Former SLAA staffs closed 13 offices

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By Blessing C. Cole

Former staff of Sierra Leone Airport Authority closed about 13 offices and took the keys with them claiming that their end of service benefits had not been paid according to the 2022 Audit report.

The report stated that the Auditors had restricted acess to offices as accompanied by some SLAA staff, to visit the building and to physically inspect newly acquired and existing assets.

“During the exercise, we were unable to gain access to 13 offices” the report states adding that after further enquiry with the head of finance, we noted that keys to these offices were withheld by former employees of the Authority, claiming that their end-of-service benefits were not yet paid.

The report further recommended that the General Manager should ensure that the keys to these offices are retrieved from the former employees so that the Audit Service Sierra Leone can conduct physical verification of the assets.

It was however stated in an official response in  the report  that the keys to the offices of current SLAA staff are now available, but  keys to the offices of former SLAA staff are still with them.

The Auditors recommended that the General Manager should ensure that the keys to these offices are retrieved from the former employees so that the ASSL can conduct physical verification of these assets.

According to the Auditors comments during the verification exercise, keys to the cashier’s office were submitted the auditors so that the can physically verified the assets and compared them with the inventory list to confirm that no assets were missing.

“However, we were unable to gain access to the remaining 12 offices, as the keys to these offices were not made available during the exercise” the report stated.

In reviewing the payroll vouchers and supporting documents it was revealed that end of service benefits for a total of 645 staff were in the books of the SLAA as at 31st December 2022 and these employees were terminated on 19th January 2023 and their total end-of-service benefits amounted to SLE171,052,649, as  benefits had neither been paid, nor disclosed as notes to the Financial Statements.

“In one of their recommendations, the Auditors  stated that the Human Resources Manager, should consult  the Ministry of Finance, to ensure that proper arrangement is in place for the timely payment of  end-of-service benefits to employees who were terminated as a result of the transition from SLAA to Summa Group”, according to the report.

It is stated in an official response in the 2022 Audit Report that the Government of Sierra Leone through the Ministry of Transport and Aviation and the management of the SLAA is doing everything necessary to ensure that the terminal benefits are paid, stating that the  final computations have been submitted to the vice president.

The Auditors in commenting also stated in the report, “we received a letter dated 20th March 2023 addressed to the Senior Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Transport and Aviation requesting the office to facilitate the early payment of the employee’s severance benefit with no evidence of such payments as the issue remain unresolved.

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