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Le33M ‘Disappears’ at Ministry of Health Former Minister of Health and Sanitation Dr. Abubakar Fofanah: Any comment?

03,Jul 2018
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According to the Audit Service Sierra Leone (ASSL) 2016 Report on Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) and how they dispensed state funds allocated to them, the report states that proceeds from the sale of

bidding documents were not accounted for.

The Audit 2016 report states that in violation of section 42(1) of the Financial Management Regulation(FMR), 2007 which requires all revenue collectors to deposit revenues collected into a bank account, it was observed that proceeds from the sale of bidding documents which amounted to Le33million was not deposited into a bank account. Furthermore, a cashbook was not maintained by the Ministry to appropriately record the proceeds from sale of bids and details of utilization.

t was recommended that the Director of Financial Resources in collaboration with the Procurement Manager must ensure that all public funds collected are deposited into a designated bank account in accordance with section 42(1) of the FMR, 2007. In addition, appropriate records in the form of a cashbook should be maintained and used in recording all revenues received and utilized by the Ministry.

Officially responding, the Permanent Secretary (PS) in the Ministry of Health and Sanitation (MOHS) says: “The Auditor-General’s recommendation is noted. However, revenues collected from the sale of bids were not deposited into bank account because of the under-mentioned payments that were made: Payment for newspapers for all tender advertisements; Payment for printing and binding of bidding documents; Payment of transportation cost to evaluators; Payment for refreshment for evaluators; Payment for stationery items procured for tender process.”

However, the Auditor in commenting said: “Our recommendation was not implemented as evidence in the form of cashbook detailing records of bids sold and bank deposit slips justifying deposit made were not submitted for audit review. In addition, supporting documents in the form of payment vouchers, receipts, invoices justifying utilization of the amount were not submitted for audit.  The issue remains unresolved.

Furthermore, no letter of notification to unsuccessful bidders Section 27 of the Public Procurement Act, 2016 states: “The procuring entity shall soon after a successful bidder has been identified, inform the unsuccessful bidder(s) of the reason for which their respective bids were unsuccessful”. For the year under review, four procurements worth Le13,332,299,701 were undertaken. Appropriate notification letters informing unsuccessful bidders of the reasons why their bids were rejected were not submitted for audit inspection. It was recommended that the PS should provide appropriate reason (s) why unsuccessful bidders were not notified. In future, notification must also be sent to unsuccessful bidders in accordance with the Public Procurement Act, 2016.

The PS responded by stating that all unsuccessful bidders in the procurement activities under review were duly notified with copies of the notification letters ready for audit inspection.

The Auditor commented saying: “Our recommendation was not implemented as notification letters to unsuccessful bidders stating the reasons why their bids were unsuccessful were not submitted. Therefore, the issue remains unresolved.

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