The Commissioner General of the National Revenue Authority Allieu Sesay was yesterday queried by the Parliamentary Oversight Committee on Public Accounts on the Auditor General’s Report on the accounts of NRA for 2004.
The Auditor General’s Report on the accounts of Sierra Leone for the year 2006, found out on NRA that in 2004, out of the total of 68 entry forms requested, only 33 were provided. It was also observed that on two occasions, pre-shipment inspections were not undertaken on the goods imported even though they were above the $2,000 threshold for such inspection.
Furthermore, the Report observed that fines were not levied on the defaulting importers as there was no invoice attached to an entry form that would have enabled the audit team arrives at the actual value of goods imported. It was noted with grave concern that neither a full scale financial audit nor a systems audit of NRA was undertaken by the Internal Audit Department.
The Commissioner General said that there were processes at NRA that had to be checked manually but with the new ASYCUDA system, a good number of the work will have to be done electronically like clearing of goods at the quay.
Asked how economical and effective the systems were, he answered that in terms of efficiency, the electronic system is favorable and benefit is still derived from the manual system.
The Auditor General’s Report further indicates that there were outstanding matters not resolved by NRA. It states that the whole process of tax/revenue assessment, collection and recording has not been addressed and the problem of provisional assessments based on turnover had not also been resolved.
The Report indicates further that amounts were still being held over for taxpayers for more than one assessment period and, in certain cases, for periods exceeding one year. Penalties were still not being levied /enforced against employers who submitted their PAYE returns late, the Report stated.
The Report further states that duty free exemptions and waivers continues to be substantial and the Internal Audit Department in 2004 continues to audit only the internal controls and the Lungi Airport station cash count was not being undertaken on a daily basis.
It was also reported that no evidence could be obtained on the conduct of physical verification of assets and the PAYE tax was still being calculated before deduction of NASSIT contributions.
By Ishmael Bayoh