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Sierra Leone News: Key agencies miss deadline for audits

 

Auditor General Lara Taylor -Pearce

Auditor General Lara Taylor -Pearce

Several key agencies have failed to meet a deadline for providing financial statements to the Audit Service Sierra Leone (ASSL) for the year 2016.
According to the public notice, issued yesterday by the ASSL, 28 institutions did not submit financial statements to the Auditor General for auditing. The deadline for the submission of statements passed on 31 March 2017, the Deputy Auditor General, Selvin Bell, said in an interview.
“They must submit their accounts for the previous year against the specified date,” said Bell. On whether there is any consequence if the agencies’ fail to submit those statements, he added, “with the current laws, there is no penalty against any defaulter, we only include their names in a particular section in the report that we present to Parliament, including late submissions.”
Bell said they have been including their names in their report to Parliament, but they are not bothered, so we have decided to name and shame.
The institutions listed are some of the most critical agencies in the government. They are not just important, but they also play a big part in the government’s overall financial condition.
Officials with most of the agencies at issue in the notice were unavailable for comment or could not be reached at press time.
However, Abdul Kuyateh, Director of Corporate Affairs at NATCOM, said his office submitted their report late, “We have submitted our reports, but they (ASSL) were hasty in publishing this list.” He said, “the bureaucracy within government institutions is what he blamed for the lateness of NATCOMs submission.”
Bell, from ASSL, said they have not received the 2016 report from NATCOM, “the only report we have for NATCOM is the 2014/2015, which was submitted to us about a month ago. We have a process, when they send the account we fix the fees and we go to audit them. It was just two weeks ago that they came here to fix the audit fees so that we can start the process of auditing their 2014/2015 financial statements,” said Bell.
The Public Relations Officer of Sierra Leone Road Safety Authority (SLRSA), Abdul Karim Dumbuya, accepted that they failed to submit the statements and blamed it on an internal transition. “We had a change at the helm of our financial department, but the new head is finalising the accounts for submission. We are actively working on it. I also saw the notice, it wasn’t deliberate on our part not to submit,” he said.
Section 119(2) of the 1991 of the Constitution mandates the Auditor General to audit the Public Accounts of Sierra Leone and all public offices including the courts, the accounts of the central and local government administrations, of the universities and public institutions, any statutory corporation, company or other body or organisation established by an Act of Parliament or statutory instrument or otherwise set up partly or wholly out of Public Funds.
Sections 86(1) and 118(1)(b) of the Public Financial Management Act 2016 state that the Annual Financial Statements of Public Enterprise, Commissions and Agencies, shall be audited by the Auditor-General or other auditor appointed by him.
ZJ/7/8/17
By Zainab Joaque
Tuesday August 08, 2017.

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