24th June 2015
Audit Service Sierra Leone (ASSL) held a workshop with members of the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) at the Barmoi Hotel in Freetown on Wednesday 18th February, 2015. The workshop was organised so that members of the PAC could interact with staff of ASSL and learn about the operations of the institution.
The Auditor General Mrs Lara Taylor-Pearce welcomed the honourable Members of Parliament to the workshop saying that even though ASSL and PAC have a relationship that has been going on smoothly and there was a need to strengthen it even more.
She stressed that over the past years, ASSL has had tremendous support from the PAC adding that because of the deliberations being held on the Auditor General’s Annual Report, the PAC has made the MDAs a little more accountable. Notwithstanding this fact she noted that there was still more to be done. She reiterated that there was a need for ASSL and PAC to continually collaborate so that their work would not go in vain. She pointed out that as the Supreme Audit Institution; the ASSL wants to make sure that all public funds are being properly accounted for.
The Chairman of the Public Accounts Committee, Hon. Chernoh M. Bah commended the Audit Service for doing a great job over the years especially with the submission of the Auditor General’s Report within the timeframe stipulated in the constitution. He noted that as members of the PAC they will put all modalities in place to support the ASSL in carrying out its mandate. He assured the Auditor General and her team that PAC will continue to give maximum support to the Audit Service. He noted that despite the challenges of the previous year, the PAC will work hard to meet its target for this year.
The Deputy Chairman of the PAC, Hon. Komba Koedoyoma stated that it would be difficult to ascertain the work of the PAC without the corporation of ASSL. He pointed out that over the years; the PAC had been able to conduct hearings on the 2011 and 2012 Auditor General’s reports as well as reports for the Local Councils. He pointed out that the recommendations which were made by ASSL and endorsed by PAC were submitted to the President and the Office of the Attorney General and Minister of Justice. He noted that PAC has held public hearings on eight performance Audit Reports and will do three other Performance Audit Reports that are before the Committee.
Commenting on the collaboration with PAC, the Deputy Auditor General, Specialised Audits, Mr Tamba Momoh stated that there has been an improvement in the working relationship between ASSL and PAC especially with the establishment of PAC division within ASSL and the provision of a dedicated DAG to provide technical support to the PAC. He also commented on the prompt action on statutory deduction including PAYE and withholding taxes. Mr Momoh also highlighted the holding of Vote Controllers in public and the summoning of key personnel of MDAs as a great achievement in the relationship between ASSL and PAC. Mr Momoh also commended the PAC for holding regional public hearings and allowing ASSL to ask auditees questions during public hearings.
However, Mr Momoh cited the lack of ASSL-PAC pre hearing and the further verification by ASSL during and after hearing as a major challenge. He also noted that the ASSL was not preview to the last PAC report on the hearings conducted on the Auditor General’s Report. He also appealed to the PAC to improve on the media coverages on the public hearings.