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Sunday, November 28, 2021

The Consortium of Progressive Political Parties – Press Release – On The Suspension Of The Auditor General

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Friday,12th November 2021

The Consortium of Progressive Political Parties in Sierra Leone has received information that Government through the Attorney General’s office has ordered the indefinite suspension of the Auditor General from office and announced that a tribunal will be set up to investigate some complaints they may have received.

Given the critical position that the office of the Auditor General occupies within the infrastructure of our democratic institutions and their role in protecting accountability, COPPP is taking this matter very seriously especially at this time when the annual Auditor General’s report is about to be published.

It is no secret anymore that most of the key State institutions that should be at the heart of our democracy including the Judiciary, the Police, the National Electoral Commission, and the Anti-Corruption Commission have been brought under the domination of the Executive and can no longer function independently in the interest of the people.

Sadly, the Auditor General’s office which has demonstrated credibility, independence and impeccable professionalism through successive regimes now seems to be under attack by the SLPP Government. This is the institution on which the entire nation relies to provide an authentic and official account of how public funds are being used or misused in this country.

The Auditor General’s office is indeed the last pillar of resistance to institutional capture and decline into authoritarian rule. Mrs. Lara Taylor Pearce has been under persistent threats for some time now because of her impartiality and consistency in serially revealing the enormous irregularities in the way Government has been handling the funds of the State. We therefore feel morally bound to ensure that she is not bullied for being upright.

As a first step, we have written to His Excellency President Julius Maada Bio requesting that his Government gives to the general public very clear explanations on the following:

  1. Whether the Judicial and Legal Service Commission instructed the setting up of the tribunal as required by the Constitution;
  2. Why it was necessary to interrupt the service of the Auditor General and her deputy even before a tribunal is set up;
  3. What are the reasons responsible for their suspension and the establishment of a tribunal; and
  4. Whether this action has anything to do with the 2020 Audit Report that is due for publication shortly.

As opposition parties, we have done our utmost best in the last three years to use democratic and peaceful means to challenge several actions by this Government that was intended to close the democratic space, intimidate and harass the opposition and bring all the key democratic institutions under the control of the central government.

Unfortunately, this seems to have emboldened the regime to the extent that they have been systematically tarnishing the image and attempting to destroy the few women in top leadership positions who will not negotiate their honesty, integrity, and adherence to mandate.

We cannot let this continue. We therefore look forward to Government’s swift response to our questions. This country will regret it if this Government is allowed to take Lara Taylor Pearce away like a lamb to be slaughtered. Enough is enough.


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