Auditor General Threatens to Fire Back!

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Mrs. Lara Taylor-Pearce, Sierra Leone's Foremost Auditor General

By Lawrence Williams

This press has been hinted about plans by the suspended Auditor General to fire back at the system after all efforts to get the judiciary to assign her petition filed to the Supreme Court last December have so far proved futile.

We were informed that Mrs. Lara Taylor-Pearce (photo) will stop at nothing in pursuing all available means to seek justice over what can best be described as an ‘illegal and unconstitutional’ suspension slammed on her by the president, including filing a petition to the court as the final arbiter of justice.

Since her lawyers filed papers to the Supreme Court on 21st December 2021, the case has not been listed for hearing, prompting questions as to whether the wheels of justice turns and grinds only in favour of those in power and their associates.

Madam Pearce is quoted to have said that she reserves the right to protect her reputation from being sullied especially by people who do not have the substance to adjudge her professional competence.

She stated thus: “In view of the serious, broad, unspecified, and yet unknown allegations which have culminated in the president suspending me from my office, if necessary, I might invoke my rights under section 25 of the Constitution of Sierra Leone for the special circumstances which are for the protection of my reputation and that of the Audit Service Sierra Leone.”

It is no secret that Madam Pearce and the team at the Audit Service Sierra Leone were on the verge of compiling the 2020 Audit Report when the president dismissed her albeit unceremoniously. The said report was however published by Abdul Aziz, Bio’s handpicked acting auditor general.

In an affidavit filed to the Supreme Court, the Auditor General indicated that her suspension came about while requesting authentic supporting documents from State House. She stated that this request culminated in a chain of correspondences between State House and the Audit Service Sierra Leone, and she was later summoned to several meetings with the Speaker of Parliament, the Inspector General of Police and the Minister of Finance. She has however maintained sealed lips about the details of these conversations but could make a full disclosure if given the opportunity to be heard in court.

She said: “I shall not disclose at this time, for the sake of confidentiality, either the contents of the correspondences and/or the subject matter of the discussions held between myself and the Speaker of Parliament and/or the Inspector General of Police.”

A tax consultant commented: “I don’t think she would remain reticent whilst her professional career is being ruined for selfish reasons.”

According to Supreme Court documents seen by this press, Abdul Aziz is neither a chartered account nor a member of the professional body that regulates the accountancy profession in Sierra Leone; therefore, he is said not to be professionally and legally competent to even sign a set of audited financial statements talk less of presiding over the publication of the country’s annual audit reports.

Even though the report so published by Aziz indicted the Office of the President and other State House officials for forgery, deceit and double-dipping, the Africanist Press, one of Bio’s fiercest critiques on corruption-related issues, says significant details of corruption were missing in the final report, casting doubts on the overall credibility of the Abdul Aziz’s report.

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