Exposed… SLAA and the Le 1, 796,386,488 Bn. Unpaid Airlines Debt

Audit findings as in report put out for financial year ending 2015 by Audit Service exposes Sierra Leone Airport Authority (SLAA) and Airline businesses too.

The report states nonetheless that a review of the age receivable schedule revealed how the sum of US $341,843 (Le1,796,386,488) in respect of monies owed by airlines, agencies and others for landing, passenger service charges and infrastructural development charges was included as part of the total amount disclosed as short term receivable in the financial statements of SLAA.

That the amount had been outstanding for more than two years and no evidence was submitted as to the recoverability of it.

Such long outstanding debts, the report explained, would have been better managed and controlled if there had been a policy in place for the management of debts at SLAA.

This, the auditors say, was because management of SLAA failed having formal discussion with the Board on making provisions for those debts in line with previous audit recommendations.

Reports it have that Airlines and Agencies have ignored the payment of debts owed SLAA because there have been seeming conspiracies between them (Airlines, Agencies, etc.) and senior management officials of SLAA.

Some experts have told the New Age press that there isn’t any form of structure at the SLAA in the enhancement of a positive management makeup for revenue generation.

But their requests are that the Anti Corruption and Parliament step up prosecutorial actions in the augmentation of rules preventing perceived corruption or mismanagement by officials of SLAA to enable government realizes it deserved revenue in the future.

However, the audit report observed that a contract signed in January 2011 for the duration of 15 weeks for the upgrading and modification of the Sierra Leone Airport Authority’s terminal building had not been completed to-date.

That the original contract price was US $4,157,000 when it was signed in January 2011, but to date, cumulative payments of at least US $6,461,000 had been made.

And that at the time of the audit, the revised timeline for completing the contract was requested but not submitted for inspection.

Furthermore, even though the remainder had not been completed, there were already defects in the parts that had been completed.

The report revealed that the Authority did not have a policy with regards the maintenance of its non-current assets, such as computer hardware and vehicles.

“There was no evidence of authorisation process/mechanism for the movement of non-current assets. For instance, the auditors could not verify some assets in some locations as detailed in the assets register,” the report stresses.

“We will take the necessary action to have those amounts adequately provided for, a formal policy to address issues of outstanding debt had been developed and was now being discussed by management,” responses of SLAA General Manager as stated in the report.

Adding: “management had intensified the collection of long outstanding debts in the recent past through various means such as meetings with customers, letters and the institution of sanctions.”

But as at the public disclosure of the audit report, there has been no evidence of periodic reconciliation between the billing and finance departments on revenue collection at SLAA.

That there was also no evidence of an approved business continuity or disaster recovery plan.

The auditors however noted that bank balances held at the Standard Chartered Bank, London, which amounted to Le 64.1 million were disclosed as receivables.

They claimed those amounts had been outstanding for long and there was no evidence that they would be recovered because no evidence of any correspondence with the bank for the recovery of those monies was submitted for audit inspection at all.

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