The Parliamentary Accounts Committee Commences First Hearing on Auditor General’s Report on Ebola Funds

Freetown, Feb. 25, 2015 (MOHS) – The Auditor General, Lara Taylor-Pearce has told Members of Parliament, Senior and Junior Public Officers and a cross section of the public that the burden of truth in the Ebola Funds Audit Report is vested on the officers carrying out the Auditing exercise.

agAuditor General, Madam Lara Taylor-Pearce

Madam Lara Taylor-Pearce was speaking at the first hearing of the May 2014 -October 2014 Ebola Funds Audit Report on Wednesday February 25, 2015 in a jam-packed Parliamentary Committee Room Number 1 (one).

ag1Oath taking photo

She described the Audit Service Act of 2014 as that which seeks to ensure efficient services carried towards an improved financial system, and noted the level of interest of all concerns including the public on the Report.

ag2Cross section of the audience

Making his remarks the Deputy Speaker and Chairman, Public Accounts Committee, Hon. Chernor Bah described the venue for the hearing as the “Sacred Room” of Parliament, expressing his appreciation over the presence and interest demonstrated on the Report.

ag3Deputy Speaker and Chairman, Public Accounts Committee, Hon. Chernor Bah

He told his audience that the Public Accounts Committee is bound by international best practice and would exhibit justification of the burden of proof by both sides as they look at the performance and professionalism of the Health Ministry Directorate of Financial Resources, the Office of the Permanent Secretary and the Emergency Response Centre (EOC).

Commenting on the powers vested on them, the Hon. Deputy Speaker and Chairman of the Public Account Committee said the only instrument that is above Parliament is the Constitution, adding that their freedom as Parliamentarians is not absolute, and values the freedom of expression, with only His Excellency the President that enjoys immunity as an individual.

He called on the international community to make available all documents on the Ebola funds for auditing purpose, and thanked them for the continued support.

Hon. Bah commended the Audit Service for a work well done, noting neutrality, accountability and probity in executing the relevance of auditing.

The Deputy Auditor General, Tamba Momoh while commenting on the hearing procedures dilated on issues dealing with donations in respect of the Health Ministry and the Emergency Operations Centre (EOC) with regards institutions and individuals.

ag4Deputy Auditor General, Tamba Momoh

Former Permanent Secretary Ministry of Health and Sanitation, Mr. Sidique Kapuwa, Director of Financial Resources, Ministry of Health and Sanitation, Mr. Festus Kuyembeh and the Managing Director, Mr. Idrissa Amadu Kamara responded to several queries raised bordering on dishonored and returned cheques among other key concerns highlighted in the Auditor General’s Report.

Hearing continues on Monday March 3, 2015

JAK/KK/MOHS