President Bio Spares Sierra Leone Parliament’s Blushes
In what has been described as a saving grace for the Sierra Leone House of Parliament and by extension, the Sierra Leone Peoples Party (SLPP) led Government; His Excellency Rtd. Brig. Julius Maada Bio has yesterday November 26th, 2019, according to a press release from State House, returned the 2020 Finance Act to Parliament unsigned.
The Finance Act, which was passed into law last week Tuesday by Members of Parliament, had made provisions for a non- accountable overseas travelling imprest for the President, Vice President and the Speaker of Parliament.
The enactment of the said bill by our parliamentarians however, has caused a lot of uproar among citizens over the last one week or so which also resulted to ruling party Members of Parliament throwing punches at each other as they accused each other of corruption.
Majority of citizens have also vent out their dissatisfactions over the said enactment and had called on the president not to ascent to the bill.
In what appears to be heeding to the call of the majority, President Bio in turn has returned the said bill unsigned as he reiterates his government’s commitment to transparency and accountable; a move that has been considered as a good one.
Below is the press release from State House:
GOVERNMENT OF SIERRA LEONE
OFFICE OF THE PRESS SECRETARY AND PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESMAN
Date: 26th November 2019
President Julius Maada Bio Returns the Finance Bill, 2020 Unsigned
The general public is hereby informed that His Excellency President Dr. Julius Maada Bio has returned the Finance Bill, 2020, to Parliament unsigned following a Minute Paper dated Friday 22nd November 2019 from the Clerk of Parliament requesting the President’s gracious assent for the Finance Bill, 2020, pursuant to Part V, Section 106(1) of The Constitution of Sierra Leone, 1991 (Act No. 6 of 1991).
His Excellency the President has returned the Finance Bill, 2020, through a Memorandum to the Clerk of Parliament. Pursuant to Part V, Section 106(7), in the Memorandum, the Secretary to the President stated the reason for the refusal of the signature of the President:“His Excellency the President has perused the document and has expressed grave concern over the open-endedness of the ‘non-accountable imprest’, as provided for in the said Act. He is of the view that this is prone to improper use of public funds”.
Therefore, to address the carte blanche provision of Section 42, His Excellency the President has proposed to Parliament that Section 42(6) be amended so that it makes provision for a ceiling for the non-accountable imprest.
Unlike the past, the fact that Parliament and members of the public are now discussing Presidential imprest demonstrates the President’s avowed stance on transparency. If amended by Parliament, imprest of such nature and the proposed ceiling will now be guided by law. Members of the public are reassured that His Excellency the President has an unwavering commitment to democratic accountability, transparent governance and prudent management of public funds.
State House Media and Communications Unit
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