The Chief Minister of Sierra Leone, Professor David Francis, has hailed the Audit Service Sierra Leone (ASSL) for its pre-eminent role in ensuring accountability in governance through the scrutiny of public institutions. Prof. Francis, while describing the role of ASSL as “invaluable”, recalled that he highlighted this in the Government Transition Team (GTT) report, which was the result of an investigation he chaired which looked into the activities of the previous government.
Mr Francis assured that the New Direction Government led by President Julius Maada Bio would support the full implementation of the recommendations of the ASSL 2019 Report. He went on to note that Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) of government are subjected to the Constitution, Acts of Parliament and Policies in the utilization of public funds. He further stated that every MDA has a Vote Controller who is principally responsible to account for public funds utilised.
The Public Financial Management Act of 2016, he went on, is very clear on the role of Vote Controllers in managing public funds. In this regard, he said, Government Ministers only provide strategic leadership to their Ministries and do not sign cheques for the operations of any Ministry.
The Chief Minister then commended ASSL for producing and disseminating the 2019 Audit Report to the public. And he called on the public to read and engage with the ASSL Report for their edification and understanding of how public funds were expended and audited.
Prof. Francis however stated that persons or institutions culpable for the alleged misappropriation of funds would be held accountable as required by law and Accountability Institutions including the ACC and House of Parliament. He reassured that the New Direction Government led by President Bio remained committed to the fight against corruption.