The long-awaited audit report of the General Auditing Commission (GAC) on the Small Business Pro-poor Loan Program (SBPLP) has been released with dismissed Deputy Commerce Minister Jemima Wolokollie hooked in the report.
Madam Wolokollie, then Deputy Minister of Commerce for Small Business, in May of last year accused her boss Prof. Wilson K. Tarpeh, then Commerce Minister of 'distributing money from his office and giving it to friends'.
She further accused Prof. Tarpeh of taking money from the account for his 'own use.'
But Prof. Tarpeh dismissed the allegations in a subsequent press conference, describing them as baseless, false and lies made up by a functional illiterate to tarnish his sweat earned reputation.
In its report, the GAC said the entire loan operation, from application receipt and analysis to credit decisions and disbursement was handled by Liberia Bank for Development and Investment (LBDI) and not the Ministry of Commerce and Industry.
Contrary to Ms. Wolokollie assertion that Prof. Tarpeh took US$500,000 from the account for his own use, the report found this to be a lie.
What the report found were only two payments, totaling US$41,596 made from the account, and that it was Ms. Wolokollie who authorized the payments.
According to the report, the first payment was for US$$33,216 for a contract she signed without the approval of the Minister. The report later determined the contract was fake and bogus.
The contract was reportedly for the training of stakeholders Ms. Wolokollie claimed to have conducted.
The second payment of US$$8,380 was for media relations and jingles to promote the activities of the SBPLP but the report found no evidence that the jingles were produced.
The GAC report also found that the Memorandum of Understanding signed by the Commerce Minister and Finance Minister was incomplete because the Minister of Justice needed to attest as required by law.
The report concluded that the former Commerce Minister had no role in the making of the loans; instead, the entire loan program was being handled by LBDI.