Liberia: U.S.$800K Nimba County Development Fund Unaccounted for in Nimba

Monrovia — A General Auditing Commission (GAC) findings have uncovered several discrepancies and unorthodox financial practices in the application of the Nimba County Development Fund in the tone of US$800,000.00. The audit report covers fiscal years 2011 to 2013.

In the GAC audit, it was discovered that during the fiscal period 2011/2012 and 2012/2013, the Nimba County Administration received the amount of US$800,000.00 development fund with an operating bank account balance of US$ 2,239,835.08.

The total cash available as Social development Fund (SDF) during the audit periods amounted to US$3,039,835.08.

According to a summary report provided by the Legislature Public Account committee (PAC), the County received US$200,000.00 as County Development fund. The opening bank balance in the CDF account was US$351, 623.51. Therefore, the total available as CDF during the audit period was US$ 605,420.81.

The Auditing findings

Amongst the many flaws, the GAC uncovered that the County Administration during the period under review headed by than Madam Christian D. Dagadu former superintendent and Clinton G. Layweh PMC chairman and Edith Gongloe Weh, former Superintendent and Patrick Luogan Lah, Shirley Browne PMC treasurer; failed to disclosed additional funds, and violated the Public Procurement Concession Commission Act in the awarding of contracts.

The report also states that the County Administration under the two superintendents didn't follow laydown rules in the approval of projects. Meaning they violated the PPCC requirement.

the GAC report also uncovered several other irregularities which include; unsupported payment to Nimba County Community College, repeated payment Voucher number, third Party payment observation, contract awarded without bid, scholarship awarded without policy, unsupported withdrawals, project implementation without resolution, and anomalies with contracts for construction projects including project implemented without bid.

According to the GAC report, from further examination of the bank statements, it was revealed that the total expenditure was US$2,347,578.69 while a cash balance of US$ 708,549.39 was reported as at June 2013. The Audit report also states that the cash position was verified from the SDF bank statement for Nimba County social development fund's account obtained from LBDI.

The GAC report also uncovered that estimated project cost which was subject to adjustment if UNOPS was involve, during the implementation of the project incurred additional expenditure other than the estimated project cost.

It was revealed that, the total of US$ 5,024,295.35 was transferred from the County's SDF account at LBDI to UNOPS Part-Payment against the total contract sum of US$ 5,785,000.00, thus leaving the balance of the US$ 760,704.65.

"Meanwhile, the Auditor General reported that there was no International competitive bidding process conducted for the procurement of the earthwork and there was no evidence that ministers of the Finance and Justice were part of the transaction that led to the procurement of the earthwork machines as required by section 24(4) of the Public Financial management law and regulation No.003 of the PPCC."

Madam Gongloe Weh was unable to appear before the joint Legislature Public Account Committee to defend her position on the report. According to the committee Chair J. Emmanuel Nuquay, she is currently beyond the borders of Liberia and could not be reached.

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