A source at National Commission for Privatization (NCP) has told the New Age that the term of office of Sierratel’s MD ends April 2018.
This, the source says, has left the NCP without option but to put an end to the year after year renewal of the contract of Edward Sesay as MD of Sierratel.
They claim there is currently a proposal to have Sierratel as a telecommunication agency privatized, to enable the company compete with other companies the likes of Orange and Africell.
They say MD Edward has had undying contract renewals over the years, but has brought no innovation to Sierratel.
It is thought of nonetheless that Sierratel’s latest endorsement of Samura Kamara on the launching of their new 4G internet product came owing to alleged ploy by the current MD for a stay in office in a situation he (Samura)wins the March 7 elections.
Reference must be drawn to the 2016 Audit report on the account of Sierra Leone Government which discloses how an amount totaling billions paid to Sierratel by Teltac has no supporting document.
“Le8, 600,000,000 was disclosed as advances from shareholder in the financial statement for the year ended 31st December, 2014 as non-current liability,” the report states.
That it was discovered that the money was given by Teltac to Sierratel.
The schedule related to this amount was not submitted for audit review by Sierratel at all.
Furthermore, there was neither share certificate nor loan agreement submitted to the auditors by Sierratel to substantiate whether the amount related to capital commitment or a loan to the company.
It was therefore recommended that Sierratel’s General Manager provides the schedule and all relevant supporting documents in connection with the amount for audit inspection as such would have helped the auditors make a much clearer audit opinion.
Sierratel’s response is that the said description was inadvertently made, as it was never an advance from shareholder but from Teltac.
The GM further said that the only shareholder for Sierratel is the Government of Sierra Leone.
He claimed the relevant loan documentation was available for review and verification, but even though Sierratel’s responses were noted, the auditors say the relevant loan agreement was not made available for inspection at all.
Public opinions are that the Anti Corruption Commission should institute investigation on financial conducts of management of Sierratel for years ending 2013, 2014 and 2015 to prove whether there have been violation vis-à-vis ones linking misappropriation- corruption.
It is further disclosed in the report that amounts totaling Le13,502,783.321, Le522,692,101 and Le3,183,279,355 with respect to sales tax, withholding tax and tax due on terminal benefit by Sierratel had been outstanding to NRA; some for over three years.
It was recommended that Sierratel pays the outstanding amounts to the National Revenue Authority.
That Sierratel should also ensure that prompt payment should be made in respect of its tax obligations.
Although the General Manager said that the Le13, 502,783,321 was an incorrect accrual for corporate taxes, an amount not due since the company was not profitable, he said the Le522,692 was for withholding tax and payments were being made to the NRA.
Further said that the Le3, 183,279,355 was for taxes withheld on terminal benefits and that amount was not remitted to the NRA as the NRA owed GST tax credits to Sierratel and the two institutions were in the process of negotiations.
Evidence in the form of receipts was submitted to support that payments are being made by the Sierratel to NRA for withholding tax, but no evidence was submitted indicating that the Company has honoured its tax liabilities in respect of sales tax and terminal benefit tax.
The issue, they say, remains unresolved.