MONROVIA – The audit of the General Audit Committee of the Special Accounts of the Ministry of Finance and Development Planning at the Central Bank of Liberia (CBL) for the fiscal years 2012/2013 to 2017/2018 made public to the Legislative Assembly on December 31, 2020 shows that millions of US and Liberian dollars have been deposited into special accounts established by the government to serve as tools of macroeconomic intervention for the settlement of outstanding government liabilities, and fiscal stabilization of the Liberian economy was withdrawn at different time intervals without supporting documents.
The main objective of the audit was to gather sufficient and appropriate audit evidence to conclude whether the activities and financial information provided by the management of the Ministry of Finance and Development Planning on the special accounts of the Government of Liberia held at CBL for the period July 1, 2012 to June 30, 2018 comply in all material respects with applicable policies, procedures, laws and regulations and are free from material errors.
The GAC observed that on November 8, 2012, the Ministry of Finance and Development Planning opened the fiscal stabilization account at the Central Bank of Liberia as a macroeconomic account. According to the audit report, copies of returned checks totaling US $ 2,512,847.14 were withdrawn from the US dollar budget stabilization bank account during fiscal year 2014/2015. The report states that requests to the Central Bank of Liberia for bank statements were unsuccessful. The Central Bank could not provide bank statements before January 2016, says the audit report. In addition, the report states that the management of the Ministry of Finance and Development Planning, after repeated requests, was unable to provide documents such as payment vouchers and invoices to justify the payments.
In addition, sample transactions taken from the fiscal stabilization bank account for fiscal year 2016/2017 show that PDFF management authorized payments of large sums totaling $ 379,175.00 and L $ 25,966,169.83 respectively to several companies, individuals, counties and organizations without proof of supporting documents to validate the operations.
The audit further found that during fiscal years 2015/2016 and 2016/2017, the Ministry of Finance and Development Planning Directorate maintained a bond escrow account at the Central Bank of Liberia for the payment of the commitments of the government of Liberia. The report says that sample transactions taken from the escrow bond bank account show that the Ministry of Finance and Development Planning Management made large payments from the account to several business entities, including RED TRUCK. PROFESSIONAL, PARKER and SWIFT MOVERS, INC $ 957,262.82; PRIMAG Inc., US $ 244,800.00 and US $ 41,799 to other business entities respectively without providing supporting documentation to validate payments.
The report notes that during the fiscal years July 1, 2015 to June 30, 2018, the Ministry of Finance and Development Planning Management opened the Liberia Macroeconomic Policy Analysis Account. sample transactions taken from macroeconomic policy analysis bank statements show that payments totaling L $ 1,439,124.85 were made to multiple individuals and entities without proof of supporting documents to validate transactions .
In addition, the audit found that during the periods covered by the audit, the management of the Ministry of Finance and Development Planning established the Liberian government capacity building effect account with the Bank. Central Liberia. The GAC further observed from a sample of Enhance GoL Capacity Development Effect bank statement transactions that payments totaling $ 116,125.00 were made to multiple individuals and businesses from the account without supporting documents to authenticate payments.
The Ministry of Finance and Development Planning Management said in response to the GAC’s findings that it had âexhausted all resources and efforts available to locate requested documents, but remained empty. It is also noteworthy to mention that due to the reform, relocation and renovation carried out in the ministry, there have been several movements of documents and offices. It is unfortunate and management will continue the process of relocating and reorganizing the documents obtained as a means of meeting the challenge â.
The GAC says that given the irregularity of these payments, it refers unsupported transactions to the Liberia Anti-Corruption Commission for further investigation and calls on the national legislature to consider the matter urgently.