The nation —seriously divided and skirting the edge of chaos since the Sierra Leone People’s Party ( SLPP ) came to power a year ago —was further divided on Monday when the government released the report of a forensic audit conducted by auditors from Tanzania, Ghana, Kenya and Sierra Leone , which the SLPP Government says unearthed stunning information that the dethroned All People’s Congress ( APC ) Government embezzled nearly one billion dollars.
The report, which has gone viral in Sierra Leone and the social media caused consternation among many citizens who say they are appalled by the depth of corruption , while also drawing a lot of scepticism and doubt among another set of the citizenry and some sections of the media who accused the SLPP Government of engaging in diversionary tactics to cover up the harsh economic situation, suffering and incompetence of the government.
Since the report was released on Monday, social media platforms have been buzzing with arguments among Sierra Leoneans. One set of Sierra Leoneans, including supporters of the ruling SLPP believe the report and have been lambasting the APC for what they described as corruption at is highest, while another set of citizens, who include supporters of the APC, are disputing the report , describing it as a diversionary attempt by the SLPP.
We bring you two contrasting reports of the audit revelation representing the broad spectrum of the political divide and the screaming headlines in Sierra Leone’s print newspapers, demonstrating the serious nature of the division in the country since the SLPP came to power.
This is the report on the result of the audit written by UMARU FOFANA – The BBC / SLPP JOURNALIST in Sierra Leone
Sierra Leone apparently lost US $ 538 million between 2015 and 2018 to mostly corruption.
According to a technical audit carried out by auditors from Tanzania, Ghana, Kenya and Sierra Leone, the telecoms, roads, energy and social security scheme (NASSIT) sectors were fraught with misappropriation, theft, phoney contracts, and bad investments.
The four reports will be released today and contain unfair competition and unequal treatment of some mobile phone operators which saw 4G cellular network licence grated to some and not to others. Three companies preferentially treated owe the state more than $ 10 million. NATCOM arbitrary imposed fees, charges and penalties without documentary evidence, entered into a contract with a company that did not even tender a bid for the services, lacked proper audit trail, doled out nearly $ 1 million as alleged donations to youth groups, MPs, and officials of the information and political affairs ministries.
At the state-owned SIERRATEL, there were 74 million missing recharged voucher serial numbers and 109,000 customers used recharged vouchers not generated by the system, amounting to $ 245,000. Two IT staff members had POS terminal operations in their own names with a total unaccounted for revenue of Le 33.5 Billion in January to Nov 2018 alone. In January – May, more than Le 19 Billion collected as revenue for POS recharge couldn’t be accounted for. A physical verification of vehicles valued at almost Le 2.5 Billion proved that the vehicles did not exist despite having been listed as fixed SIERRATEL assets.
SALCAB paid more than $ 526,000 and more than Le 2 billion to a company to perform more or less the functions of the board. Worse still, services were not rendered. There were “irregular contracts” awarded amounting to nearly Le 2 Billion. Huge funds were transferred or withdrawn as cash from SALCAB accounts without necessary supporting documents and without provision of services, amounting to $ 2.4 million and Le 1.6 Billion. No supporting documents for “Board Expenses” for the 2015 financial year amounting to Le 386 million. Le 3.2 Billion donated to former ministers, MPs without any policy for approving and processing such. At NASSIT, the NAPOS II software purchased for over $ 2 million has not served its intended purpose. 64 pensioners without social security numbers were paid over Le 409 million. 248 claims amounting to Le 5.4 billion paid out without meeting the criterion set – effectively illegitimate payment to undeserving people.
Billions of leans paid to underaged pensioners.
There was total disregard for procurement procedures in the awarding of a $35 million contract for the construction of a multipurpose market and transport terminal in Bo (Sewa Grounds) through sole sourcing. A significant variation in the original contract for the rehabilitation of Bintumani conference centre – from $8.2 million to $ 16.2 million. I am still still reading the reports on the civil works (road) projects and energy.
Here is a report on the audit from the other side of the political divide, written by Dr. Sylvia Blyden, the publisher of the AWARENESS TIMES newspaper , who served the APC Government in various cabinet positions. Her views represent the standpoint of the APC and another set of the citizenry.
PAOPA SLPP IS RUNNING IN SHAME – BIG SHAME TOO!*
🌟By Dr. Sylvia Blyden OOR
As this accompanying cartoon illustrates, it looks like PAOPA SLPP is on the run in big shame to find a place to hide. The BLATANT LIES of Finance Minister JJ Saffa and his Financial Secretary Sahr Jusu about *’One Billion Dollars Stolen’* are falling apart as the claim of one billion stolen is totally unsubstantiated so far. Imagine over 24 Hours since they launched their LIES, they cannot even release the actual text of the Technical Audit Report for us to read it for ourselves.
*All the PAOPA SLPP team have released to the public are pieces of papers they call “SUMMARIES”.* 😀😀
Even Lara Taylor Pearce who is so meticulous in instantly releasing her Audit Reports and who ostensibly signed this latest Technical Audit Report this week, has not posted it on Audit Service website. You can check to confirm it is just not there!
*Why is it not posted there?*
Well, there is a growing suspicion that the said sum alleged to be stolen is just an “egregious”😄😄 propaganda and what the Audit Report actually stated was not money stolen but that documents needed to authenticate and substantiate monies spent, were not shown to the Auditors by the current Heads of the audited agencies.
However, note that all current Heads of NATCOM, SALCAB, NASSIT, EDSA, RMFA, SLRA, etc. etc. are NOT the ones being audited. The current Management are all new SLPP PAOPA die-hards. The APC appointees being audited were not even contacted whilst the new SLPP appointees, from all indications, simply refused to show the enabling documents for monies approved, to the Auditors; In the absence of the required approval documents, the Auditors then stated that without those documents, the said amounts were disbursed without due procedure and so are considered as illegitimate disbursements until proven otherwise. Simple. That’s all.
It is a PAOPA gimmick folks. I am not saying there was no theft but on the scale of *one billion dollars stolen in 3 years,* that’s a BLINKING LIE from the mouths of JJ Saffa and Sahr Jusu. After lying, they have now gone in to hiding *refusing to release the actual Audit Report!* So shameful‼
PAOPA should stop running to hide and simply publish the actual text of the Technical Audit Report so we can make our own “summaries”!
So far, they have only given their ally Umaru Fofana but he seems to be so confused and does not understand what he is reading so Umaru is just gurgitating and regurgitating figures that he keeps changing with each update he makes. PAOPA, stop hiding. Just release the signed Technical Audit Report. We want to CHEW on it like tigers/lions chew on red meat.🐯🥩🦁
Let me end by wishing all my PAOPA SLPP friends and family a happy first year in office celebrations tomorrow. Your PAOPA Government has achieved some successes but overall, comparing your 2018 Manifesto to what now obtains, I can understand why the Palm Tree is running to go and hide in shame. *You ought to be so ashamed* as it has been one year of Complete Retrogression in almost all Sectors. Even to publish legally mandatory monthly revenue and expenditure, you cannot do because it may show *you have been borrowing money to pay Salaries.* 😂😂😂 Oh, what a crying shame!
*Dr. Sylvia Olayinka Blyden OOR*
7PM, Wednesday April 3rd 2019
Kololi, The Gambia.
EVEN THE MEDIA IN SIERRA LEONE ARE SERIOUSLY DIVIDED OVER THE AUTHENTICITY OF THE FORENSIC AUDIT