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“OUR DEMOCRACY IS UNDER ATTACK”

– NSG Affirms!!! By Pa-Dikali

All Peoples Congress, in a release signed by its National Secretary General, Ambassador Dr. Alhaji Osman Foday Yansaneh, has joined other well-meaning Sierra Leoneans at both home and abroad, local and international organisations, to condemn what the party described as “unconstitutional suspension of the country’s Auditor General and her deputy.

The release states, in the affirmation, that the country’s hard-won democracy, is under attack.

The release notes that, the APC is baffled by the insistence of the government to go ahead with the flawed procedure by which His Excellency, the President, had suspended Mrs. Lara Taylor- Pearce, the Auditor General and Mr. Tamba Momoh, the Deputy Auditor General.

The APC, according to the release, is baffled “this suspension conveniently comes two weeks before the Audit Report is to be laid in Parliament”.

The Party is wary about the setting up of a Tribunal by the Attorney General to investigate them for alleged ‘‘professional misconduct’’.

“The APC brings to the attention of all Sierra Leoneans and the International Community that this unprecedented action to suspend the Auditor General and one of her deputies and then establish a Tribunal, after the fact, to find reasons to justify the action of our Executive is unconstitutional and undermines our nascent democracy that our people so zealously guard and nurture,’’ the release states, adding “as a Party representing the interest of the people, ‘‘we condemn and challenge this action with a view to safeguarding our Constitution and the Independence of State Institutions.’’

The APC cited portions of  the Constitution and take note of the various safeguards placed on the Office of the Auditor General, with a view to protecting its independence and mandate so as to ensure accountability in the financial management of the country’s resources, as encapsulated in Section 119(6) of the Constitution, which  states in relevant part that “in the exercise of his function under this Constitution or any other law, the Auditor General shall not be subject to the direction or control of any person or authority.”

Additionally, pursuant to section 119(9) the Auditor General’s tenure in office has the same protection as that of a High Court Judge, the release further notes.

The release adds: “Section 137 (4) of the same Constitution sets forth in detail the process to suspend or remove a judge which is applicable to the Auditor General and states in relevant part that ” subject to the provisions of this section, a judge of the Superior Court of Judicature may be removed from office only for inability to perform the functions of his office, whether arising from infirmity of body or mind or for statement misconduct and shall not be so removed save in accordance with the provisions of this section. “

The APC believes, since the due process was not followed, the suspension or removal of the Auditor General should be rescinded.

The APC has also notes the attempt by the Attorney General of Sierra Leone with his November 8th 2021 letter, to legitimize a flawed and unconstitutional process.

The APC respectfully maintained, the Attorney General is a mere busybody in this process since the Constitution does not give him any role to play in the suspension or removal of the Auditor General.

“We urge the Attorney General to stay out of the process and urge the Judicial and Legal Service Commission to strictly abide by the mandates of the Sierra Leone Constitution,’’ the release urges, noting “We also urge the Judiciary to act as one of the arms of government as the Constitution anticipates and rejects efforts of the government to bypass the mandates set forth in our laws.’’

The APC also believes the Government is testing the waters to see just how much more illegalities they can inflict and get away with.

“Our governance structures are being eroded, our rights are being chipped away and our electoral integrity is on the line as is evident from the EU Reports a fortnight ago; this blatant unconstitutional action further illustrates and compounds the problems we face and points to a crisis that is at the heart of our survival as a country and as a people.

The APC also suggested the blatant unconstitutional action affects the economic stability of the country and that, it further erodes investor confidence, which in turn impacts our economic activities and ability to create jobs – the real Bread and Butter issues facing the people at the moment.

“This line of action has no place in our modern democracy, and we therefore call on the President and on Parliament to whom the Auditor General is to present the 2020 Audit Report to ensure that due process, as laid down in the Constitution is adhered to and that our Auditor General and her Deputy are reinstated,’’ the release calls.

“We urge Parliament to insist that the Audit Report 2020 prepared by our respected Auditor General and her team be released forthwith and without being tampered with,’’ the release concludes.

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Financial Act 2021….APC MPs Pick Holes

By Sulaiman Alim Bangura

As the amendment of the Finance Act of 2021 goes before parliament, members of parliament of the All Peoples Congress stood tall in bringing forward issues that can benefit the citizens of Sierra Leone.

The Finance Act of Sierra Leone has been an act created to provide for the imposition and alterations of taxes.

It also gives effect to the financial proposal of Government and to provide for other related matter that deals with finance for every year.

On Monday 16th November, 2021, the Finance Act of 2021 was brought in front of parliament in order to make necessary amendment by parliamentarians for the year 2022 for the betterment of its citizenry.

The APC MPs were in full gears as always in order to ensure that necessary things are effected in the amendment of the Act, in the interest of the welfare of every Sierra Leonean.

Leader of the main opposition party – Honorable Chernor Ramadan Maju Bah pinpointed that, since 2006, the Finance Bill has been the most important bills brought to parliament year in – year out.

In his contribution towards the debate of the amendment on the finance Act of 2022, as highlighted, he stated that the creation of a special account or fund outside of the National Disaster Agency is questionable, saying the agency cannot have any control over itself.

He highlighted that, the Wellington fire disaster caught ‘‘us all pant down’’.

Hon. Bah noted the disaster is a lesson learnt for the House of Parliament to press for more funding for the National Disaster Management Authority as the Finance Bill is being put forward once again for amendment.

He added that, the Finance Bill is in front of parliament and that members of parliament should more focus on the area of revenue generation.

 He states that, as a representative of the people, he called on the minister, through his office, to cut down the taxes of housing commodities, like cement, as it has been greatly affecting the poor people.

“The fact that the Finance Bill is a special Bill that covers the livelihood of all and sundry, members of parliament should not look into it abruptly. I do not want to part of the creation of any laws that tend to have a side effect on the people,’’ the seasoned MP added.

Honourable Abdul Karbgo of Constituency 079 is known for his dedication   to speak out on burning issues that is of public centric.

He reiterated on the reduction of customs and taxes on imported commodities, as it has been one of the key factors for the uncontrollable increment of prices in the market.

He pinpointed that, another opportunity has been given once again to members of the House to set the record straight, as the Finance Bill is in front of them. 

Honorable Abdul Karim Kamara (AKK) of 059 stated that, the laws passed by parliament sometimes is among the many reasons the judiciary system of late has nothing good to write home about.

He advised members of parliament to be mindful in dealing with certain bills, saying whenever a drafted bill is presented to the house, members should ensure that they looked at it well and debated it, in tandem with other laid down laws or acts, in order to prevent any conflict of laws.

As he puts it in his words that ” The integrity of the house of parliament, wholeheartedly depends on what Parliamentarians do and say “

Summarizing, Leader of the Opposition in the House of Parliament, Hon. Chernor Maju Bah craved on the indulgence of the minister and the House of Parliament, in its entirety, to look into all the issues pointed out by members in House in a bid to ensure the furtherance of all Sierra Leoneans.