The Sierra Leone Police are yet to provide accurate supporting documents for the sum of $219,045 to members of the Public Accounts Committee of Parliament after they were summoned to respond to queries contained in the Auditor-General’s report of 2012.
According to Principal Auditor at Audit Service Sierra Leone, auditors observed that a number of withdrawals were made from the Staff Welfare and Peace Keeping Funds, ostensibly to meet routine operational expenses while waiting for government subventions (with the intention to refund same), but there is no evidence to ascertain that the money was refunded.
He said the sum of two billion, four hundred and sixty-two million, five hundred and ninety-five thousand Leones (Le.2, 462, 595, 000) was collected as own source revenue generated by the police, yet the said amount was not paid into the Consolidated Revenue Fund and there was no evidence that such was authorized by the Ministry of Finance and Economic.
He maintained that auditors found that names of 184 officers were still on the SLP payroll during the year under review who had attained the compulsory retirement age of 60 years, and that there was no documentary evidence for an extension of their contracts. He said the amount of salary paid to those officers in the year 2012 amounted to Le.845, 890, 860 and that the issue still remained unresolved.
Responding to the queries, Deputy Assistant Inspector General of Police, Richard Moigbeh justified the withdrawal from the staff welfare fund as a stop-gap measure aimed at overcoming the challenges faced by late disbursement of funds to force. He said the Le.127, 549, 000 has since been refunded and that the documents are now available for inspection. He said Le.600 million has been refunded into the Peace Keeping Funds, while the remainder will be later returned, although he did not provide a timeline.
He said although the SLP is funded by government, because of the global economic crisis the high command thought it prudent to generate some extra revenue in order to cater for emergencies, such as during the 2012 multitier elections and hospital bills for personnel, before funds are remitted by government, adding that there are document to substantiate the issue.
He maintained 314 police officers have since been retired from the force and that the reason they were retained was because of the 2012 elections as they had less than the required number of personnel needed to police the entire country.
Meanwhile, the Committee recommended that a written document be submitted to members so that they could ascertain the veracity of his claims.