The Committee on Public Accounts and Expenditure (PAC) has expressed disappointment over the action of the Special Presidential Task Force for “clearing people” who were found liable to restitute amounts as indicated in their recommendations, without their knowledge or approval.
The House’s Committee on PAC in a letter to Speaker J. Emmanuel Nuquay said the Task Force released a list of people it had cleared from the audit report without any reference to the Legislature and the General Auditing Commission (GAC).
The long serving member of the House PAC Committee, Rep. Clarence Massaquoi, told his colleagues that the Special Task Force should appear before the plenary to answer questions regarding their of action, and that the progress report on the implementation of the audit report should be communicated by the Chief Executive (President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf), and not the Special Presidential Task Force Committee.
“What is even more troubling is the clearing of people from audit reports and not acted upon by the Public Accounts Committee. Reports in this category include the Community Infrastructure Development (CIAD) under the Ministry of Public Works and the Micro Small Medium Enterprise (MSME) of the Minister of Commerce,” Rep. Massaquoi said.
“I see this as a gross affront to the Legislature, and an act to undermine the fight against corruption.”
The letter added:
“The Task Force in its initial publication, released a list of people and firms and asked those concerned to restitute amounts as indicated by the PAC recommendation within 30 days (October 17 – November 16, 2016).”
According to the debates among the Lawmakers on Thursday, July 13, the PAC conducted public hearings and submitted two reports (2014 and 2015) to the Chief Executive for implementation, but the President forwarded the reports to the Task Force to advise her.
The House Committee believes that plenary’s recommendations to the President for implementation should not be subjected to a mere Task Force’s advise.
The House’s Committee further argued that the President’s action is not in support of the fight against corruption.
However, the House plenary has mandated the chief clerk to write President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf about their dissatisfaction with her forwarding their implementation to the Special Presidential Task Force and want the Task Force to appear. They asked that the President should submit a progress report on the implementation of the audit report, although the time frame has not been discussed.