Senior Staff at the Freetown City Council may answer questions relating to over Le200M that is missing.
The Audit Report of 2018 particularly mentioned the Chief Administrator and Finance Officer at Freetown City Council as the people responsible for the missing money
According to the report, section 100 (1) of the Public Financial Management Regulations, 2018 stipulates that “No payment from the Consolidated Fund or a donor or special fund shall be made without a payment voucher.”
That best accounting practice requires that every payment shall be supported by the original of a voucher, which shall contain full particulars of the service for which payment is being made and the head, sub-head and item or account to which is to be charged.
“We observed while reviewing payment records, that during 2018, payments made by three councils for various expenses without payment vouchers raised, totalled Le865,744,736.00,” the report maintained.
That in addition, supporting documents for these payments were also not presented for audit inspection.
As part of Le865,744,736.00, Kambia District expended over Le101,589,736.00, Bonthe District 500,000,000.00 while Freetown City Council expended 264,155,000.00 without supporting document.
According to the Auditor, this money that is in limbo is due to the laxity on the part of the Finance Officers and lack of supervision on the part of the Chief Administrators.
That the situation could undermine effective controls and lead to payment for goods and services not delivered and thereby, misappropriation of public funds.
As part of the recommendations the auditor advised that significant improvement should be made in controls over the cash management and payment function of the councils.
That the regularization of the above anomaly and the necessary documentation to be made available for audit scrutiny, failing which the amount of Le865,744,736.00 should be refunded into the councils account by the officers responsible for the payments.
“ We further advised the CAs and the finance officers to desist from the practice of taking cash from bank without properly prepared payment vouchers, together with the necessary attachments to serve as basis of authority and approval for the payment,” the auditor advised.
Details on this in subsequent editions