ACC Updates its Interventions on 2015-2018 Auditor-General’s Reports

By Foday Moriba Conteh

In its 6th Media Release dated, 28th December 2020, the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC), updated the general public of the actions and steps it has taken so far to address critical issues raised in Audit Reports of Sierra Leone, 2015-2018.

The ACC stated that these interventions focus on aspects of possible or alleged corruption and conduct inconsistent with the provision(s) in the Anti-Corruption Act of 2008.

It continued that after thorough reviews, and analysis of the aforementioned reports, a total of twenty-one (21) issues attracted its attention for the purposes of investigating, prosecuting, or recovering public funds, public revenue, public property, as the case maybe; in accordance with Sections 7 and 48 of the Anti-Corruption Act of 2008 as amended in 2019, respectively.

The anti-graft institution furthered that they have charged two (2) matters to court and additionally, there are thirteen (13) ongoing active investigations. Two (2) matters have been accordingly closed for lack of evidence.

In terms of recoveries returned to the State, the Commission has recuperated a total sum of Two Billion, Seven Hundred And Forty-Two Million, One Hundred And Eighty-Five Thousand, Three Hundred and Four Leones, and Sixty-One Cents (Le2, 742, 185, 304. 61) from cases and issues arising from audits.

Apart from investigating, prosecuting, and recovering Government resources, the ACC stated that it also make systemic interventions in line with Section 7 (2) of the Anti-Corruption Act 2008 as Amended in 2019, which mandates the Prevention Department to examine the practices and procedures of public bodies, advise on changes in practices or procedures with a view to limiting the opportunities of corruption through the identification of structural vulnerabilities and develop best practices accordingly.

The ACC stated that in its release that the focus is to bring the public to speed, on their systems interventions, through comprehensive systems and processes review, of the public institutions named in the Audit Report, 2018.

It stated that the department also develops and implements public policies and ethical procedures for Government Ministries, Departments and Agencies, and improves input into the formulation and implementation of anti-corruption policies in both private and public sectors for the removal of barriers in private sector growth.

The ACC further pointed out that for the purposes of thorough systems review; the institutions are divided into three broad categories: MDAs, Public Enterprises (PEs), and Local Councils (LCs).

It continued that after thorough review of the systemic and ethical issues inherent in MDAs, PEs, and LCs, as contained in the said audit report, the Prevention Department has identified forty-four (44) issues for systemic reviews, especially Government loss of revenue allocated as follows: MDAs lost Fifty Six Billion Leones (Le56bn); PEs lost Sixty Six Billion Leones (Le66bn), and LCs lost Eighteen Billion Leones (Le18bn), amounting to a total loss of One Hundred and Forty Billion Leones (Le140bn).

The ACC said based on their interventions, the Commission identified, and attributed Government loss of revenue, and other resources, based on Audit Report 2018, to the following governance issues: (a) Unsupported payments; (b) Revenue not banked; (c) Irregularities in payments of salaries to staff; (d) Statutory deductions not paid to the appropriate authorities; (e) Irregularities in payment of DSAs and other allowances; (f) Unexplained expenditure, payments without approval and expenditure returns not submitted; (g) Fuel not accounted for; (h) Revenues not paid into Consolidated Fund;  (i) Imprest not retired; (j) Stores and fixed assets irregularities; (k) Revenue arrears;  (i) Over expenditure budget lines; and (m) Payment of sitting fees and other allowances to absentee Councillors.

In the release, the Commission focused on the following two MDAs: the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation (MFAIC), and the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development (MLGRD) in respect of their systems and process review interventions, which clearly showed that procurement irregularities ran across nearly all the affected institutions.


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