The Deputy Chairman
Public Accounts Committee
House of Parliament
3rd May 2019
The Hon. Speaker of Parliament
House of Parliament
REQUEST FOR FURTHER INVESTIGATION AND, IF NEED BE, PROSECUTION OF RELEVANT OFFICIALS IN CONNECTION WITH THE AUDITOR GENERAL’S REPORT ON THE TECHNICAL AUDIT OF SOCIAL SECURITY, TELECOMMUNICATION, CIVIL WORKS AND ENERGY SECTORS
I write with reference to a letter dated the 29th of April 2019 and captioned as above, written by the Deputy Speaker of Parliament; acting in his capacity as Chairman of the Public Accounts Committee, addressed to the Commissioner of the Anti – Corruption; upon which the Commissioner has already issued a press statement.
Mr. Speaker, by this letter, the Chairman has requested the Commission to conduct further investigations on the Technical Audit Report recently tabled before this Parliament purporting that the Committee “after considerable deliberations…..has resolved to forward all the issues in the Report for further investigation, and if needs be, prosecution of relevant officials and a report of findings submitted to the Committee for final recommendations that may form part of the Committee’s report”. He also stated that the authority to do such is founded in Section 93 (3) of the Constitution of Sierra Leone 1991.
Mr. Speaker, Section 119 (5) of the Constitution provides that Parliament should debate the Report and where necessary appoint a Committee to deal with the matters arising therefrom. Our understanding of this provision is that the Audit Report is a report for Parliament and that until it is debated by the Plenary of the House, no other body can act on nor take ownership of it. The powers of the Public Accounts Committee are limited to dealing with the matters arising therefrom and preparation of a report (including recommendations) to be tabled and debated by the full complement of House.
Mr. Speaker, I bring to your attention that the Public Accounts Committee had commenced public hearings on the Report and tremendous progress is being made but that at no time was there considerable deliberations and resolution of the members of the Committee to request assistance from the Anti – Corruption Commission, as claimed by the Chairman. We are well aware that if even we so desire, we can only do so through you and the Plenary of the House. Section 93 (3) of the Constitution upon which the Chairman relied gave him no such power to refer a parliamentary document, which we are still working on, to a third party.
Section 93 (3) gives the Committee power to investigate or inquire into activities or administration of ministries or departments assigned to it, and such investigation or inquiry may extend to proposals for legislation. Inviting the Commission to inquire into the document is in no way synonymous to making a proposal for legislation.
Mr. Speaker, the Chairman by acting as he has done, has acted outside his powers and I humbly call on you to reverse this unilateral decision as allowing it to stand will amount to the usurpation of the powers of Parliament, more so, when the hearings have revealed several anomalies in the Report. As a Committee, we will appreciate if we are allowed to complete our work and submit our report to the Plenary for debate and necessary action thereafter.
Hon. Lahai Marah
Dpt. Chairman, Public Accounts Committee
The Hon. Deputy Speaker
Hon. Leader of Government Business
Hon. Leader of the Opposition
Hon. Leader – NGC
Hon. Leader – C4C
Hon. Clerk of Parliament
The Chief Minister
The Secretary to the President
The Auditor General
The Commissioner – ACC
The Country Manager, World Bank
The Head of Office, DfID
The Head, EU Delegation