September 15, 2016 By Ibrahim Tarawallie
A systems and processes review carried out by the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) has exposed several lapses at the country’s Immigration Department.
The report titled “Systems and Practices of the Immigration Department”, which was officially launched yesterday in the conference room of the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development by ACC Commissioner Ade Macualey, identified the strengths and weaknesses in the operations of the department, as well as proffered recommendations to be implemented.
The report reveals there was no verification of goods supplied to the institution and that payments were effected without due verification.
According to the report, there were no delivery notes on goods supplied and that there was lack of records on migration history of individuals, lack of data base on foreign entrants, while the name of the Chief Immigration Officer appears on official cheques instead of the institution.
The report further reveals that the institution’s Records Unit does not operate an electronic records keeping, but heavily relies on manual recording of transactions.
“We did not see any record of foreigners coming in and out of the country and even when we went to the border posts, we found no records showing foreigners entering into our country. We are recommending that the department maintains an electronic record keeping as well as maintains records of non-citizens in the regions,” says Deputy Director of Systems and Processes Review Department, Rashid Turay.
While presentation the key findings, Mr. Turay said they discovered that the institution’s Internal Auditors were not verifying goods supplied before payments were made.
He stated that revenue collection was in the hands of different officers as the Finance Unit was not really in charge of financial management of the department.
“There are different officers involved in revenue collection of which the Finance Unit is not aware of. Report system is very weak. The Finance Unit is not aware of what is generated on behalf of the institution. There is also weak monitoring control in cash management as there is no designed system of monitoring control by the department over revenue collection,” he noted and added that the Director of Finance was not a signatory to the institution’s accounts.
With regards transactions, Mr. Turay said they realised during the review that there were many transactions without supporting documents, with payments effected on those transactions, leaving behind the necessary documents to actually authenticate approval for payments.
He recommended that all financial management should be under the control of the Finance Unit of the department and that transactions without supporting documents should not be approved for payment.
He added that there was also no proper storage facility for passports and no involvement of the Procurement Officer in procurement process, hence recommending proper storage facility and for the procurement officers to be involved in all procurement activities.
In his response, Chief Immigration Officer, Alpha Kholifa Koroma, welcomed the report and assured that recommendations therein would be implemented.
He however contended that they have proper records as well as an electronic data base of all foreigners entering in and out of the country since 2012.
Also, ACC Commissioner Ady Macauley said: “We engage ministries, departments and agencies to see how their processes and procedures are to be able to pick out where there are gaps that create the environment for corruption to thrive. I believe this is the fifth or sixth review process we are taking. The time of this review cannot be more appropriate.”