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Sierra Leone’s President Julius Maada Bio Receives Investigation Report from Chairperson Tribunal on the Auditor-General and Deputy, Expresses Profound Respect for Judicial Objectivity

State House, Freetown, Wednesday 12 June 2024 – His Excellency President Dr Julius Maada Bio has received a booklet containing the report, which includes the facts, findings, and recommendations from the Tribunal to investigate the former Auditor-General, Mrs Lara Taylor-Pearce and Deputy Auditor-General, Tamba Momoh.

Chairperson of the Tribunal, Honourable Justice Nyawo Finda Matturi-Jones, JSC Retired, said she and members of the committee were grateful to serve, stressing that among other reasons, for the first time, they saw an executive compliance with the country’s constitutional provisions as it was in Subsection 9 of Section 119 of the Constitution of Sierra Leone Act No. 6 of 1991.

“Your Excellency, your decision was probably the most democratic of the options open to you under the Constitution regarding the disciplining of your appointees. It could not be a witch-hunt, as initially perceived and declared by some. We were guaranteed judicial independence, so we felt free to investigate the alleged conduct before us impartially and according to our assessment of the facts and understanding of the relevant laws without any restrictions.

“By this guarantee, you, Mr. President, demonstrated a profound respect for judicial objectivity and impartiality as core values of the investigations by this tribunal. My colleagues and I commend you for the demonstration of respect for the rule of law and the right to be heard. The right to be heard goes alongside the choice to exercise that right or not,” she assured.

The Honourable Matturi-Jones said the President remained in a monitoring and disciplinary role over the Auditor-General, pointing out that he could be assisted by the cabinet under Sub-Section 7 of Section 119, citing that setting up the tribunal was, in her view, the most democratic of the options available to His Excellency as far as the power to appoint, suspend, or dismiss his appointees was concerned.

President Julius Maada Bio, on behalf of the government and the people of Sierra Leone, thanked the committee for what he described as a difficult task that they had done so exceptionally well. He said that even though there was so much riding on the process, it was part of their duty as legal practitioners to make sure that citizens followed the Constitution, which was the country’s supreme document.

President Bio also expressed hope and optimism that both the spirit and intent of the law had been followed and that the committee had been at the helm of the investigation. He, therefore, reiterated that “on behalf of the state, I want to thank you immensely for doing such an exceptional job. We will take the necessary steps with this document to make sure we come to a logical conclusion on this matter”.

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