The tribunal inquiry set up by President Bio to investigate the country’s Auditor-General and her deputy, Lara Taylor-Pearce and Tamba Momoh respectively, came up again yesterday before the three man- panel at the NASSIT Court premises in Freetown, where the defence witness on behalf of Lara, continued his testimony.
In continuation of his testimony, in front of Justice Lahai Farma and Justice Ivan Ansumana Sesay, Mr. Aina Vivian Solomon Bell, a Chartered Accountant and practicing Auditor said as an audit expert he only knew about three auditing systems and these systems include the financial audit, performance audit and compliance audit.
He went ahead to describe the financial auditing, which he said involved the auditing of financial statement for an organization and has a stipulated time of twelve months.
The performance audit on the other hand involved the checking of balance sheet and compliance audit which is more focusing on the law, on regulatory and policies of an institution to make sure that funds are been disbursed in line with what is recorded.
The witness also said that during all his experience as an Auditor, he is familiar with the international rules used to comply with the standard of auditing.
Mr. Bell furthered that in all his years as an Auditor, there is a provision indicating that an Auditor must first seek the consent of the auditee before auditing.
In financial audit, he said it has been the practice over the years for the Auditor to encourage clients especially banking institutions because of confidentiality.
To authorize the disclosure of information the Auditor must be independent and should know that no rules were made to compromise the laws.
The witness was shown two documents which he identified as “Expert Witness Opinion dated 7th December” and identified the other document as “An addendum and also having the same date”.
Both documents were tendered in court to form part of the defense case.
During cross examination by the State Counsel, Joseph A. K Sesay, witness Bell underscored that he relied on what he has testified before the court.
He added that the Institute of Chartered Accountants in Sierra Leone is the regulatory body for audit in Sierra Leone, that can issue standards on the code of ethics as there is a law granting that authority.
Answering further to questions posed to him, the witness said he had worked for the Audit Service Sierra Leone as an independent contractor.
He said Audit Service Sierra Leone cannot make standards, but they implement standards.
He confirmed before the court that he was an independent contractor and not an employee of the Audit Service Sierra Leone adding that he has been engaged in all the three types of auditing.
The Lead Defense Counsel, Roland Wright sought for a date and the matter was adjourned. MJB/13/12/2023