September 21, 2020
By Jariatu S. Bangura
Members of the Parliamentary Committee on Information and Communications on Thursday stood down officials of the National Telecommunications Commission (NATCOM) for failure to submit accurate financial records to the committee.
According to the Chairman of the committee, Hon. Boston Munda, the letter sent to the Commission was for them to provide detail status report for the financial years 2019 and half of 2020, financial records including income and expenditures, among other documents.
He said they needed to also see comprehensive report of all activities that huge amount are spent.
”There is need for you to supply all documents that the committee needs. A comprehensive financial records including bank statements from 2018 to date, financial audited report and all supporting documents to income and expenditures,” he said.
“We could not continue to hold the meeting because the documents that should be used to probe into the activities of NATCOM are inconclusive. It is not always the case that such should be. I hope you will understand that, it is important that you do so in going through the process,” he said.
Hon. Hassan A. Sesay said according to document presented to the committee, there were expenditures made that needed to be clarified, and that such would only be done with the bank statement and financial reports which would show the breakdowns of those expenditures.
He said the committee was also aware that NATCOM is monitoring cybercrime, but that such detail was not captured in the status report presented, albeit a huge sum of money has been spent in that area.
“NATCOM should not tell us what to do or what to ask for. It is now the responsibility of the financial controller to ask the clerk for clarification,” he said.
However, Director General of NATCOM, Daniel B. Kaitibi, said they weren’t aware that they should attach such documents to the reports submitted to the committee, but pleaded that more time be given for them to submit those documents.
He said they only had 2015& 2016 audited account reports and for the remaining years, all the documents have been given to Audit Service Sierra Leone but once they are done, the said documents will be submitted to the committee.
On his part, Hon. Abdul Latif Sesay expressed disappointment at NATCOM as a regulatory body but faced the committee with such excuses, which, to them, is not be accepted.
He said similar letters with the same content were sent to other Ministries, Departments and Agencies and that they complied, unlike NATCOM.
“Here you are telling us that you don’t know that bank statements should be attached to documents that the committee required. Other MDAs have been written the same letter that was sent out to your department and they complied but for you to tell us such, is not acceptable hence we should step you down for another date for you to provide us with what we ask for”.
The committee recommended that all the documents needed should be forward on or before 12noon on Thursday next week to the committee’s Clerk.