Sierra Leone: Ex-NRA Commissioner General 'Dubiously' Received Over Le50bn As Allowance'

19 September 2019

The erstwhile Commissioner General of the National Revenue Authority (NRA), Haja Kallah Kamara, had received Le50, 162,112 from January to November,2017, as acting allowance, although she was not acting as Commissioner General, according to the NRA internal audit.

Director of Internal Audit of NRA, Philip Ahmid Koroma made the above revelation at the Justice Bankole Thompson Commission of Inquiry which has commenced hearing on the revenue collecting institution.

Before the commencement of the commission, State Counsel, Lawyer Robert B. Kowa, informed the commission that he will be presenting evidence dealing with issues that were highly fraudulent transactions or corrupt dealings.

He said he will also present evidence to show that the former Commissioner General, Haja Kallah Kamara, who is a Person of Interest, received allowances while she hold the said office for another vacant office.

He said the issues of procurement and inconsistency in salaries received by some staff of the NRA will also be unfolding.

The Director testified that Madam Kamara did collect both her salaries and acting allowances from January to December, adding that for the period under review, there was no Deputy Commissioner General at NRA.

He also confirmed to the tribunal that an excess amount of Le3.06 billion was discovered in the NRA staff payroll at the time they reviewed the payment advice prepared by Human Resources (HR) Department for the attention of the Finance Department for the said amount to be paid to staff.

He added that they observed that payment made by the bank exceeded the payment advice sent by the HR department.

He stated that for the period under review, staff salaries were paid to individuals or names of banks, rather than payments be made to respective individuals through their banks as it used to be.

When questioned by Counsel for Persons of Interest, Lawyer Ady Macauley,that if the unit contacted Madam Haja Kallah for her response to the queriees raised in the report, the witness said they could not since she was no longer working for the NRA.

He said effort were made to contact the then Commissioner General but could not be reached, adding that the ex-Commissioner General was contacted by the ACC on the same issue.

Earlier, the witness had told the commission that documents relating to the procurement of vehicles and repairing of building to the tune of Le3.5billion was never traced.

He said when they examined the approved budget and management account produced by the Finance department at NRA, they observed that an authorised spending of Le3.5 billion for the procurement of vehicles and the repairing of building was not in the budget.

He said the said discrepancy led them to engage the NRA Board Secretary to establish whether the board did grant permission for such spending to be made, but that the Secretary could not see any record of such.

He said because of the quantum of money involved, they also have caused to engage the procurement department to ascertain whether procurement rules were followed, but to their greatest surprise, no procurement activity of such was shown to them.

He told the tribunal that the unit had to further their investigation to the Finance department where they saw a list of payment made for vehicles, but could not traced the amount of Le2.3 billion in the report.

He said they also discovered that Le1.8 had been paid for building repairs but could not lay hands on the payment vouchers.

He said for the year under review, the unit engaged senior stakeholders (Senior drivers), and that they learnt that 8 vehicles were procured in 2017, but the document has not been made available for verification.

"All the life cards of the vehicles were produced. The challenges were for us to be linked the life cards to the payment voucher. For the buildings, some repairs were done in some building at the provinces and Freetown, but we have not received any payment vouchers to support it, although we saw some work been done," he said.

He further stated that he was not in the position to give an opinion as to whether the amount of Le3.5billion was spent on the procurement of vehicles or repairs of building, as payment vouchers, receipts and other relevant supporting documents for the transaction were not made available for audit.

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