Health Ministry officials to refund Le.82m
By Jariatu Bangura
According to a report on the recommendations of the Public Account Committee in Parliament on the 2011 Auditor General’s report, monies amounting to the sum of Le.82, 715,486 for Goods and Services Tax (GST) was not included in suppliers’ pro forma invoices in respect of a contract for the installation of window curtains, hence should be refunded as there were no evidence to substantiate the issue.
The report states that in spite of repeated requests by the audit team, the Bill of Quantities (BoQ) was not produced by the Architectural Services Manager and of utmost concern was the fact that Le.1, 132,017,953 was paid to Nimo Construction Company for the completion of work at the Central Medical Stores for which the BoQ was not made available.
The Permanent Secretary then at the Ministry of Health and Sanitation explained that the suppliers in question had been contacted and were yet to forward copies of their GST certificates on the issue of the Nimo construction contract, the report states, without naming him.
The report further states that the administrative head of the ministry had told the Committee that the contracts in question were originally awarded by the National Authorizing Office (NAO) in respect of a European Union (EU) funded project, adding that the liability was transferred to the ministry when the project ended and the EU refused to pay the outstanding payments.
He is quoted in the report to have said that the Architectural Service Manager and Procurement Manager respectively, did not submit a BoQ to the ministry.
The Committee thus recommend that the Accountant at the ministry should request the GST registration certificates from the various suppliers concerned and forward them to the Audit Service for audit verification within thirty days after the adoption of the report by Parliament, or the Le.82, 715,486 to be paid as GST by suppliers should be deducted by the ministry from the final payments due to former.
Hon. Francis Amara Kaisamba of the main opposition Sierra Leone People’s Party said the amount to be refunded is so huge that it beggars explanation that there are no adequate supporting documents for such amount, despite the insistent of government and donor partners that documentations be kept.