Governance Transition Team Report out

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Executive Summary
This is the Report of the Governance Transition Team (GTT) as mandated by His Excellency President Julius Maada Bio when he announced its setting up in a State House Press Release on 6 April 2018, two days after being sworn into office.

An astonishing level of fiscal indiscipline and rampant corruption by the former APC Government of President Ernest Koroma had led to the near-collapse of Sierra Leone’s economy by the time the Government of President Julius Maada Bio was sworn into office.

The economy was left burdened with external debt amounting to US $1.6 billion, domestic debt amounting to Le 4.99 trillion or US$658 million, and an exploded payroll (salaries and other compensation for government employees) of Le.2 trillion (US $263 million) or 14.4% of the GDP. The national currency became moribund, trading at Le.7600 to a dollar. In addition, the Government owes vendors (for goods and services) an extremely large amount of US $1.4 billion.

The State’s liabilities as at 30 March 2018 amounted to US $3.7 billion. Inflation as at March 2018 was 17.2. Overall, economic growth plummeted from 6% in 2016 to 3.7% in 2017. Consequent of the APC government’s inability to close the fiscal gap and adhere to agreed actions under the Extended Credit Facility, the IMF suspended disbursement of both budgetary and balance of payment support to Sierra Leone in 2017. Other budgetary support agencies including World Bank, EU, and African Development Bank withheld their budgetary support from the second half of 2017 to date.

Servicing these debts alone amounts to US $262 million per year. Against this huge financial burden, the domestic revenue for 2018 was projected to be a paltry US $539 million. This is barely adequate to cover the Government’s recurrent expenditure, not to mention its commitment to poverty reduction programmes and investing in social services.

Despite its rhetoric about ‘inclusive governance’, the former Government of President Koroma pursued a policy of ‘tribalism’ and regionalism in its recruitment and promotion of personnel at State House, in Government agencies and commissions, and in diplomatic postings.

Ethnically favoured appointments constituted roughly 71 percent of all senior and middle-level appointments and postings to the country’s foreign missions made by 2

former President Koroma’s Government. Ethnic favouritism was also reflected in the APC Government’s award of GoSL contracts, scholarships, commercial bank loans and regional distribution of development projects, with the neglect of Kenema and Kono in terms of roads infrastructure being most glaring.

The Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) was politicised and made ineffective, and the Government routinely ignored the reports and recommendations of the Audit Service Sierra Leone.

The Governance Transition Team has uncovered evidence of the former APC Government facilitating the inappropriate acquisition of state’s assets and properties by relatives and close friends of former President Koroma. There is also evidence of inflated Government contracts being inappropriately awarded to such relatives and friends. This unacceptable practice exacerbated poverty and illiteracy and helped erode confidence in the integrity of Government.

Recommendations
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).

Attached the report:

GTT report final copy 25June2018 FINALx (1)

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Abu Bakarr Tarawally is a Journalist based in Freetown. He works for the Sierra Leone Broadcasting Corporation as a radio producer. He has once served as Editor for a few newspapers in Freetown, including Sierra Express Media, The Exclusive Newspaper and his own newspaper, the Daily Express Publications. He is a teacher trainer, and loves writing and reading a lot. Email: abstarawally@gmail.com. Call +232 88601277 or +2327661303.

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