irregularities in the manner in which some of the funds were utilised. As a result of a public inquiry by the Public Accounts Committee of Parliament into the report, hundreds of millions of Leones of public funds were recovered and paid back into the country’s Public Accounts and some culpable public officials sanctioned. AFROSAI-E, the continental audit body, was so impressed that it showcased the report on its website as a testament to best practice in real timed audit.