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Parliament Orders Defense Ministry

Parliament Orders Defense Ministry

As part of its Oversight function to monitor, supervise and investigate all Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs), the Parliamentary Oversight Committee (POC) on Public Account Committee (PAC), Chairman Honourable Solomon Thomas Segepoh (in photo) who doubles as Deputy Speaker of Parliament, has ordered the Military through the Ministry of Defense to be transparent and accountable relevant to present documents or monies paid, claimed by the Auditor General’s Report 2016 to 2017 respectively.

The no nonsense Chairman made that statement in order to compliment the efforts made by Auditor General’s Report for good governance and democracy at Committee Room (1) Parliament Building at OAU Driver Tower Hill, in Freetown on Wednesday 8th August 2018.

He went further by saying that the order is to ensure that they do the right thing at the right time including records of lands and buildings for the Military across the country as well as records of assets for the attention of the Committee, government and the Assets commission.

He also warned the Ministry of Defense based on the ongoing investigations, to desist from collecting physical money as according to him his Committee will no longer tolerate business as usual but intends to lay the records straight, particularly when the government is faced with huge economic challenge for the development of the country. He added that, his Committee will no longer going to tolerate business as usual and warned the military through the Ministry of Defense not to receive and desist from collecting physical money as according to him, his Committee gear towards laying the bed records for the socio-economic growth of the country.

Following assistant orders by the Chairman alongside the principal prosecutor of Audit Service Sierra Leone (ASSL), in the Auditor General’s Report of Tamba Momoh. And he said, the Auditor General’s “requested comments an offences”, despite persistent requests made by the Auditing team for classified information and records. The Ministry could not still make available for audit inspection as recommended by the Director General that should ensure that those procurement documents submitted within 15 days upon receipt of the report or otherwise the issues will be forwarded to the relevant authority as Parliament now taking serious action against those allegedly found contravening with the law.

According to those reports, several irregularities as well as malpractices were discovered. As a result, Chairman Honourable Solomon Thomas Segepoh ordered the enforcement of the Military through Chief of Defense Staff (CDS) Brigadier General Brima Sesay and further disseminated the information to those personnel whose names were mentioned to present evidence with relevant document or otherwise refunded those monies that the reports stated as recommended including loan totaling the sum of US$ 4, 285 was given to various personnel with no repayment dates. According to the Report, the treasurer contacted the debtors in order to set repayment dates for the loans but no evidence of such action was taken to be submitted to the Audit for inspection as the issue remains unresolved. Review of procurement document as newspaper advertisements biding which the Ministry generated Le 52M, from the sale of biding which no invoice was made and justification of utilization of proceeds of Le42,520,000.00 were submitted for audit inspection as the issue remains unresolved. Funds amounted to Le: 762, 750,000.00 on 26th July 2016, were deposited to the Republic of Sierra Leone Armed Forces Benefit Funds account by the Office of National Security for Implementation of center- terrorism operations. It was also observed that cash withdrawals of Le132,250,000.00 was generated by the office in charge of Force Intelligent and Security Unit on 2nd August 2016, for Implementation of the center-terrorism operation, supporting documents were also not  submitted for payments up to the tune of Le 112,550,000.00, leaving an outstanding of Le 19,700,000.00 for which many other things the Report looms including comments, suggestions as well as recommendations were also made by various speakers in other to create more significant impacts in terms of loopholes.

By: Mohamed Y. Turay

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