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Audit report reveals…

Building permits not issued for construction projects in the north & south

October 31, 2019

By Ibrahim Tarawallie

A performance audit conducted by Audit Service Sierra Leone on the assessment and issuance of Building Permits by the Ministry of Lands, Housing and Environment has revealed that in the north and southern regions, building permits were not issued for construction projects in 9 out of 11 districts.

The report of the audit was officially tabled in the House of Parliament on Tuesday October, 29 2019.

The audit, which covered the period between 2015 and 2018, stated that according to the officers in charge of those regions, the low manpower, lack of mobility and logistical constraints made it impossible for them to cover those districts.

A release from Audit Service noted that during the audit, it was discovered that building fees were calculated in contravention with the guiding Building Fee Act of 1993 and that the funds lost to government due to wrong calculations amounted to Le178, 560,579.

“There were also instances in which payments amounting to Le65,470,000 were made for building permits as evidenced in the register of the housing division but were not recorded in the cash book of the National Revenue Authority (NRA),” the release stated.

The release continued that the housing division of the lands ministry has not been effective in the discharge of its roles and responsibilities across the board and that efforts in ensuring that assessment and issuance of building permits are absorbed in all building projects have been faced with several huge challenges including out-dated legislations in respect of the assessment and issuance of building permits and lack of basic equipment and logistics to carry out housing activities, among others.

According to the release, the audit was motivated by several risk factors that were identified during the sector analysis phase with key among them been construction projects were carried out in Sierra Leone without consulting the housing division that has been responsible for the assessment and issuance of building permits.

The audit was carried out with the main objective of assessing whether the housing division effectively followed procedures in the assessment and issuance of building permits.

Section 11(2) (c) of the Audit Service Act, 2014 confers on the Audit Service the authority  to conduct  value-for-money and other audits in a bid to ensure that efficiency and effectiveness are achieved in the use of public funds.

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