One of Sierra Leone’s most senior female lawyers – Basita Michael, who is also a former President of the country’s Bar Association, has tendered her resignation from the government’s Judicial and Legal Service Commission (JLSC), in response to what she refers to as the unacceptable manner in which President Julius Maada Bio appointed a Judicial Tribunal to investigate alleged wrongdoing by Auditor General Lara Taylor-Pearce.
In a letter addressed to the Secretary to President Bio, Ms Michael said that in the absence of any evidence of wrongdoing by the Auditor General presented to the JLSC of which she is a member, it was wrong of President Bio to have established a judicial tribunal to carry out investigations without first allowing the JLSC to determine whether there is a valid prima facie case for the Auditor General to answer.
The President on Wednesday, November 17, 2021, appointted a three man tribunal to investigate Lara Taylor- Pearce, the Auditor General and Tamba Momoh the Deputy Auditor General.
The tribunal is set up to investigate the two for alleged misconduct and lack of professional performance.
This comes after the Auditor General and her deputy were suspended indefinitely on November 11, 2021.
Below are the names of the people in the tribunal accordingly:
– Honorable Justice Nyawo Finda Matturi-Jones – Chairman
– Mr. Lahai M. Farma – Member
– Mr. Abu Bakarr King – Member
Many in Sierra Leone are describing the Judicial Tribunal set up by president Bio as a kangaroo court ready to dance to the tune of the president.
Lara Taylor-Pearce has over three decades of experience in the public and private financial sector, administrative management and oversight management. She was the country’s chief external auditor since 2011 and has received praise for helping change Sierra Leone’s public sector accountability landscape.
Madam Taylor-Pearce played an active role in the development of the 2016 Public Financial Management Act, 2015 she received the National Integrity Award from the Sierra Leone Anti Corruption Commission.