The Audit Service Sierra Leone (ASSL) became an operational independent organization in 2004. In a country context marked by a post-conflict legacy, high youth unemployment, poverty, corruption, weak governance structures and fragile legal environment following the end of the civil war in 2002, Sierra Leone is considered to be among the 10 poorest countries in the world according to the 2015 United Nations Human Development Index.
ASSL faced internal challenges early on. The lack of a strategic plan and audit manuals; low audit coverage; limited human and financial resources, as well as little to no information technology facilities and infrastructure were just some of the obstacles they encountered.
Externally, audited public institutions were without basic systems and documentation, which hampered ASSL´s ability to perform audits.
Parliament was not reviewing audit reports. In fact, audit reports were not published nor were audit recommendations considered. The SAI’s role within the Public Financial Management (PFM) system was weak, particularly given the lack of tools designed to provide oversight regarding the effective utilization of public monies.
Once fully operational, ASSL immediately embarked on comprehensive capacity development programs led by the United Kingdom Department of International Development (DFID). The goal: strengthen ASSL’s institutional and professional capacity and fulfill its mandate within demanding national limitations.
As of 2016, ASSL’s picture has drastically improved in part as a result of the following activities which are aligned with the INTOSAI-Donor Cooperation principles:
Comparing ASSL´s performance in 2002 to 2016 shows tremendous improvements attributed to various capacity development activities.
ASSL must remain steadfast in its efforts to combat obstacles and achieve a positive impact on accountability, good governance, and transparency. ASSL continues to develop. According to the 2014 PEFA assessment, ASSL needs to remain focused on increasing audit scope, further cultivating specialized audit areas and ensuring that its reports are being acted upon. PAC follow-up on recommendations is still a challenge.
We have embraced the sustained support given by our development partners and harmonization development programs with our strategic plans. We hope the intense development assistance to ASSL can continue until we reach a level of matureness where we can make an impact based on our own sustainable capabilities.
–Mrs. Lara Taylor-Pearce, Sierra Leone Auditor General
The INTOSAI-Donor Cooperation is a strategic partnership between donors and the Supreme Audit Institution (SAI) community.
Purpose: to improve SAI performance in developing countries through scaled-up and more effective support.
Guiding Principles: development of country-led strategic plans; donors respecting SAI country leadership; and improved coordination of support.
Members: To date, 23 donor organizations and INTOSAI
(who comprise the INTOSAI-Donor Steering Committee) have signed the Memorandum of Understanding.
For more information, visit us online at www.idi.no/en/intosai-donor-cooperation.