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Becoming Government’s Mouthpiece Audit Service Exposes ACC

Becoming Government’s Mouthpiece Audit Service Exposes ACC

The Sierra Leone Audit Service headed by the no-nonsense Auditor General, Mrs. Lara Taylor-Pearce (in photo), has brought the credibility of the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) and its Commissioner, Francis Ben Kelfala, into further public scrutiny after it has emerged that the ACC had tried to mislead the people of Sierra Leone on its current so-called investigation into findings of the 2019 and the Covid-19 audits reports that have been tabled before Parliament.   

In a press conference held yesterday, 7th January, 2021 by Audit Service Sierra Leone, the Auditor General and her deputy, Tamba Momoh, clearly explained the issues surrounding the 47 Laptops that were said to be missing, the 50 Kva Generator donated by the Chinese Embassy in Sierra Leone; which the ACC is currently investigating, the Timber saga and many other issues that have been tropical to the public since the release of the audit reports on Covid-19 funds and the Financial year of 2019.

It could be recalled that following the release of the two audit reports by ASSL, the ACC quickly launched investigation into the findings of the said reports  and two of such issues were findings  relating to the 47 Fifteen inches Touch-Screen  Laptops and the 50KVA Generator that the auditors reported to have been missing.   

According to the Audit Service during its press conference, the 47 laptops which the ACC claimed to have received from NACOVERC are not the ones that were procured and delivered to NACOVERC.

Making his presentation during the press conference, the deputy Auditor General stated that according to documents presented to the auditors including delivery notes and receipts of payment by the supplier, handing over notes by IHPAU, Goods Received Notes by NACOVERC, the said laptops should be 47 fifteen inches touch-screen but none of these was made available to the auditors during the audit which make them missing as stated in the audit report.

On the issue of the 50 KVA Generator donated by the Chinese Embassy  in Sierra Leone, the deputy Auditor General said that all records by both the Ministry of Health and Sanitation and the Chinese Embassy including Handing Over Note by the Embassy  and Goods Received Note by the Ministry clearly show that a 50 KVA Generator was indeed donated.

When the auditors requested to see the said generator, the deputy AG stated, the ministry officials directed them to Zimmi Government Hospital where the generator was believed to have been relocated.

 Upon arriving at the Zimmi Government Hospital, he stated, the auditors only saw a 65 KVA Generator which is not the generator in question implying that the 50 KVA Generator donated by the Chinese Embassy in Sierra Leone is still missing as stated in the report.

 However, the ACC on its part had made Sierra Leoneans to believe that the said generator and the 47 laptops that were reported missing by the Audit Service were never missing in the first place thereby raising questions on the credibility of the audit reports.

In its press release issued on the 23rd of December,2020 on the issue of the generator for example, the ACC stated the generator was never missing adding that the discrepancy in the capacity  of the generator  is administrative and not due to being missing. The ACC release furthered that the capacity stated in the Handing over Certificate which is 50 KVA may have been mistakenly misstated.

On the issue of the 47 laptops, the ACC also stated in another press release dated 23rd December, 2020 thus ‘’ The Anti- Corruption Commission (ACC) wishes to inform the general public that it has received forty –seven (47) Laptops from the National COVID-19 Emergency Response Centre (NACOVERC), as the Commission continues with investigation into issues in the Auditor General’s Report 2019 and the COVID-19 Report 2020.

Preliminary verification has been done as to whether the laptops meet the specifications approved by the procurement process that led to their supply. We have confirmed that all 47 of them were not according to the specifications contracted. However, the procurement was not done by NACOVERC. The responsibility now rests with the Integrated Health Project Administration Unit (IHPAU), who were the procuring entity, to provide the necessary explanations as to why this procurement anomaly exists.’’ 

Judging however from the explanation of the Audit Service and the ACC Press Releases on the said issues, it became clear to many Sierra Leoneans that the ACC had applied damage-control mechanism on behalf the authorities concerned and the government as a whole.

Many now believe that the ACC had tried to discredit the Audit Service when it stated that the said items were not missing.

From the explanations and documents presented by the ASSL yesterday, it is now clear that NACOVERC and Ministry of Health and Sanitation, did receive 47 fifteen inches touch-screen laptops and 50 KVA Generator respectively as stated in their respective Goods Received Notes but woefully failed to present the said items to auditors for auditing which therefore make them liable as opposed to what the ACC is trying to make everyone to believe.     

Read more on the ACC exposure in subsequent editions…

By Ibrahim Alusine Kamara

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