How London Mining and African Minerals exploited Sierra Leone
The report of Audit Service Sierra Leone (ASSL) for 2011-2012 has indicated that the Sierra Leone Maritime Administration (SLMA) lacks adequate control mechanisms over the assessment of freight levy income.
The report states that the SLMA used data (in tally slips, and/vessel/tonnage sheets) submitted by shipping agents for the preparation of its invoices, noting that there was no evidence of an independent verification carried out with regards to the data supplied by the shipping agents, while it was recommended that the SLMA Executive Director, Alhaji Wurie Jalloh, should develop and implement control mechanisms whereby data submitted by shipping agents would be independently verified.
According to the report, the issue still remains outstanding whereas several other issues were also being raised including unpaid levy by the defunct London Mining Company Limited (LMC) and African Minerals Limited (AML).
The report added that both LMC and AML had not been paying freight levy charges and that no evidence was submitted by the agency that exempts those defunct companies from paying those charges.
It was also recommended that the SLMA Executive Director should provide detailed explanation with supporting documents for the exemption of the two companies from paying freight levy charges. Other evidence including representation from meetings and issues of non-payment of levy was submitted during the verification, while evidence was not submitted exempting those companies from paying freight levy income.
The report further stated that no receipts were submitted for audit inspection to substantiate freight levy income received by the SLMA for the amounts of Le8,182,382,584 and Le 9,811,826,159 for 2011 and 2012 respectively.
It was also recommended that the Head of Accounts should ensure that receipts are being provided for audit inspection as well as ensuring that future adequate supporting evidence is maintained for all incomes received by the SLMA.
The report also noted that source documents for International ships registration were also not been provided such as invoices, receipts and several others including supporting documents which were not provided for income disclosed in the financial statement from international ships registration which amounted to Le324,388,700 and Le61,064,468 for 2011 and 2012.
The report further recommended that the SLMA Executive Director should provide all relevant supporting documents for audit inspection to ensure that future supporting documents were maintained in respect of all incomes disclosed in the financial statements.
Other irregularities were also found as proper procurement procedures were not followed for the procurement of non-current assets which amounted to Le196,637,975 and Le382,226,850 for 2011 and 2012.
Explanation was also required from the SLMA Executive Director as to why procurement procedures were not undertaken in accordance with the Public Procurement Act 2004 which should ensure that the SLMA complies with all relevant procurement laws as well as regulations.
In his response, the SLMA Executive Director, Alhaji Wurie Jalloh, recalled that in 2014, they created a revenue unit for monitoring and verification on a monthly basis.
He claimed that they have also been reporting tonnages with data obtained from the Sierra Leone Ports Authority (SLPA), adding that the SLMA regularly attended berthing and reported to the office.
Alhaji Wurie Jalloh also noted that during the berthing meetings the ETA of vessels was announced and the expected tonnages of the vessels, adding that after the discharge, tonnages were reconciled with the shipping agents.
The Executive Director said for all cheques paid to the SLMA, receipts were provided, adding that when direct payments were made into the banks, they did not issue any receipts as they were evidenced in the bank statement.
He conceded that they have now corrected their mistakes as receipts have been issued for all payment transactions to the banks by shipping agencies.
By Mohamed Y. Turay
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