Freetown, SIERRA LEONE – The Audit Service Sierra Leone (ASSL) has called for the refund of funds allocated for road marking within the Freetown municipality, citing significant irregularities in the implementation of the project.
According to the audit report, the Sierra Leone Roads Safety Authority (SLRA) awarded contracts for road marking in Freetown for a total of SLE1,318,050. However, auditors discovered that more than a year after the contractor received a 30% advance payment of SLE395,415, the project remains incomplete, with no apparent action taken by the Authority.
Upon inspecting selected roads in Freetown, the audit team found that work had ceased after the contractor completed only 30% of the project. SLRA staff confirmed that the work stoppage was due to the contractor’s use of substandard materials not in line with the contract specifications.
The ASSL emphasized that the contract mandated the use of reflectorised paint, which was not adhered to. The report criticized the inadequate monitoring, stating, “This issue of poor-quality materials should have been addressed at the start of the contract implementation.”
Moreover, the audit revealed that while the contract commenced in March 2022, there is no documentation indicating the contract’s end date.
In response, the Road Maintenance Fund Administration (RMFA) acknowledged the ASSL’s concerns. In an official statement, RMFA committed to pressuring SLRA to address the identified issues. They also assured that no further payments would be made until all concerns were rectified.
The ASSL, during audit verification, urged management to withhold any additional payments to the contractor. Furthermore, they recommended terminating the contract immediately upon expiration and insisted that the contractor refund the advance payment with interest to the Consolidated Fund.
As of now, the matter remains unresolved, casting a spotlight on the need for increased accountability and transparency in public projects. ZIJ/5/2/2024