The President of Sierra Leone has earlier warned that Ebola Money is a blood money and that people should be careful with it but both Phase 1 and 2 of the Audit Report on the Management of Ebola Fund have exposed massive corruption in the fight against ebola
In the recent Phase Two Report, the Auditor says that on 27 November 2014, the National Ebola Response Center (NERC) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with three Mobile Commerce Partners-MCPs (namely: Airtel, Splash and Africell) with the objective of using mobile money disbursement service for making payments to designated recipients and beneficiaries of hazard pay incentive within Sierra Leone.
“The total amount of money that was made available to these MCPs for payment to the designated beneficiaries of hazard pay incentives since the MOU was signed, till April 2015, was Le67,461,212,000 (including the 5% commission fee).
From this amount, the sum of Le59,694,026,957 was paid to the designated recipients and beneficiaries, and the remaining Le7,767,185,043 was still being held by the MCPs,” the report explained
According to the Auditor, the risk is that the unclaimed funds have been put into investment by the MCPs that may devalue the effect of those funds.
The Auditor recommends that the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of NERC should ensure that the total unclaimed amount of Le7,767,185,043 is returned to NERC’s account within the regulatory time frame of 30 days, after the receipt of the report and that evidence of payment into NERC’s account should be forwarded to the Audit Service for verification.
The Auditor added that in future all unclaimed amounts should be returned to NERC’s account on a timely basis.
According to the report the risk of “devalue the current effect of the funds” is not quiet understood by the management of NERC but that they say an updated reconciliation has been done and refund is in progress.
“The reconciliation used by the auditors were in the draft stage and have been reviewed. At the time of the audit, payments were still being made and based on the policy ERW had a maximum of 90 days to start cashing out their payments from their E-wallets,” the Management of NERC explained.
However when the Auditors went to verify from the revised reconciliation statements that the sum of Le4,846,684,799.99 was held by the MCPs, they were able to verify that the sum of Le4,205,864,800 has been returned to NERC’s account by the MCPs but that, “the remaining Le640,819,999.99 was still held by one of the MCPs which is SPLASH as at the date of verification. Therefore, this issue is yet to be fully resolved”