By: Christian Conteh
The Sierra Leone Association of Journalists (SLAJ) has raised concern over what it describes as the sudden indefinite suspension of the Auditor General of the Audit Service Sierra Leone (ASSL), Mrs. Lara Taylor-Pearce, and one of her deputies Mr. Tamba Momoh.
The association says this action is particularly worrying because, in the estimation of SLAJ, Audit Service Sierra Leone under the leadership of Lara Taylor Pearce has a hitherto unblemished track record of professionalism and integrity in the discharge of its duties spanning over ten years and two political administrations.
A statement from the association says while it (SLAJ) respects the authority of His Excellency the President to hire, suspend, or fire, it urges that in line with constitutional provisions, in Sections 119, sub-section 9 and Section 137 respectively, the Attorney General immediately makes public the composition of the Tribunal along with clearly stated Terms of Reference, and a short timeframe as would be most appropriate for the Tribunal to function.
“Already the action has created a level of uncertainty within the local governance circles which we understand is being closely monitored by not only our international friends but also the donor community whose contribution to our fledgling economy cannot be underestimated,” The SLAJ statement reads.
It further noted that while the association waits for the outcome of the tribunal, which is expected in the shortest possible time it regrets that considering the recent impressive statistics on control of corruption in the just-released MCC Scorecard, government can by this action seek to overturn all those gains in less than 24 hours.
“SLAJ is concerned that given the severe economic constraints facing most citizens, decisions are being taken that are creating undue disaffection, confusion, and distrust. We urge the government to maintain the independence and integrity of our institutions and continue to give hope to the people of Sierra Leone,” The statement signed by the Acting Secretary General, Alhaji Manika Kamara maintains.