February 15, 2017 By Patrick Jaiah Kamara
The Auditor General of Audit Service Sierra Leone has stated in the 2015 Audit Report that blind payments of Le18.7 billion was made to the National Social Security and Insurance Trust (NASSIT) on behalf of over nine thousand employees across the country.
Mrs. Lara Taylor-Pearce reported that the national auditing firm discovered that the aforementioned NASSIT contributions were deducted and paid over to the trust for 9,883 employees who are without NASSIT numbers within the payroll Civil Service Module (CSM) system.
The report, which will be deliberated any time soon by lawmakers, stated that the Sierra Leone Police deducted Le7,456,776,912 for some 5473 staff, while ministries, departments and agencies contributed Le9,136,289,952 on behalf of 3,072 staff. Also, the Republic of Sierra Leone Armed Forces are reported to have deducted Le2,107,121,076 on behalf of personnel.
The report, however, raised apprehension that beneficiaries might not receive their proper pension entitlement upon their retirement date, as Employee Certificate of Insurance would not be available to them, thus noting that unassigned NASSIT contributions were more susceptible to misuse.
The Audit Service, as a result, recommended that all efforts be made by Human Resources Management Officers in the affected institutions to secure NASSIT numbers to the said employees within the shortest possible time.
“NASSIT should ensure that all back contributions are posted to the correct member account,” the report states.
However, the auditor general has noted that there remain fundamental issues that have negatively impacted the audit opinion on the 2015 Public Accounts. She lamented that issues raised consistently in previous audit reports have been largely left unaddressed, thus noting that if the situation persists she would not be constrained to issue an unqualified “clean” audit opinion in the future.
At the end of each financial year, the Auditor General issues a report on the Public Accounts of the Government of Sierra Leone in accordance with Section 119(2) of the Constitution of the Republic of Sierra Leone 1991, which is tabled in parliament for deliberations.
The Public Account Committee in parliament is expected to deliberate on the report and summon defaulting institutions and individuals to present relevant documents that they may have failed to show during the audit, with recommendations that missing monies be refunded.