By- Aruna Rashed Toma Bangura
The Auditor General’s Report of the financial year 2021 (FY 2021) has revealed that the Ministry of Finance gave duty waivers to the total tune of Le4.9 billion to non-governmental organizations (NGOs) that are unregistered with the Ministry of Planning and Economic Development.
In addition, the report revealed that GST and ECOWAS levies totaling Le14.29billion and Le8.7billion were granted to taxpayers as duty waivers and concessions which is in contradiction of the provisions in the gazette ECOWAS protocols, Finance Act and GST Act 2009 regarding duty waivers.
The report confirmed that arrears totaling US$540,780 equivalent to Le5.8billion and Le2.3billion for the National Minerals Agency (NMA) and the Petroleum Regulatory Agency (PRA) were not included in the arrear figures in the general purpose financial statements (GPFS), adding that revenue arrears for the Sierra Leone Maritime Administration was understated by Le23.24billion while revenue arrears for the NaTCA (National Telecommunication Authority) were overstated by Le66billion in the GPFS.
The report disclosed that the audit team could not trace the transfer of Le233million regarding revenue collected paid by some commercial banks into the account of the Sierra Leone Roads Safety Authority (SLRSA) at the Bank of Sierra Leone. And Le1.4billion held at transits banks were not transferred into the Treasury single account (TSA) during the FY of 2021 period.
The report went further to disclose that there was no evidence to determine the accuracy and completeness of the amount totalling Le41.13billion as non-tax revenue in the GPFS in respect of Sierra Leone Civil Aviation Authority (SLCAA), adding that Le42.3billion in the VIPs or ITAs could not be traced in the ASYCUDA world.
No evidence of quarterly report for the transactions of Le37.68billion and Le20.39billion posted under the contingencies fund and unallocated head was not summited to the auditors for verification and, the amount exceeded their budgeted amount. Cheques were printed during 2021 for which payments were not done within the same year which could lead to risk of duplication of payment.