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Sierra Leone
Friday, July 1, 2022

NaCOVERC in Le148bn debt

By Jariatu S. Bangura

Chairman of NaCOVERC,Dr.Amara Jambai

The 2020 Audit Report on the National Covid-19 Emergency Response Center (NaCOVERC) for the period 1st July to 31st December, revealed that as at 30th September,2021, NaRCOVERC owe an outstanding debt of Le148 billion.

The amount relates to backlog payment allowances, amount owed to supplies for goods and services delivered, operational costs and other outstanding costs.

The report was tabled on May 19 by the Deputy Speaker of Parliament and Chairman of the Public Accounts Committee (PAC), Hon. Segepor S. Thomas, and awaiting debate.

Auditors review of documents and discussions with officials of NaCOVERC revealed that, the agency has huge outstanding commitments and debts in the year under review.

It is not clear when NaCOVERC will honor those debts and commitments as the Ministry of Finance has also discontinued the provision of regular financial support to NaCOVERC. Failure to meet financial and other obligations as they fall due, may risk jeopardizing the response and raises concern on the issues relating to the response.

During the audit and up to the time they held the exit meeting, 15th October, 2021, auditors stated that PAC had not provided its own conclusion on the review of the auditor general’s first report on NaCOVERC. Consequently, they found it difficult to follow up on the implementation of the recommendation of that report.

Notwithstanding the progress NaCOVERC has made in putting control measures in place in the management of its finance and other resources during July to December 2020, there was still room for improvement in the areas of expenditure management, revenue management, bank reconciliations and budgetary control.

During the verification of responses, documents were submitted and verified for a total of Le5, 760,132,871. However, there was still an amount of Le1,663,293,000 for which no documents were submitted  hence remained unresolved.

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