This according to the 2016 Auditor General’s press release, billions of Leones disbursed to theses twenty nine public institutions from the consolidated funds generated from revenues and tax payers are unaccounted and seemingly in limbo. Some of the defaulting public institutions include NaTCOM, Human Rights Commission, Independent Media Commission, Office of National Security, Statistics Sierra Leone, Petroleum Regulatory Agency, National Youth Commission, Guma Valley Water Company, Electricity Generation and Transmission Company, Njala University and the Sierra Leone Road Safety Authority amongst many others.
The Sierra Leone Health Commission, Local Government Service Commission, National Pharmaceuticals and Procurement Unit, the SL Produce Marketing Board, Produce Monitoring Board are amongst the institutions that have never submitted financial statements since their formation. Yet they have been receiving operational funds from the consolidated funds. It also followed 2015 Auditor General’s Report of which major findings stated that nine MDAs failed to submit their 2015 financial reports for auditing.
Citizen’s Budget Watch, a civil society organization which monitor public expenditures and tracks performance of public budgetary processes, calls on President Earnest Koroma to institute actions that would compel the twenty-nine defaulting public institutions to submit their 2016 financial statements to the Audit Service Sierra Leone for auditing purposes.
The Executive Director of Citizens Budget Watch, Lamin Vanna in an exclusive interview with AYV described the aforementioned act as a blatant displayed of disrespect for the Financial Appropriation Act of 2016, by these public institutions. He also referred to this as an act that sets aback the gains made in the fight against corruption in the country.
This call followed a press release issued by the Audit Service Sierra Leone stating that twenty-nine government Departments, Agencies and other Institutions have failed to submit records of their 2016 expenditures and financial statements of moneys received from the consolidated funds to the Auditor General for auditing purposes.
The Government Spokesman, Agibu Tejan Jalloh established government’s stance on the failure of these twenty-nine government institutions to submit their 2016 financial statements to the Auditor General for auditing purposes. He said it’s a shame on the part of all the institutions that have not been able to own up to a statutory responsibility. He assured that Government will ensure that the due procedures will be followed to ensure that MDAs comply to with the auditing process.
But what does the main government opposition, the Sierra Leone Peoples Party deduce from such an alarming rate of defaulting public institutions to submit their 2016 financial statements? In his response to this question, the National Publicity Secretary of the SLPP, Lahai Lawrence Leema ascertained to AYV that the release is indicative of the fact that the government has not engaged in prudent spending and that MDAs have been engaged in corrupt practices that continue to cripple the economy of this country. ‘’For which instead of the country moving towards prosperity, we are now experiencing austerity which the APC refers to as expenditure rationalization, but in actual fact it’s a mere failure to be accountable to the people and to govern us well as a country’’ added Leema.
This trend of huge unaccountability and lack of transparency followed the 2015 Auditor General’s Report of which major findings stated that nine MDAs failed to submit their 2015 financial reports for auditing whiles many others had discrepancies.