CSOs Demand Swift Tribunal Judgment of Auditor General’s Trial

By Amin Kef (Ranger)

Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) are urgently calling on the tribunal that was set up to investigate the Auditor-General and one of her Deputies to deliver its decision as Sierra Leoneans are anxiously awaiting the outcome of the legal proceedings.

In a joint statement issued on April 3, 2024, a consortium of Civil Society Organizations, including the Budget Advocacy Network, the 50/50 Group, the Institute for Legal Research and Advocacy for Justice (ILRAJ), and the Sierra Leone Association of Journalists (SLAJ) have voiced their concerns. They are urging the Tribunal to fulfill its duty and provide its decision as the matter was concluded since December 22nd, 2023.

The Budget Advocacy Network (BAN) as well as other organizations such as Christian Aid Sierra Leone (CASL), Campaign for Good Governance (CGG), Network Movement for Justice and Development (NMJD), Western Area Budget Education Advocacy Network (WABEAN), ActionAid Sierra Leone (AASL), Talking Drum Studio (TDS), and Transparency International Sierra Leone (TISL), have expressed support for the call for swift judgment.

Meanwhile, the 50/50 Group Sierra Leone, advocating for equal rights and political participation of women, SLAJ, committed to protecting and promoting free speech and a free press and ILRAJ, an independent think tank dedicated to human rights and the rule of law, also joined hands in demanding timely justice.

The suspension of Lara Taylor-Pearce (Auditor General) and Tamba Momoh (Deputy Auditor General) in November 2021 on allegations of ‘professional misconduct’ triggered the tribunal. Charges of ‘breach of confidentiality and professional misconduct’ were reviewed, particularly focusing on the contact of a third party without the client’s expressed permission, specifically with regards to an incident involving a hotel in Lebanon.

Despite the urgency of the matter, the delivery of judgment has been significantly delayed. Section 23(6) of the Constitution of Sierra Leone, Act No.6 of 1991, stipulates that judgment should be delivered in criminal cases within three months after trial. While this is not a criminal case, the expectation of timely justice remains paramount. The prolonged delay in delivering judgment on this matter is of grave concern to CSOs, media, and citizens alike, potentially undermining the pursuit of justice and accountability.

“Justice delayed is justice denied. In this case, the outcome holds significant implications for accountability and transparency in Sierra Leone,” emphasized Abu A. Brima, Executive Committee Chairman of the Budget Advocacy Network.

In light of these concerns, CSOs are urging the Tribunal to expedite the delivery of judgment on the concluded tribunal without further delay saying the integrity of the legal system and the principles of accountability and transparency depend on it.


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