ASSL Engages Stakeholders on Regulations Formulation

Published by auditsl on

The Audit Service Sierra Leone (ASSL) engaged stakeholders in an initial meeting on the ASSL Regulations formulation process that will address the implementation of Disallowance and Surcharge as embedded in the Audit Service Act.

The meeting took place on the 3rd floor of the Freetown City Council Building on Thursday 29th February, 2024 with various representatives from key MDAs and Civil Society Organisations.

The Acting Auditor General, Mr Abdul Aziz stated that in fulfilling the mandate of the Auditor-General, the Audit Service Act of 2014 and the amended Act of 2023 are the governing legislations guiding the operations of the ASSL. “Over the years, the ASSL realised that there are several procedural and technical issues relevant to its mandate that are silent in its legislation, citing the application process of Disallowance and Surcharge powers to address financial mismanagement of public funds; the relation of outsourced audits; collaboration with law enforcement agencies and so on.

 “Even though the ASSL enjoys operational and now recently budgetary autonomy; yet we cannot walk alone, as we consider Ministries, Department and Agencies in the public service as partners in development. In that vein, the Regulations Formulation Committee had embarked on extensive stakeholder consultation during the planning phase of this process”, said Mr Aziz.

He reiterated that upon receiving support from the Government of Sierra Leone, the ASSL decided to kick start the Audit Service Regulations Formulation process with an initial meeting of stakeholders relevant to the process.

Giving an overview of the Regulations Formulation process, the Deputy Auditor General, Mr Selvin Bell stated that the ASSL has established a Legal Affairs division and recruited a Legal Affairs Manager responsible for managing the facilitation process of developing a regulation that will address the application of Disallowance and Surcharge and ancillary matters. He stated that the enacted Audit Service Regulations and the Audit Service Act of 2014 would guide the operations of the ASSL as it executes its constitutional and legislative mandate. Mr Bell pointed out that the ASSL shall capacitate practitioners on the practicalities of Disallowance and Surcharge application in law and practice for auditors, Judicial officials and state counsels.

Mr Juldeh Barrie, Acting Deputy Auditor-General stated that in accordance with Principle 12 of the International Standard for Supreme Audit Institutions, auditors should undertake their work to make a difference in the lives of citizens. He stressed that the ASSL has identified stakeholders pertinent to the Audit Service Regulations Formulation process and the Disallowance and Surcharge implementation as provided by law.

Giving an application of Disallowance and Surcharge powers as a follow-up mechanism to the Auditor-General’s Recommendations, Madam Kadijatu Bangura, Legal Affairs Manager of the ASSL stated that during an audit exercise, the Auditor-General is empowered to impose Disallowance and Surcharge any person who incurs or authorises irregular expenditure of public funds or any person whose negligence or misconduct causes loss of public funds. She pointed out that a Surcharge is an order levied by an Auditor-General against an authorised official to repay or refund a disallowed transaction for either illegal expenditure or mismanagement of public funds.

The stakeholders expressed satisfaction with the steps taken by the ASSL in the regulations formulation process. They pledged their support in ensuring that the ASSL succeed in implementing the Disallowances and Surcharge powers of the Auditor-General.

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