US$1.35B Missing *3 Months Ultimatum For 4 Sectors


Startling evidence of massive grand corruption has been unearthed by the Bio administration’s appointed team of fifty forensic auditors drawn from Tanzania, Kenya, Ghana and Sierra Leone to audit the books of four key public sectors between 2015 and 2018; they are  Telecoms, Energy, Roads Infrastructure and Social Security.

Speaking at a press conference organized at the Conference Hall of the Ministry of Finance yesterday, the Finance Minister, Jacob Jusu Saffa said that when he took over as Minister, he discovered that there were lots of leakages and therefore requested for a special technical forensic audit to, among other things, look at performance of contract, quality of work done and how monies were expended by the past government.

According to the Minister, findings in the said four public sectors were fraught with misappropriation, theft, phony contracts and bad investments.

Making a PowerPoint presentation, the Financial Secretary, Sahr Lamin Jusu disclosed, among other things that in the Telecoms sector alone, the team of forensic auditors reportedly found evidence of unfair competition and unequal treatment of some mobile operators that saw 4G cellular network license granted to some and not to others. Report continued that three of those that received such preferential treatment from the National Telecommunications Commission (NATCOM) owe the state US$10 million.

NATCOM, the audit reportedly discovered, arbitrarily imposed fees, charges and penalties without documentary evidences. The Commission also reportedly entered into a contract with a company that did not tender a bid for services.

NATCOM, according to report, also lacked proper audit trail and doled out nearly US$1million as alleged donations to youth groups, Members of Parliament and officials of the Information and Political Affairs Ministries.

The state owned SIERRATEL, the auditors reportedly found out, could not account for Le74 million missing recharged voucher serial numbers and 109,000 customers used recharged vouchers not generated by system, amounting to US$245,000.

Two of its staff also reportedly had POS terminals operating in their own names with a total unaccounted for revenue of Le33.5 billion from January to November 2018 alone.

Between January and May, the report went on, more than Le19 billion collected as revenue could not be unaccounted for, whilst Le2.5 billion was listed for vehicles that did not exist as fixed asset.

At SALCAB, the audit reportedly discovered that the parastatals paid more than US$526,000.00 and more than Le2billion to a company to perform more or less the functions of the Board. Irregular contracts worth Le2 billion were also reportedly awarded.

Huge funds were also reported to have been transferred without supporting documents or provision of services amounting to US$2.4million and Le1.6 billion.

The audit report also reportedly revealed that no supporting documents were presented for Board expenses for 2015 Financial Year amounting to Le386million, adding that Le3.2 billion was donated to former Ministers and MPs without any policy for approving and processing such.

At the National Social Security and Insurance Trust (NASSIT), the audit also reportedly discovered that NAPOS II software purchased for over US$2 million has not served its intended purpose. 64 pensioners without Social Security Numbers, according to the audit report, were paid over Le409 million, whilst 209 claims amounting to Le5.4 billion was paid without meeting the set criteria; as such, they can be classified as illegitimate payment to undeserving people.

Billions were paid to underage pensioners, the audit report states, adding that there was total disregard for procurement procedures in the award of US$35 million for the construction of a multipurpose market and transport terminal at the Sewa Grounds in Freetown through sole sourcing.

The audit, according to report, also found significant variation in the original contract for rehabilitation of the Bintumani Conference Center from US$8.2 million to US$16.2 million.