By Amin Kef (Ranger)
A spokesperson for the Ministry of Finance has made it abundantly clear that on the 29th May, 2023 the Financial Secretary within the Ministry, Matthew Dingie, intimated the Managing Director of Netpage Sierra Leone Limited, the company responsible for producing e-passports, that they are “not obligated to make any royalty payments to the Government based on the agreed sale price of e-passports.” He further pointed out how auditors have also stated that the issue has been clarified based on the letter from the Financial Secretary dated 29th May, 2023.
That statement follows a recent revelation by the Audit Service Sierra Leone which was posted on their website last week indicating that Netpage Sierra Leone Limited owes an outstanding amount of US$429,627 in unpaid royalties to the Government of Sierra Leone.
Responding promptly to the allegations, Netpage Sierra Leone Limited penned a letter to the Acting Auditor General of Audit Service Sierra Leone, seeking clarification on the matter of the purported ‘unpaid royalties’ to the Government.
While confirming the legitimacy of the letter dated 29th May, 2023, the spokesperson for the Ministry of Finance declined to provide further details.
However, Auditors involved in the case contend that the issue has been effectively addressed and clarified, relying on the contents of the letter from the Financial Secretary.
Nonetheless, this apparent contradiction between the Financial Secretary’s statement and the earlier reports of unpaid royalties has left stakeholders awaiting additional developments in this ongoing financial dispute.
With the revelation made by the spokesperson it is expected that such will lay to rest certain media castigations against Netpage bordering on not only exposing financial impropriety but the ferocious call on the entity to honour its obligation.