2019 Government Expenditure Le 3.7 Trillion Unaccounted For
Opposition APC Member of Parliament from Falaba District, Hon. Lahai Marah, who is an Accountant by profession, has said that he stands by every single sentence he spoke in the Well of Parliament last week when he systematically exposed what he terms as the reckless manner in which funds not allocated to entities within the Executive arm of Government, got to be used without parliamentary approval in the year 2019.
Marah had made the assertions first whilst speaking in the Well of Parliament on Wednesday November 25th 2020 to contribute to the debate on the Budget presented by Ministry of Finance for next year 2021.
Quoting from Sections of the Sierra Leone Constitution which stipulates that only parliament can first approve finances to be expended by any agency of the government, Hon. Marah exposed how the governing SLPP regime has been recklessly utilising funds for which they never got approval.
He used the 2019 Budget approved by Parliament as his baseline to make his revelations of recklessness of the SLPP.
Hon. Lahai Marah systematically listed the following down:
1. For the year 2019, Parliament approved Le31.8 billion for the Office of the president but according to available documents that Office overspent money by using Le78.5 billions in 2019 meaning the Office of the President recklessly spent more than double the expenditure they were approved to use.
2. For the year 2019, parliament approved Le58 billion for the ministry of Finance, but that ministry spent Le64.1 billions.
3. For the year 2019, parliament approved Le17.3 billions for use by the Financial Secretary but Le39 billions was so used.
4. For the year 2019, parliament approved Le15.2 billions for Local Government Ministry but that ministry spent above that amount.
5. For the year 2019, parliament approved Le2.1 billions for Ministry of Political Affairs but that ministry ended up spending Le5.4 billions.
Hon. Lahai Marah calculated and showed that whilst a total of far less than Seven Trillion Leones was approved for that year, the Executive Arm went on to spend almost Eight Trillion Leones in manners that the MP says needs explanations.
Hon. Lahai also highlighted a budget line described as “miscellaneous” which spent 6 Billion Leones even though the approved 2019 Budget had no such “Miscellaneous” approved. He pondered over what was this very expensive “Miscellaneous”.
Hon. Marah is particularly peeved that the SLPP Government had recklessly overspent their allocated budget for 2019 without accounting for the huge difference but yet the SLPP government likes to describe itself as “fighting corruption”.
At this point of the submissions of Hon. Lahai Marah, it became very chaotic in the Well with the SLPP parliamentarians banging on their tables to interrupt the voice of Hon. Lahai Marah. The staff of Parliament also did the unbelievable step of switching off the microphone of Hon. Lahai Marah whilst the Speaker of Parliament refused for Marah to continue making any more points under the guise that his time to speak was now expired.
Of worthy note is that last year 2019, even the administrative staff of Parliament headed by the Clerk of Parliament, had also been openly accused by a vibrant young MP that parliament’s administration was overspending well beyond what was approved by Parliament to be spent on Parliament.
The Leader of Government Business Hon. Matthew Nyuma was visibly angry with Hon. Lahai Marah and said such discussions should be taken up “at committee level” and not in the Open Well of Parliament.
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