Chief Minister has presented the Governance Transition Team Report to President Bio at State House this morning. The report strongly recommends a “judge-led commission of inquiry to investigate, prosecute and punish those found guilty of corruption”.
Sierra Leone’s Chief Minister Prof David Francis is seen here handing over to President Maada Bio a damning report on the previous administration. *The Chairman of The Transition Report recommended any individual’s name on this Report should not travel out of the country without permission from the Attorney General*
HOWEVER, supporters of the All People’s Congress ( APC ) have described the Report as a witch hunt against former President Ernest Koroma and officials of the party. They complained that the SLPP Government delayed the release of the Report so they will doctor it and insert facts to contradict the handing over notes of President Koroma.
Excerpts from the Sierra Leone Governance Transition Report 2018 on Sierra Rutile Ltd.
“… the GTT found that an astonishing level of rampant corrupt, politically-organised racketeering, mismanagement, graft and lack of fiscal discipline by the APC Government must be blamed for the economic mess and near bankruptcy of Sierra Leone. Reckless spending, facilitated by the unrestrained use of the Government’s overdraft privileges at the Bank of Sierra Leone, was the norm, leaving the economy substantially burdened by debt.”
“It was an organized, criminal and racketeering enterprise run by the APC” David Francis chief minister.
#SierraLeone: A transitional report on the wasteful spending and alleged corruption of the past Government has been presented to President JM Bio. Chief Minister David Francis said “It was an organized, criminal and racketeering enterprise run by the APC”. The opposition APC party is yet to respond to the report. Others say it’s a political witch hunt.
Recommendations of the Transition Report:
1. Immediately direct the Audit Service Sierra Leone to undertake special Audits of all MDAs to establish how public assets and funds have been utilised by the former APC Government, as provided for in Section 119 of the 1991 Constitution; the Audit Service Act 2014 and Section 16 of the Public Financial Management Act 2016.
2. Immediately institute a Judge-led Special Commission of Inquiry with a limited timeframe and mandate to recover all stolen or inappropriately converted state funds and other assets, including buildings, quarters, land and the hundreds of vehicles still unaccounted for (presumably stolen by officials of the APC Government). The Commission should recommend for prosecution former APC officials whose corrupt conduct is found to be particularly egregious. The Commission should also seek an explanation from former officials, under Section 26 of the Anti-Corruption act dealing with “unexplained wealth”, if it determines them to have accumulated such wealth during their time in public office.
3. Audit Service Sierra Leone to carry out technical audits of the agencies relating to telecommunications, energy, and revenue (NRA) as well as NASSIT, the Bank of Sierra Leone and the two state-owned Commercial Banks, which have been embroiled in loan scandals over the past years.
4. Review all middle-level and senior appointments made by the former APC Government in key agencies and departments to determine whether those appointments were merited and followed proper procedure, or were determined by ‘tribalism’ and patronage.
5. Review all contracts and financial transactions entered into by the former APC Government in the six months before elections were held in March 2018. This should include the contract for Mamamah Airport, several defence contracts, the sale of Government quarters and other properties, and the purchase of vehicles for Paramount Chiefs.
6. Freeze all payments to all local vendors above Le.400 million until special forensic audits of all the related contracts entered into by the former Government, and of money-generating and related agencies and commissions, including of their financial statements and technical capacity.
7. Set up an Ethics Office at State House that would serve as the internal control mechanism dealing with the Code of Conduct for Ministers, Deputy Ministers, heads of Agencies, Commissioners, Heads of State Parastatals and Board of Directors; ethical improprieties; public service discrimination based on ethnicity and gender; complaints of sexual and other forms of harassments, and, particularly, conflicts of interests involving senior level officials.
8. Authorise the Law Reform Commission to review the mandate of the 28 national Commissions with a view to reducing the number of Commissions and consolidating their mandates. The Commission should also draft a transition law that would help facilitate a smooth and orderly transfer of power from one elected Government to another by specifying the date of general and presidential elections and inauguration of President elect.
9. Review both the recommendations of the Justice Cowan’s Constitutional Review Committee and the APC Government’s White Paper, which rejected almost all the key recommendations of the CRC. The review should include those sections of the constitution that address citizenship, with a view to granting full rights of citizenship to Sierra Leoneans who hold dual nationality.
10. Pursue an active policy to recruit more women in government agencies and ministries. Women currently represent less than 10 percent of the workforce, in all Government ministries, agencies and commissions.