Millions Spent at Ministry of Finance and Development Planning Without Supporting Documents – General Audit Commission Audit Report – FrontPageAfrica

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MONROVIA – The Audit of the General Commission of Audit of the Special Accounts of the Ministry of Finance and Development Planning at the Central Bank of Liberia (CBL) for the financial years 2012/2013 to 2017/2018, released to the Legislative Assembly National Bank on December 31, 2020, shows that millions of United States and Liberian dollars have been deposited in the special accounts established by the government to serve as macro-economic intervention tools for the settlement of outstanding government liabilities, and the fiscal stabilization of the Liberian economy was withdrawn at different time intervals without supporting documents.

The primary objective of the audit was to gather sufficient 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 Government of Liberia Special Accounts 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 error.

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 According to the audit report, copies of returned checks totaling USD 2,512,847.14 were withdrawn from the US Dollar Fiscal Stabilization Bank Account in fiscal year 2014/2015. The report says requests to the Central Bank of Liberia for bank statements were unsuccessful. The Central Bank could not provide bank statements until January 2016, the audit report said. Furthermore, the report states that the management of the Ministry of Finance and Development Planning, after repeated request, could not provide the documents such as payment vouchers and invoices to support the payments.

In addition, samples of transactions extracted from the fiscal stabilization bank account for FY 2016/2017 show that MFDP management authorized payments of large sums totaling USD 379,175.00 and L 25,966,169.83 respectively. $ to multiple businesses, individuals, counties, and organizations without proof of supporting documents to validate transactions.

The audit further revealed that during the 2015/2016 and 2016/2017 fiscal years, the Ministry of Finance and Development Planning Management maintained a bond escrow account at the Central Bank of Liberia for the payment of commitments by the Government of Liberia. The report states that sample transactions extracted from the Obligation Escrow bank account show that the Ministry of Finance and Development Planning Management made significant payments from the account to several business entities, including RED TRUCK PROFESSIONAL, PARKER and SWIFT MOVERS, INC $957,262.82; PRIMAG Inc., $244,800.00 and $41,799.00 to other business entities respectively without providing supporting documentation to validate the 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. samples of transactions extracted from Macroeconomic Policy Analysis bank statements show that payments totaling L$1,439,124.85 were made to several individuals and entities without evidence of supporting documents to validate the transactions .

In addition, the audit observed that during the periods audited, the management of the Ministry of Finance and Development Planning established the Government of Liberia Capacity Development Effects Enhancement Account at the Central Bank of Liberia. Liberia. The GAC further observed, from a sample of transactions on Enhance GoL Capacity Development Effect bank statements, that payments totaling $116,125.00 were made to several individuals and companies from the account without supporting documents to authenticate payments.

The Ministry of Finance and Development Planning Management states in response to the GAC’s findings that it has “exhausted all available resources and efforts to locate the documents requested, but has remained empty. It is also notable to mention that due to the reform, relocation and renovation carried out in the Ministry, there have been several movements of documents and offices. This is unfortunate and management will continue the process of relocating and reorganizing documents to meet the challenge”.

The GAC says that given the irregularity of these payments, it is referring the unsupported transactions to the Liberia Anti-Corruption Commission for further investigation and is asking the National Legislative Assembly to consider the matter urgently.

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