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Correctional Centre owes Suppliers Le12bn

November 8, 2017 By Jariatu S. Bangura

Finance Officer at the Sierra Leone Correctional Service has informed the Sub- Appropriation Committee in Parliament that their suppliers have threatened to withdraw services because they owe them over Le12 billion for the supply of food items, stationary, and office equipment, among a host of others.

A.T. Bangura told committee members that the debt was accrued in the 2016 and 2017 financial years.

The committee has commenced investigations into how ministries, department and agencies (MDAs) expended their 2016/17 budget and what are their next priorities are for the 2018 budget, which lawmakers approved last week.

When quizzed by deputy chairperson of the committee, Hon. Helen Kuyembeh, on whether the recurrent and development estimates for the financial year 2016-2017 was received, Bangura responded that the Internal Affairs Ministry was yet to explained to them whether they would receive the allocation on quarterly basis or a wholesome figure from the Ministry of Finance.

He said since August 2016 they have been submitting receipts to the bank for onward payment to the suppliers, amounting to Le12,762,922,601 (twelve billion seven hundred and sixty-two million nine hundred and twenty-two thousand six hundred and one Leones), but disclosed that no payment had been made because the Ministry of Finance was yet to disburse funds to the bank.

According to Director of Prisons, Sampha Bilo Kamara, they normally receive allocations for half a year and claimed that the second allocation is normally received in the next financial year.

He told committee members that on November 6 this year, Ministry of Finance disbursed Le500,000,000 (five hundred million Leones) to the centre, adding that they are in a dilemma as to how to pay the suppliers they owe such a huge amount.

Dilating on the issue of late disbursement, Hon. Kuyembeh promised to confront Ministry of Finance officials that such development was creating problems for MDAs.

“It is better that we have got it from you the affected victims. We will not explain better if you don’t tell us. But now that we have heard you, we will recommend to the Finance Ministry to make prompt payment,” she said.

On his part, Chairman of the Sub-Committee, Hon. Francis A. Konuwa, said the issue of late disbursement was far beyond lawmakers but promised to bring it to the attention of Ministry of Finance officials as MDAs would not operate efficiently without adequate funds.

In another development, the committee threatened that they would withhold the 2018 budget allocation to the Community Relation of the National Civil Registration Authority (NCRA) if Director General, Foday Kamara, failed to attend the next committee hearing slated for today.

The Head of Community Relation, Donald King, who represented his boss, appealed to the committee to wait until the former returns from a study tour in Namibia.

“The Director General did receive a letter from Parliament on the 2 of November, together with his senior staff to present a review or recurrent and development estimates for the financial year 2016-2018, but he travelled the same day. He asked me to take excuse on his behalf until next Monday, 12 November,” King explained.

But the committee members were adamant that the sub-appropriation hearing would conclude this Friday and could not wait until next Monday.

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