Monrovia — The acting chairman of the Liberia Telecommunication Authority Angelique Weeks has admitted to financial and other irregularities at the entity as contained in an audit report by the General Auditing Commission of Liberia.
Responding to questions from lawmakers during public hearings on the GAC report, Commissioner Weeks admitted that some of the claims made by the GAC in its audit report for the fiscal year 2006/08/09 are factual.
"Mr. Chairman and members of the committee no one is infallible, we do a very good job, but there are times when there are lapses. I make mistakes at time and when I catch it up I am mad at myself", said Weeks.
Madam weeks who is currently in the spotlight over public criticism for the signing of a controversial lease agreement with a Chinese firm for an amount in the tune of one million one hundred and fifty five thousand united states dollars as fees for three years made the confession Friday February 14 at the public hearings by the Legislature joint Public Accounts Committee (PAC).
At the hearing where she had been requested by the committee to answer to query raised by the General Auditing commission in its Audit report for 2006/08/09 she was accused in the GAC report on several counts which include; Internal Control Related Issues, Non-adherence to the PPCC Act, Absences of Fixed Assets register and Approved policy regulating fixed assets, lack of approved financial manual for accounting related procedures and over payment of per diem for foreign travel to LTA officials and employees.
The GAC report also accused the LTA officials and employees of failing to retrieve travel documents on foreign travels for incidental allowance received, the nonexistence of the approved budget and no budget to guide the LTA's operation, non-preparation and submission of Financial statements, checks valued at US$ 2,232.50 outstanding for more than six months, Deviation noted with payroll and LTA outstanding receivables, as well as status of prior year audit matters.
The GAC in its report alleged that the internal audit function at the LTA was inadequate because according to the GAC it was being undertaken by one staff, which is contrary to the requirements of the Internal control integrated framework, published by the committee of sponsoring Organizations of the Trade way commission (COSO).
"Additionally, contrary to the requirements of International Standards for Professional Practice of internal auditing 1000, the LTA Internal Audit operated without an approved internal audit Charter. These deficiencies noted could impact the authority's attainment of its objectives," the GAC report said.
The audit report also alleged that for the period 2010 and 2011, the management of LTA did not adhere to the PPCC act, 2005 for the procurement of any capital goods and award of contracts.
GAC said: "Examination of the document revealed that procurement of capital goods were not supported by the relevant documentation. As observed, capital goods totaling to US$ 16,520.00 acquired by the LTA during the period under review were not supported by appropriate documentation. For instance the contracts were not published in procurement bulletin, gazette and newspaper of wide national circulation, notice of each contract awarded."
Section 37 of the PPCC act of 2005 states that, procuring entity shall promptly publish in the procurement bulletin, gazette and any newspaper of a wide national circulation notice of each contract award in which price of the contract exceeds the threshold of US$ 25,000 in the case of contracts for procurement of goods.
The LTA is also being accused of operating without budget guidance for a period January 1, 2009 to march 31,2009 which, according to the auditors contravenes the 2007 act of the LTA.
It was also discovered that despite the absence of a budget by the LTA expenditure as per the authority bank statement from the Central Bank of Liberia (CBL) amounted to three hundred thirty six thousand one hundred and nine United States dollars (US$ 336,109.13) were incurred from the Authority's account during the three months.
Section 9(5) of the Telecommunication act of 2007, requires that the LTA board of Commissioners to prepare an annual budget for the entity's operations to be submitted to the President of the Republic of Liberia for approval for the Authority operations.