-For Alleged Financial Malpractices
The Liberia Telecommunications Authority (LTA) and other agencies of the Liberian Government have reportedly been nailed by the General Auditing Commission (GAC).
LISGIS former Boss, Dr. Edward Liberty
The irregularities are contained in the audit reports submitted to the National Legislature on April 16, 2018. According to a release posted on the official Facebook page of the GAC, the LTA report was among six government institutions audit reports the GAC submitted.
The other entities are the Nimba County Community College (NCCC) for the fiscal years July 1, 2012 to June 30, 2016; Law Reform Commission (LRC) for the fiscal years July 1, 2012 to June 30, 2016; Liberia Institute of Statistics and Geo Information Services (LISGIS); Ministry of Transport (MoT), July 1, 2012 to June 30, 2016 and National Aids Commission (NAC) for the fiscal years July 1, 2012 to June 30, 2016.
In the LTA audit report which covers the fiscal years July 1, 2012 to June 30, 2015, the GAC says it finds, among others, that the LTA Management could not provide the Call Data Recorder (CDRs) Reports which was the basis for sixty six (143) invoices amounting to US$35,654,365.69 as fees for international calls termination to service providers including Lonestar, Cellcom, Comium, LIBTELCO, Atlantic Wireless Inc, and Novafone/Comium.
LTA Boss Weeks NCCC Pres. Dr.Gono
The GAC recorded that the LTA’s management told auditors that the GAC needs a court order as per its Act to obtain the records. However, the GAC considers management’s claims as a limitation of scope, violation of the Public Finance Management Act of 2009 and its enabling regulations.
The report further noted that the difference of US$449,363.07 in revenue was not received by the LTA Management on the International calls Termination revenue sharing agreement distribution between the parties (GOL, GVG, Conex and LTA) but was rather received by the Government of Liberia.
According to the GAC’s audit, the LTA Management could not provide the fuel distribution log for 58,714.33 gallons of fuel/gasoline out of 92,992.12 gallons of fuel/gasoline procured and utilized during the periods under audit.
On the Ministry of Transport audit, the report noted that the Management of MoT requested Sole Source procurement from the Public Procurement and Concessions Commission to award a US$295,000.00 contract for the procurement of the Weigh Bridge (truck scale to measure the weight of trucks on roadways) in 2012 to the West Africa Architecture Contractors & Engineer Inc. (WAACE) without evidence of the facts and reasons justifying the use of the Sole Source procurement Method.
Physical verification by the GAC on 21 August 2017 indicates that the bridge is yet to be installed, more than five years after purchase. Furthermore, the GAC observed that the West Africa Architecture Consulting & Engineers, Inc. (WAACE) made a total payment of US$150,288.00 which includes freight and insurance whilst the company received US$295,000.00 from the Ministry for the purchase and installation of the equipment, resulting in a variance of US$144,712.00 between the payment made by the Ministry and the payment made by the WACCE to the supplier.
The GAC audit also observed that the Nimba County Community College Management made payments for various transactions amounting to US$47,383.18 and L$4,095, 093 without adequate supporting documentation such as payment vouchers, cash invoices, etc. to substantiate the genuineness of the transactions
The audit report noted that the NCCC Management admitted 1,705 students for regular and vacation schools without documentation such as bills, receipts, deposit slips, etc. to authenticate that the required tuitions and fees were collected and deposited in the entity’s account.
Further, the GAC noted that the NCCC Management did not maintain books of accounts and records such as cash book, ledgers, etc. for school fees and GOL subsidy received and expenditures incurred.
On the audit of LISGIS, the GAC noted that the Management of LISGIS failed to redeposit into the GoL Consolidated Fund account the uncommitted cash balance totaling US$642,746.85
The GAC observed that out of a sample of 50 personnel files, eight files lack some basic employee records such as letter of appointment, Personnel Action Notice (PAN) form, Curriculum vitas, Medical report and Academic qualifications.
In addition, three resigned and dismissed staff were maintained on the payroll for three to eleven months, respectively after they resigned and/or dismissed. They were paid an accumulated amount of L$$205,953.00.
The audit of the National Aids Commissions among others shows that there was non- provision of supporting documents for the periods under audit to support transactions totaling US$1,055,508.86 and L$3,277,344.01 respectively to assure the regularity of the transactions.
The GAC audit of the Law Reform Commission among others, finds that the Management of the Law Reform Commission made multiple payments totaling L$8,417,470.65 on payment vouchers that were not pre-numbered.
“Given the significance of the matters raised in the various audit reports, the GAC is urging the Hon. Speaker and the members of the House of Representatives and Hon. Pro-Tempore and members of the Liberian Senate to consider the implementation of the recommendations conveyed herein with urgency,” the commission recommended.
Under the Westminster system the GAC operates, the GAC reports are submitted to the Joint Public Accounts Committee (PAC) of the National Legislature, the PAC conducts public hearings and submit its findings to the President of Liberia for implementation. Copies of the GAC reports are also submitted to the President of Liberia, the auditees and publish on the commission’s website in line with Section 5.2 of the GAC Act of 2014.
Meanwhile, officials from those entities tip lip on the audit reports as it has now been presented to President George Weah and members of the House of Representatives respectively.