Freetown, SIERRA LEONE – The Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security expended SLE 445,050 on rehabilitation of staff quarters, at Teko Training Center in Bombali District and the Ministry’s guest house and staff accommodation in Kenema, respectively.
According to the Audit Service Sierra Leone (ASSL) in Bombali, SLE148,550 and SLE148,600 on PV00148 and PV00150, dated 27th December 2022 were expended, however, efforts by the team of auditors to physically inspect the sites claimed to have been rehabilitated however proved futile.
An interview with the District Agricultural Officer (DAO) revealed that he had no idea of such work done.
Also, on PV00142 dated 20th October, 2022, the ministry paid SLE147,900 in respect of payment for the rehabilitation works in Kenema, which was not physically inspected as the DAO in Kenema told Auditors that he was not aware of any rehabilitation work done.
“As a result, we did not ascertain whether government resources were being prudently managed. We recommended that the Chief Accountant should submit evidence of rehabilitation work carried out. Otherwise, the amounts expended should be paid into the Consolidated Fund, and evidence of payments submitted to the ASSL” the Auditor General said.
The Ministry’s official response was that, “For Bombali, there was an error in the description on the voucher. Instead of administrative building, it was erroneously written quarter. This activity was actually planned and executed before the period under review. We have however contacted the DAO and he has proved beyond all reasonable doubt that the site is available for inspection. The wrong wording was used, instead of quarter, as it was an administrative building that was rehabilitated.”
During audit verification, the team was unable to physically verify the rehabilitation works done in Kenema and Bombali Districts. “The responsible personnel in the Ministry were not available to identify the facilities that were claimed to have been rehabilitated. The issues remain unresolved” the Auditor General concluded. ZIJ/1/2/2024