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Sierra Leone News: Audit calls for database decentralisation for residential permits

Payments for the renewal and processing of biometric passports are centralised in Freetown, which has led the Auditor General to call for a database to be provided for the Immigration Department, in the Eastern region.
During an audit into the department for 2014-2015, a database was not produced for residential permits and it was recommended that the Assistant Regional Director must ensure that a database was provided for foreign nationals.
The Chief Immigration Officer (CIO) in his response said that there is a private company called Net Page in Freetown, which he says is responsible for all biometric passports in Sierra Leone.
“We are also holding meetings with headmen of the foreign national at regional level to get a database for foreign nationals in the Eastern Region.”
The audit recommendation was not implemented as the agreement for the company responsible for the biometric passport was not produced to auditors and there were no explanations given by the Assistant Regional Director for the centralisation of the biometric passport.
At its headquarters in Freetown, for 2016, it was discovered that 41 staff files were not provided to the auditors for audit review.
The CIO stated that it was very true that 40 personnel files were not submitted for audit inspection since documentation were not complete in those files. He further mentioned that he endeavoured to contact all personnel concerned to send in photocopies of their relevant documents to be inserted in their files which were available your inspection. During the verification exercise, the files were not submitted.
Proper records were said to have not been maintained on the production of passports as was evidenced in the request made for some records which were not submitted to the Auditors.
The documents were requests to Bank of Sierra Leone (BSL) for issuing of blank passport for 2016, monthly production list of passports for 2016 and reconciliation of the production list with the CIO’s list of applicants for 2016.
In addition, they were asked to provide lists of blank passports taken on charge at the CIO’s office for 2016, blank passports submitted to the production room for the printing of passport for the period under review and unused blank passport from the production room for 2016.
However, lists for blank passport and monthly production were submitted and verified. But they were not provided with the list of unused blank passport and the reconciliation of production list with the CIO’s list.
By Zainab Iyamide Joaque
Thursday July 12, 2018.

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