NATCOM, Others May Account For Billions

Audit Service Sierra Leone has named and shamed institutions who woefully have failed to submit their financial statements for year ending 2016.

Amongst institutions that have not submitted financial statements 2016, according to a public notice From Audit Service Sierra Leone Monday 7th August are: National Telecommunication Commission (NATCOM), the Independent Media Commission (IMC), Office of National Security (ONS), University of Sierra Leone (USL), Njala University and 24 other government institutions.

“Sections 86(1) and 118(1) (b) of the Public Financial Management Act 2016 state that the Annual Financial Statements of Public Enterprises, Commissions and Agencies shall be audited by the Auditor-General or other auditor appointed by him,” meaning that failure to submit such to the Auditor General is but legally and financially wrong.

The Audit Service therefore concluded that because NATCOM and the 28 other government institutions failed to submit their financial statements for auditing, they should therefore collectively account for billions of Leones of public money they received as budgetary allocations/subventions.

Seasoned journalist BBC’s Umaru Fofanah said: “a damning public notice has been issued today by the institution set up to audit the public accounts of SierraLeone. It says dozens of state institutions have failed to submit their financial statements for auditing – some for years and some others since they were established. The auditors say they cannot estimate the exact amount because they’re not privy to the financial documents, but a source says tens – “possibly hundreds” – of millions of dollars have not been accounted for.

The defaulting institutions include some of the biggest revenue earners and recipients of state funds. Among them are the National Telecommunications Commission (NATCOM), the road safety authority, the drugs control agency, pharmaceutical and procurement unit, the state’s assets commission, the civil aviation authority, the maritime administration, petroleum regulatory agency, the main water and electricity companies (Guma and EGTC), the main public universities (USL and NU), office of national security, the stock exchange company and the main hospital board for the capital Freetown and environs.

Consistent reports by the highly respected Audit Service Commission have pointed to widespread financial mismanagement in the public sector – a euphemism for corruption – with their findings and recommendations largely ignored.”

Meanwhile, some Sierra Leoneans have asked government not to give the named institutions any money if they do not submit their financial statements for 2016, while others say Parliament should summon them so that they can explain reason for not submitting their financial statements to the audit service.

But NATCOM’s boss, Momoh Kemoh Konte told BBC’s Umaru Fofanah that a software breakdown was to blame, insisting that he has informed the auditors about the glitch, promising however that in the next two weeks he will submit his institution’s financial statement.

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