Sierra Leone-Accountability-Corruption

Sierra Leone: Anti-graft boss vows to pursue missing billions

APA-Freetown (Sierra Leone)

The head of Sierra Leone’s Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) has vowed to ensure nothing is left unanswered with regards to missing billions as revealed in the latest Auditor General’s report.

The 2018 Audit General’s report, which was released late last month, revealed that financial indiscipline in the country is still huge.

A total of Le140 billion (about US$15million) was found to have gone without explanation.
The Auditor General’s report gives an annual account of the Sierra Leone government’s account, covering all publicly funded institutions.

On Monday, the ACC convened a press conference where it raised issues with some of its observations in the 2018 report, particularly areas where there are material losses within the public service which the Commission believes could have been prevented.

According to Commissioner Kaiafala, the agency will prioritize looking at issues at the ministry of finance since it has a lot of questions to answer in the 2018 report, notably staff salaries, in light of
reports suggesting additional staff without supporting documents; monthly increases in employee’s basic salary; Daily Subsistence Allowance (DSA) with no supporting documents; as well as lack of
evidence of procurement of ICT equipments. Mr Kaifala is also in the National Revenue Authority (NRA) over missing billions of unpaid taxes. He also mentioned Le14billion allocated to the discarded
Mamamah Airport project, allocated between 2014 and 2018.

“The ministry of Finance is responsible for fiscal discipline in the country and therefore must live by example,” Kaifala told journalists on Tuesday.

Other Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) the ACC is focusing on the Local Government and Rural Development; Basic and Senior Secondary Education; Agriculture and Forestry; Transport and Aviation; Information and Communications, and the National Revenue Authority, which has been asked to put it house in order with regards billions found to have been missing due to unpaid taxes.

The 2018 Auditor General’s report is currently in front of the parliament, which is expected to debate on it before action is taken accordingly.

In the past, the report had caused friction between the House and the ACC, with the former accusing the latter of usurping its authority by acting on the report before it’s debated by lawmakers. But this time the two institutions appear to have reached an understanding, so that the ACC has a free hand to look into and act on the report.

Mr Kaifala said this is an indication that the government is committed to fighting graft.
“The current ACC regime doesn’t consider the Auditor General’s report as a mere opinion. We consider it as a source of information which we can investigate and act on,” he stressed.


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