Here is a report of the commission set up by the new president of Sierra Leone Julius Maada Bio to look into the state of affairs of the outgoing APC Government led by former president Ernest Bai Koroma.
It is damning, to say the least. Here is the opening sentences of the executive secretary:
“An astonishing level of fiscal indiscipline and rampant corruption by the former APC Government of President Ernest Koroma had led to the near-collapse of Sierra Leone’s economy by the time the Government of President Julius Maada Bio was sworn into office.
The economy was left burdened with external debt amounting to US $1.6 billion, domestic debt amounting to Le 4.99 trillion or US$658 million, and an exploded payroll (salaries and other compensation for government employees) of Le.2 trillion (US $263 million) or 14.4% of the GDP. The national currency became moribund, trading at Le.7600 to a dollar. In addition, the Government owes vendors (for goods and services) an extremely large amount of US $1.4 billion.
The State’s liabilities as at 30 March 2018 amounted to US $3.7 billion. Inflation as at March 2018 was 17.2. Overall, economic growth plummeted from 6% in 2016 to 3.7% in 2017. Consequent of the APC government’s inability to close the fiscal gap and adhere to agreed actions under the Extended Credit Facility, the IMF suspended disbursement of both budgetary and balance of payment support to Sierra Leone in 2017. Other budgetary support agencies including World Bank, EU, and African Development Bank withheld their budgetary support from the second half of 2017 to date.”
Consequently the first recommendation in the report is:
“Immediately direct the Audit Service Sierra Leone to undertake special Audits of all MDAs to establish how public assets and funds have been utilised by the former APC Government, as provided for in Section 119 of the 1991 Constitution; the Audit Service Act 2014 and Section 16 of the Public Financial Management Act 2016.”
Unfortunately Pres. Adama Barrow did not do a similar but worthwhile exercise in the Gambia even though there is a Janneh Commission.
Given this report, and in relation to the Gambia one wonders how could our president therefore decide to recycle APRC Government top officials when there has not yet been an audit of that Government to determine its management of our public resources.
Barrow could as well be keeping officials who had engaged in massive corruption under Yaya Jammeh. That is a tragedy!