SLRTA to account for Le.3.76 billion
By Samuel J. Kargbo
The Public Account Committee in Parliament last week probed the Sierra Leone Road Transport Authority, SLRTA, on the 2009, 2010 and 2011 Audit reports.
Deputy Auditor-General, Tamba Momoh, told the Committee that the Authority accommodated some tenants at its Kissy Road office for which, based on the rent agreement, the Authority was expected to collect Le.1, 500,000 annually as rent from those tenants, but that auditors were unable to ascertain any evidence that the said rent was collected.
He added that the agreement between the SLRTA and a contractor for the printing of number plates – International Association Services, Sarrah Trading Enterprise, Bilak Trading and Construction Companies – had expired since 2009, while the issue was still outstanding.
He cited section 10 (a) of the Roads Authority Act of 1996 which states that: “The Authority shall have power, in connection with its function under section 9 to impose and levy fees, including Vehicle Licensing and registration fee with the approval of Parliament: provided that any Vehicle Licensing and registration fee levied by the Authority shall be paid into the Road Fund under paragraphs (B)and (C) of sub-section (1) of section 25 of the Sierra Leone Roads Authority Act 1992 less any amount which the Authority may be allowed to retain to defray the administration cost of the levying of such fees.”
However, it was observed that the end of year cash balance of Le.3,706,532,000, Le.3,546,973,000 and Le.2,942,817,000 respectively held by the Authority for the years 2009, 2010 and 2013 should have been transferred to the Road Funds as stated in the Road Transport Act, although officials failed to do so.
He maintained that receivables of Le.209, 708,124 and Le.767, 100,434, described as suspense in 2010 and 2011, could not be substantiated as no supporting evidence were provided to the audit team, while store document for 2009 were not presented for audit review, which amount totaled Le.1, 740,717,000 and Le.2, 019,002,000, in respect of inventory for 2009 and 2010, but could not be substantiated since no supporting evidences were provided.
He said auditors also observed that the fixed asset register was not properly kept to facilitate easy verification of assets and that the location of assets was not disclosed in the fixed assets register, which made the verification exercise very difficult, while assets that were scrapped were still in the fixed asset register.
Deputy Chairman of the Committee, Hon. Eric Koedoyoma, instructed SLRTA officials at the hearing that they should endeavour to bring officials whose responsibility it is to answer the queries highlighted by auditors, or the Committee would take punitive action should those officials.
He accused SLTRA officials of deliberate failure to take with them sufficient evidence in respect of the alleged Le.3 billion, noting that Parliament would prevail on them to pay back the money.
Responding to the Committee, Director-General of SLRTA, Dr. Sarrah Bendu said most of the issues raised by the auditors were well noted and promised relevant officials of her institution will be available at the next hearing, plus all relevant documents for audit verification.
SLRTA Finance Officer, Alpha Gabassay, said monthly transfers have been made into the Road Funds and that in 2009, Le.4 billion was remitted into Fund, although he conceded there was no proper inventory taken for items in the store.
He further said that no proper assets register was kept in 2009.