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Between NRA and fisheries ministry; Le1.3 Billion Missing

27,Jun 2018
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According to Audit Service Sierra Leone (ASSL), revenue for government was not deposited into the Consolidated Revenue Fund Account by the Ministry of Fisheries and Marine Resources.

This is according to the recently released Audit Report which also highlighted that from review of revenue records presented to the auditors, it was discovered that the Ministry of Fisheries and Marine Resources (MFMR) assessed and recorded revenue in respect of licenses and other fees totaling Le56,774,996,318 (fifty six billion, seven hundred and seventy four million, nine hundred and ninety six thousand, three hundred and eighteen leones). 

It added that bank statements from the Bank of Sierra Leone indicated that the sum of Le55,481,270,896 was deposited by the National Revenue Authority (NRA). There was however a difference of Le1,293,725,421 not deposited by NRA. Furthermore, the bank statements of the transit account (s) from NRA were not submitted for audit, thereby restricting us (ASSL officials) from ascertaining the actual amount deposited into the account (s), as well as the amount transferred to the CRFA.

It went on to state that appropriate reconciliation/reasonable explanation justifying this difference was not provided for audit.

According to the report, “In some instances, we realized that amounts deposited as per bank statements were higher than those recorded in the revenue cashbook. The reverse was observed in other instances, thereby making it difficult to reconcile individual transactions from the cashbooks, to the bank statements.”

It was therefore recommended that the NRA officer in consultation with the accountant at the Ministry should investigate this difference and evidence provided to the ASSL within 15 days upon receipt of the report, otherwise the NRA officer will be asked to refund the amount.

Officially responding, the Permanent Secretary (PS) stated that the Auditor General’s recommendations were noted and steps will be taken to address them. He however mentioned that the NRA has the responsibility to deposit funds into the CRFA. He further noted that the Ministry had written to the Commissioner General, National Revenue Authority requesting them to reconcile the Le1,202,447,666.

The Auditor in commenting stated that a letter sent to the Commissioner-General of NRA for reconciliation of the variance of Le1,202,447,666 in the Marine Resources Account was submitted and verified.

However, the response/reconciliation justifying that appropriate investigation had been carried out and actions taken by the NRA to rectify this variance, was not submitted for audit verification.

In addition, evidence justifying that an investigation was carried out in respect of the variance of Le91,277,756 in the fines account maintained by the Ministry was not submitted for verification. Our recommendation was therefore not implemented and the issue remains unresolved.

The Audit 2016 report is in Parliament for debate.

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