Sierra Leone: Audit Report Reveals Inadequate Controls Over Revenue Collected

A review of the Ministry of Agriculture in the Tonkolili District's bank statements revealed that revenue collected from the registration of farmer based organisations which amounted to Le6,100,000.00 were without supporting documents.

"We recommended that management should submit the supporting documents; otherwise the full amount should be recovered and paid back into the Consolidated Fund".

In his reply, District Agriculture Officer (DAO) said a review of the payment status for the registration of Farmer-Based Organizations has been done and that all payments for the registration of same are done in the ministry's account and receipts of payment are forwarded to the Admin office in Ministry of Agriculture before issuance of the certificates.

But auditors stated that the response from the ministry did not address the issue raised by the auditors as such the issue remains unsolved.

The report further stated that a physical verification of stores revealed that over 250 bags (50kgs) of seed rice were in the main store of MAF Tonkolili and that the storekeeper and the DAO said that the seed rice was a loan repayment by the Deputy Minister of Agriculture.

However, the DAO said the fertiliser was supplied to the Minister from Freetown but could not justify the actual quantity of bags of fertilizer loaned to the Deputy Minister, thus noting that the repayment might be less than the quantity loaned to the Minister.

"We recommended that the DAO in collaboration with headquarters should provide the fertilizer loan agreement".

The DAO stated that the supplies were issued to the Minister from MAF at headquarters and that details of such transaction can be accessed from the MAF stores headquarters.

The Auditors stated that loans agreement to justify the fertiliser supplied to the Deputy Minister of Agriculture were not available for verification and that the issue remains unresolved.

The report also revealed that from a review of stores issue vouchers (SIVs) of fertilizer supplied direct to farmers from Freetown, the team of auditors observed that a total of 16,370 bags of fertilizer including urea 46% and NPK 15:15:15 were supplied to Farmer Based Organizations (FBOs) and Sierra Akker Company Project Ltd.

Auditors stated that upon comparing the list of registered FBOs, they observed that some FBOs were not registered with MAF Tonkolili District and that information available for those that registered were incomplete as a result the team could not confirm the supply of fertilizer.

"We recommended that the DAO in collaboration with headquarters should provide explanations backed by evidence report on the bases used to supply fertilizer to unregistered Farmer-Based organizations'.

But the DAO stated that "The consignment that the auditing team claimed to have been given to Sierra Akker Company was supported by the stores at headquarters, in Freetown.

He added that the Tonkolili management could not account for the said consignment due to the fact that, the fertilizer in question was not within the domain of the Magburaka Management and that further clarifications towards the issuance and management of the aforesaid consignment can be accessed in Freetown.

Auditors however stated that management response did not address the issue raised. Therefore, this issue remains unresolved.

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