Appointment Violation? Red Flag Over Nominee to Auditing Commission
Monrovia – On Friday, April 15, 2016, President Ellen John-Sirleaf announced the appointment of several Government Officials including Mr. Adam Sheriff as Deputy Auditor General for “Assurance Quality”, General Auditing Commission of the Republic of Liberia.
Questions are being raised over the nomination of Mr. Adam Sheriff as Deputy Auditor General for “Assurance Quality” at the General Auditing Commission, Republic of Liberia which appears to be in violation of the GAC Act of 2014 which was approved by President Sirleaf on December 22, 2014 and printed into hand bill on March 6, 2015, posted on the GAC’s website.
The appointment seems to violate the GAC Act of 2014 which was approved by President Sirleaf on December 22, 2014 and printed into hand bill on March 6, 2015, posted on the GAC’s website.
The General Auditing Commission with the support of the European Union drafted and submitted to the National Legislature the GAC Act of 2014. The New Act was intended to meet the requirements of the LIMA and Mexican Declarations.
The LIMA and Mexican Declarations of the Organization of Supreme Audit Institutions (INTOSAI) set broad mandates for Supreme Audit Institutions (SAIs) like the GAC to ensure their independence, provide financial and operational autonomy.
According to the New GAC act which repealed the Executive Law of 1972 Chapter 53, the selection and appointment of the Deputies shall following the same process as the Auditor General which under the GAC Act of 2014 Section 2.1.1 shall meet among others, the following requirements: An Ad-hoc committee shall be established by the President for the purpose of identifying suitable candidates for the position of Deputy Auditor General.
The membership of the committee shall include representative of the GAC, Civil Service Commission, Anti-Corruption Commission, and the Liberian Institute of Certified Public Accountants (LICPA), Governance Commission and Civil Society. The Ad-hoc committee shall carry out a thorough search to identify qualified and suitable candidates.
The Ad-hoc committee shall identify three of the top three candidates and shall submit their names and background to the President of Liberia. Should the President not select any of the names submitted, the President, the process shall be repeated until a suitable candidate is appointed by the President.
The GAC Act of 2014 seems to meet the requirements of the LIMA and Mexican Declarations, however, it remains to be seen whether the law will be respected and executed to the letter as to truly “depoliticize” the GAC has is constantly heralded by officials of government.
A careful reveal of the position Mr. Sheriff was appointed shows that there is no position at the GAC calls Assurance Quality, but Quality Assurance. Normally, Quality Assurance functions are units in Supreme Audit Institutions whose head reports to the Auditor General.
Also, with Government recent pronounced economic meltdown, it is not known whether the budgetary implication of the new position by the President was considered.
In other jurisdictions where appointments violate the existing legal framework, they are withdrawn by the President and the law is executed. However, it is not known whether this will be the case. If precedence is anything to go by, then it is unlikely the appointment will be withdrawn.
About a year ago, the Director for Administration at the Internal Audit Agency (IAA) was appointed by President Sirleaf as Deputy Director General for Administration in violation of the Act creating the Agency established by the Government.
According to the IAA Act among others, the qualified candidate shall have minimum ten years’ experience and shall be a professional accountant, requirements which appears not to have been met. Despite the violation, the National Legislature confirmed the Deputy and is currently serving in that capacity.