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Sierra Leone Business: Bo District Council to produce receipt book or pay back Le71m

One receipt book with serial number 0000101-0000150 said to be valued at Le 71million (Le71,690,760.81) was not presented and verified by Auditors from the Audit Service Sierra Leone for 2016.
According to the former Finance Officer Kemoh Sattie, the said receipt book relates to hall rental and that at the time of the audit it was with hall manager and was at a distance from the Council for administrative reason. When queried further about the said book, he replied that it cannot be traced.
As a result of not making it available to the Auditors the Chairman of the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) in Parliament Hon. Segepoh Solomon Thomas has ordered the Bo District Council to either present the said receipt book by today Monday August 27th or they pay the value of it into the account.
They are also required to produce all relevant evidence leading to the waiving of revenue arrears amounting to Le960million (Le960,819,317.60). During the audit, it was revealed by personnel of the Council that a waiver was given for all property tax and business licenses in arrears, but there was however no evidence to confirm the waiver by the Council.
Hon. Thomas asked that demand notices for the said properties, and receipt books must be produced today, “you are also required to bring the entire system and the expert because we want something that could convince us why the close to one billion Leones was waived.”
The Council were faulted for not ensuring that the Auditors receive the bank confirmation for the DSDP Rural Water Services account at the GTBank. In their argument Sattie said that they wrote to the Bank but they cannot tell why the confirmation was not issued to the Auditors.
“We actually do not receive the Bank confirmations as the Auditors want to form their independent confirmation aside the bank and financial statements we present to them.”
They were asked to do another letter to the Bank informing them about not complying previously and to ensure that they send the relevant confirmation letter to the Auditors.
There was no minute of Council meeting approved nor the opening of the Bo District Council and Credit Agency Escrow Account in the Rokel Commercial Bank (A/C No. 03-1000559), information on signatory to this account and bank reconciliation statements were not made available for audit inspection. The Bank confirmed to the Auditors a balance of Le7,502,437.23 as at December 31, 2016.
A letter dated 18th April, 2016 written to the Ag. Director Local Government Finance Department requesting for approval for the opening of the Escrow Account was made available for verification but the approval letter from the Accountant General was not available.
Hon. Thomas then asked the former Chief Administrator if she was involved in the opening of that account, Vivian Senessie said yes and that the approval card was signed and sent directly to the Bank.
He then asked if they were queried on the AGs approval letter, she replied that she was no longer in post during the audit, “if it wasn’t approved the Bank would not have opened the said account” she said.
Hon Thomas then asked her to come to Freetown to appear before the Committee and that she must ensure that she has secured a copy of the approval from the AG’s office.
By Zainab Iyamide Joaque
Monday August 27, 2018.

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