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Le9.7bn missing in public purse

January 27, 2015 By Jariatu Bangura

According to the 2013 Auditor General’s report, auditors estimated a whopping loss in cash and stores worth over Le9.7 billion in the public purse.

The report reckons that just as in previous years, the huge loss was made possible as a result of a number of reasons, and suggests that public financial management should be improved in all ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs).

The report states that monies allocated to some MDAs were not accounted for at all, a perennial problem, it adds, while acknowledging that payments abound in almost all MDAs without adequate supporting documents.

Also, the report says that monthly reconciliations were not carried out in most MDAs, which it blames on a fundamental failure of internal control over cash and banking procedures – which control should be undertaken by persons with no access to the physical cash and bank statements, the report recommends.

Accordingly, the report maintains there were significant weaknesses in the management of revenue in most, if not all of the revenue generating entities, citing the transfer of funds to the National Revenue Authority as being subject to unnecessary delay.

“We noted many cases where withholding taxes were not deducted from suppliers or contractors. Several significant lapses were observed in procurement procedures resulting in complete transactions and hence unsatisfactory service delivery,” the report states, adding that monies intended to be managed by imprest accounts were not properly closed out or accounted for, thus control over imprest accounts was weak, while analyzing and posting expenditure accurately to ledger accounts were seriously impaired.

Despite the litany of financial anomalies in the report, it remains to be seen whether, like previous reports, this latest one will not gather dust, even after going through parliamentary scrutiny.