PAC Chairman Speaks Tough On Financial Accountability
The Chairman for Public Account Committee (PAC) in the Sierra Leone House of Parliament, Hon. Sengepoh S. Thomas (in photo) who is also the Deputy Speaker of Parliament has stated that “Parliamentary oversight function is critical in enforcing improved financial accountability, combating fraud, corruption and improved good governance in the public sector, thereby increasing confidence of the voters that their tax monies are being used responsibly and judiciously”.
He was speaking at a meeting held at the Brookfields Hotel in Freetown on October 10th 2018 on the theme “Improving Government Accountability through Parliamentary Scrutiny of Audited Account”.
The Chairman maintained that the objective of that process is to identify cases of inefficiencies and mismanagement, established the root causes and develop recommendations for improvement adding that the accomplishment of this objective is the acceptance and implementation of PACs and SAI’s recommendations by government.
He described Parliament, Executive, SAI and PAC as key actors in accountability and financial scrutiny cycle and mentioned that these institutions have a combined responsibility through Parliament to provide assurance to voters that their tax money is being spent in a proper way.
Hon. Thomas further entreated that the functions of the PAC in financial scrutiny of public institutions are interdependent and complementary and mentioned that the PAC relies on the findings of the SAI to hold the Executive to account. Similarly, he said the SAI depends on the PAC to promote the corrective actions recommended as a result of the audit findings and he emphasized on the importance of these institutions to maintain a good working relationship for effective oversight and accountability.
In order to retain the eminence and usefulness, Hon. Thomas said PAC’s need to find innovative responses to newer emerging challenges in the current world scenario and pointed out that over the years, operations of Government has expanded and public monies are channeled into different entities. Under these circumstances, the Chairman said committee members need to acquire new skills to deal with changing circumstances.
In his presentation, H.E Ambassador Tom Vens who is the Head of Delegation to Sierra Leone welcomed participants in the first event that their Technical Assistant on Governance holds to address the Parliament and more specifically, the work of the Committee on Public Accounts.
He said the EU is engaged in working together with Parliament of Sierra Leone through the Technical Assistance on Governance on a number of topics that go from legislative reform, committee oversight to gender equality as part of the priorities of the Parliament’s Strategic Plan.
He reiterated that this assistance to the legislative capacity of the Sierra Leone legislature in line with the established EU methodology for Parliamentary support and dilated that through this support, they also wish to complement other activities under the EU focal sectors of governance and civil society, agriculture and education as well as the opportunity for focused support to improve Gender representation and equality. He advanced that MPs actively scrutinize local government expenditure and Parliament Public Account Committee has raised its profile during recent years on Ebola response and recovery expenditure.
He concluded by calling upon the leadership of Parliament to ensure that there is more coordination among its partners operating in Parliament and within its various departments.
By Abdulai Mento Kamara
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