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Sierra Leone News: State audits for civil society groups

The Audit Service Sierra Leone (ASSL) has embarked on an audit of Civil Society Organisations (CSOs), in a move meant to ensure the organisations operate within the law and adhere to the purpose for which they were registered.
According to the Auditor General, Lara Taylor-Pearce, the audit is an activity in line with the President’s speech at the State Opening of Parliament in 2016.
In his speech, President Koroma, said to expand the breadth of accountability and transparency. “Ensuring that our Audit Services cover local and international Non-Governmental Organisations, Civil Society Organizations that receive monies and are implementing projects and programmes on behalf of the people of Sierra Leone.”
“It is now in our work plan to audit CSOs, as at the time the call was made by the President, it was a challenge for us, because of staffing issues, we have however taken up the challenge. We are starting with a small number of them and we will continue to increase as we go along. We are engaging the CSOs we have selected.”
She went on to say that it will not be part of the audit report that will come out this year but will be in a special report.
The audit of donor funded projects, including World Bank and the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) projects is on-going. The Audit Service Sierra Leone has been given the approval to audit all projects with the African Development Bank (AfDB).
During their budget presentation at the 2018 budget hearing, a call was made for the ASSL to audit the Granting Aid Scheme currently implemented by the Ministry of Education.
The Auditor said they carry out audits for the Ministry every year. “When we are working on our audit plan some of the things that we consider is the area of citizens interest.”
With regards the National Public Procurement Authority (NPPA) norms, she said that Sierra Leone is a country that deals with rules, regulations and laws. She believes that we should be interested in fairness.
“It is clear that based on a cost of a particular item, we compare the cost both locally and internationally. We do our research to be fair and correct.
The NPPA have their rules and as auditors we go in to make sure that those rules are followed. “Everywhere you go there is the absolute need for an independent and external auditor to check whether everything is operating as it should and where there is deviation, the auditors role is to bring out those deviations to make that institution work better, it is a matter of making sure the systems operates well in the public sector,” she noted.
The ASSL, as at the end of June, have completed 124 audits for which draft reports have been issued. Seventy-three of them have been finalized and approximately 50 audits will be completed by the end of August.
By Zainab Joaque
Thursday August 24, 2017.

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