10th April, 2013
Audit Service Sierra Leone (ASSL) held a workshop with members of the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) at the new hall in Parliament on Monday 8th April, 2013. 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 Chairman of the Public Accounts Committee, Hon. Chernoh M. Bah welcomed members of the PAC and management of the ASSL to the workshop. He pointed out that the PAC worked in collaboration with the Auditor General and ASSL to effectively monitor the expenditure of MDAs and other key Government institutions on behalf of the citizens of Sierra Leone.
Hon. Komba Koedoyoma, Deputy Chairman of PAC, said that it was a fundamental tenet of Parliamentary Democracy that Governments may only collect revenue and make expenditure that had been authorised by Parliament. He noted that Governments were accountable to the legislature for the way in which funds raised from taxpayers and other sources were expended. He pointed out that the PAC was empowered to examine the annual accounts of Government together with the report of the Auditor-General thereon. Hon Koedoyoma highlighted that under the Government Budgeting and Accountability Act; the Auditor-General was required to submit to Parliament a report following the end of each financial year. “Under the Constitution and other legislation the Auditor General and Audit Service of Sierra Leone are responsible for scrutinising public expenditure and providing an independent opinion on how the Government has used public resources,” said Hon Koedoyoma. He also stated that ASSL provided advice to the Committee regarding the findings of the reports they submit to Parliament and that they were invited to attend the hearings of the Committee as expert witnesses and to support the Committee in its deliberations.
Mr Abdul Aziz, Deputy Auditor General, Ministries and Local Authorities, stated that the then Audit Department was established by the Audit Act of 1962 and that the Office moved from the Auditor General’s Department to ASSL due to the Audit Service Act, 1998 which was implemented in 2004. He stressed that the Auditor General’s mandate was specified in section 119(2) of the 1991 constitution of Sierra Leone, which provided for the Auditor General to audit all government ministries, departments, agencies, educational institutions and any other statutory body set up partly or wholly out of Public Funds. He noted that ASSL now had a mandate to audit 39 ministries and departments, 19 local councils, 149 chiefdom authorities, 64 statutory bodies and donor funded projects. Mr Aziz highlighted that in addition to the Deputy Auditors General, the ASSL currently had 116 audit staff and 70 support staff and that among the audit staff, 14 were qualified professionals. He reiterated that The account of the ASSL was audited and reported upon to Parliament by an independent external auditor appointed by Parliament.
Commenting on the Audit process within ASSL, Mr Tamba Momoh, Deputy Auditor General, Specialised Audits said that an audit was the examination of the financial report of an organisation by someone independent of that organisation. He stated that ASSL did Financial Audit, Performance Audit and Revenue Audit. He explained in detail about the audit processes from the Planning to the final stage. Mr Momoh also highlighted some of the issues that were repeatedly found in the Reports yearly.