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Sierra Leone Business: Auditor General Queries $5m loan to Beton Villa for Waterloo Roads

An amount equivalent to US$5million in the books of Road Maintenance Fund Administration (RMFA) was reported as loan to Beton -Villa towards Waterloo township roads projects an audit into the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development (MoFED) in 2017 reveals. But according to the Auditor General the said payment was initially part of an advance payment made by RMFA to Benton Villa but later agreed to be treated as loan from RMFA to Benton Villa. In a letter dated 30th June, 2017, MoFED had requested a transfer of the project from RMFA.  However, the Authority responded accordingly and according to the minutes of a meeting held on 12th October, 2017, it was agreed that MoFED should be committed to recover the advance payment of Le 56.6 billion from IPCs in favour of Beton – Villa (SL) for work done as well as taking over the actual liabilities in respect of the project.  The treatment of the recovery of the advance payment was said to have been determined by MoFED and RMFA, but to date, an amount of US$5Million is still being reported as loan in the financial statement of RMFA. The Financial Secretary’s response to the query stated that, there were discussions on the issue to ascertain who was to pay the arrears. He however mentioned that there was no written obligation that the Ministry of Finance should pay the US$5million debt. The Auditor General’s final comment on the said issue was that Government, through the Ministry of Finance and RMFA has not been able to determine whether the advance US$ 5million payment made to Benton Villa has been recovered from subsequent payments made to the contractor, so the issue therefore remains unresolved.

By Zainab Iyamide Joaque

Monday February 4, 2019.

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