“This unfortunate move is to silence and stop her from publishing the 2020 audit report” Dr. Yumkella.
By Alpha Kamara in New York
The well-known career auditor who has headed the institution for 10 years, confirmed to the BBC receiving a letter from the office of the president which states that the Attorney General is to set up a tribunal to look into Audit Service Sierra Leone “for professional performance lapses”.
Mrs Taylor-Pearce told the BBC she had not been told what the mandate of the tribunal is or what wrongdoing she had committed. State House has not explain in details the reason behind the action. The suspension comes as the AG is preparing to present the country’s audit report for the year 2020. It could be recalled the Africanist Press has been publishing several articles about alleged corruption in the current administration including from officials of the Office of the president, Office of the First lady and other top government officials.
Meanwhile, reaction of social media has been huge from both opposition politicians, civil society and the press.
Opposition Politicians responses
“I have leant about the unprecedented action of the government to suspend the Auditor General Lara Taylor Pearce and her deputy in charge of special audit Tamba Momoh indefinitely. The Auditor General reports to parliament and not to the presidency. This unprecedented and unfortunate decision is tantamount to an attempt to silence her and interfere with her independence a few days she publishes the 2020 audit report” Opposition MP Kandeh Yumkella tweeted.
Minority leader in parliament Hon. Chernor Jalloh of the main opposition APC also reacted on the suspension. “Suspending the Sierra Leone’s AG and her deputy few weeks before the release of the 2020 audit report? This is shocking. The people of Sierra Leone have many questions and deserve swift answers”, Hon Jalloh tweeted.
Sierra Leone Association of Journalists response
The Sierra Leone Association of Journalists (SLAJ) is concerned about the sudden indefinite suspension of the Auditor General of the Audit Service Sierra Leone Lara Taylor-Pearce, and one of her deputies Tamba Momoh. This action is particularly worrying because, in the estimation of SLAJ, the ASSL 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. Be that as it may, while we respect the authority of His Excellency the President to hire, suspend, or fire, we urge 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.
Lara Taylor Pearce has been consistent in releasing audit reports about the handling of state resources by the former and present governments. Her reports have indicted several high profile government officials in the past and many believe she is about to do same hence the swift suspension.