8 January 2013

Liberia: GAC Commences Audit On 'PUPs Abuse', Others

Liberia's Auditor General, Mr. Robert Kilby, has disclosed that the General Auditing Commission (GAC) has initially commenced the audit of the alleged abuse of Private Use Permits (PUPs) by several companies and individuals in the country.

Early this week, President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf issued an Executive Order # 44, placing a moratorium on the issuance of PUPs and also suspending the exportation of logs from the country. The latest action of the Liberian leader stemmed from a recent report released by the Special Independent Investigating Body (SIIB).

The body was setup by the Liberian Chief Executive to probe reports of fraud and abuse in the issuance of PUPs to logging companies and individuals by some public officials. According to AG Kilby, the PUPs are allegedly being used for commercial purposes by some government officials and as such, the audit was necessary.

He made these comments on Monday, January 07, 2013 shortly after the climax of an acquaintance meeting organized for staff of the GAC who have just returned from foreign studies. He named LEITI as one of the entities that would be audited in connection with the 'abuse' of the PUPs. Speaking further, Mr. Kilby disclosed that the National Elections

Commission (NEC) would also be audited before the upcoming mid-term senatorial elections. Mr. Kilby further disclosed that the auditing of the country's national payroll is also in progress. He vowed to work assiduously in order to fight fraud, abuse, and corruption. AG Kilby, who bragged of having a vast experience and requisite knowledge to head the GAC, stated that he will carry out his task without fear or favor.

"We have already commenced these audits, but it is unfortunate that people do not understand the audit process. Audit has three (3) phases; the planning, field work and reporting phases. We are currently at the planning phase of the NEC, PUPs and the national payroll audits. Companies are by-passing the process to do some mining and others. Some people are using the PUPs to do commercial stuff. I am not worried about these audits because we have the professionals and skills to do the work," the GAC boss stated.

The GAC boss added: "We will get at the bottom of it (PUPs). We have to go after the hard dollar value. We will go after the guys, who are taking the millions of dollars, those who are circumventing the process. Concession agreements are signed and we need to be able to go back to these concession agreements. These are source documents and we will emphasis performance audit. We want to make sure that the Liberian people get the value of their money expended. So we will emphasis performance audit."

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