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Friday, May 20, 2022

ACC exposes maladministration at SLRTC

By Alusine Sesay

 Bockarie Lewis Kamara...where are the 40 buses?

Bockarie Lewis Kamara…where are the 40 buses?

The systems and processes review report of the Anti-Corruption Commission has exposed series of maladministration at the Sierra Leone Roads Transport Corporation (SLRTC), headed by Bockarie Lewis Kamara.

The review process, which was meant among other things to examine practices and procedures in the management of SLRTC bus fleet, determined the level of transparency and accountability therein, and to develop strategies in line with international best practices, in a bid to reverse negative trend in the management of the institution, highlighted a range of maladministration from poor financial management to out corrupt acts.

The report, launched last Thursday by the Commissioner-General of the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC), Joseph Fitzgerald Kamara, reveals that the Corporation was running without a financial manual, with implication of tremendous loss of revenue.

The report reveals that bus hiring at the Corporation is highly prone to corrupt practices because there is no formal and official procedures for the processing of request for hiring of buses.

“Transactions are conducted through informal means and verbal instructions have been used in the management of this service resulting in the corporation accruing many debtors over the years, especially from MDAs,” the report reveals. “The price list which is used as a guide in determining the amount to be paid for the hiring of buses is not updated and hardly consulted. The only available price list is dated as far back as 2008, and is no longer in use and charges are therefore levied discretionary.”

The report further discloses that payment for the hiring of buses is done on a cash basis over the counter and that while there is no proper cash handling system, such cash payment is being handled by both the cashier and the bus hiring manager, with no reconciliation done in the process.

The report indicts the Corporation of contravening government financial regulation as it maintains two accounts for depositing monies collected for the hiring of buses, as operating two accounts for single service can sometimes result into manipulation of accounts as well as render reconciliation difficult in accounting for such monies.

The report also disclose that some members of the Board of Directors are micro-managing the hiring of buses, while others circumvent procedures of hiring of the buses for their private gains, thereby undermining revenue mobilization in the Corporation.

“Most often they negotiate the bus price for people and also use the buses for the transportation of their personal goods for business purposes at free of cost,” notes the report.

Meanwhile, management of the Corporation responded that existing procedures with regards financial management were under review, taking into accounts ACC’s systems review observation, adding that training has commenced for the sales department to independently handle sale of tickets.

Addressing the audience during the launch of the report, ACC Commissioner-General, Joseph F. Kamara noted that the Commission works within a mandate and that the legal framework which is the reviewed ACC Act of 2008 gives them the power of prosecution and recovery of public monies as well as empowers them to conduct system review to examine the effectiveness, efficiency and economy of public institutions, taking into consideration the value for money.

He said the people of Sierra Leone have invested a lot in ministries and agencies, and as a result expect effective service delivery, and that the system review is not meant to witch hunt, but to ensure that the public have knowledge about weakness that impede the smooth running of public institutions.

He said the ACC examines the operations of public institutions to promote integrity, hence the review is not about naming and shaming but to identify loopholes in the administration and proffer recommendation.

Bockarie Lewis Kamara, Director-General of SLRTC, accepted the report in good faith, noting that the ACC is not an enemy but someone sitting outside while seeing the inside of public institutions.

Being at the helm of the Corporation for the past five years, he said, a lot has been achieved, although challenges still remain.

He added that customer service is supreme and promised to ensure the SLRTC is transformed into a better institution that would serve the nation diligently and professionally.

More on the Anti-Corruption Commission Review of the Systems and Processes of the Sierra Leone Road Transport Corporation in subsequent editions of Concord Times.

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