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Ex-NRA Commissioner, Registrar General may face COI

August 29, 2019

By Jariatu S. Bangura

Former  Commissioner General of the National Revenue Authority (NRA) Madam Haja Kallah-Kamara and Administrator and Registrar General, Haja Mariama Seray Kallay may face the Justice Biobele Georgewill Commission of Inquiry to respond to claims made in the 2013,2014 and 2015 Auditor General’s report,respectively.

It was revealed by State Counsel, O. V. Robin Mason that the aforementioned individuals were serving in the said institutions when the three audit reports were published.

During his testimony at the Commission, Head of Internal Auditor at the Ministry of Justice said though the claims were made for the offices of the Administration and Registrar General and the NRA Commissioner, Musa Saidu Kamara said the transit accounts were managed by the NRA, and that they should be the appropriate authorities to respond to the queries made in the report.

He said some of his responsibility as auditor for the ministry of justice was to audit the administration, procurement, and other departments of the ministry, adding that he was the first to have headed that office in the ministry and that before 2015, the ministry was audited by the Audit Service Sierra Leone.

Amongst the recommendations made by the auditors was that the Registrar General and the NRA should also be producing documents before audit.

The 2013 audit report reveals among other things that the NRA cashbook recorded that revenue collected stood at Le727, 651, 764, but could not be traced to the Bank of Sierra Leone’s bank statement.

The report also claims that a total of Le3, 898,059,947 recorded in the NRA cashbook did not reconcile with the total bank balance of Le3, 665,327,405 as indicated in the BSL bank statements as at 31st December, 2013.

It was also observed that a difference of Le152, 641,384 on the NRA Transit Accounts No. 000-000801-32-00-01 at SLCB could not be traced to the BSL account no. 1100801.

Thus, it was recommended that the Commissioner of NRA provides more information regarding monies collected as indicated in the cashbook, but not paid to the stipulated transit account.

In addition, auditors recommend that the Commissioner of NRA should provide documentary evidence to explain the difference in cashbook and bank statements within thirty days of the receipt of the report; otherwise the said amount should be surcharged and disallowed.

The Administrator and Registrar General stated that the total collections as contained in their cashbook was Le3,898,059,947 and the amount traced to the Bank of Sierra Leone bank statement was Le3,665,327,405, leaving a difference of Le232,732,541 and not Le727,651,764.

Meanwhile, the audit team was unable to substantiate the evidence provided by the authority, given that the said amount was deposited, and  gave a total of Le276,529,946 instead of Le232,732,541 as recorded in the cashbook, thus living a variance of Le43, 797, 405 in which no reasonable explanation was provided.

According to the witness, NRA did not respond to the query relating to the difference of Le152, 641, 384 on the NRA Transit Accounts neither did they provide the team with documentary evidence.

The report further revealed that one tenth of the total payment deducted from deceased estates for the total of Le37, 781, 121 was not paid to NRA for the period under review. In addition, payments made to intestate beneficiaries for a total of Le27, 483,925 were not supported by adequate documentation such as: files for individual, deceased estate (which must show details of deceased and beneficiaries). It was further observed that intestate beneficiaries paid 1% service fees totaling Le3, 702, 631.

These are and many other allegations were made in the report which might prompt the Commission of Inquiry to summon those that were in authority at the time.

However, lawyer representing Persons of Interest, Amadu Kroma  stated that all the explanation from the witness does not torches his client, Franklyn Bai Kargbo, there he has not question for the witness.