Liberia: Zombies on Payroll – GAC Audit Finds Dead People in Montserrado
Monrovia – The General Auditing Commission has completed two audit reports on activities and financial transactions of the Montserrado County Administration Funds in compliance with relevant laws and regulations for the fiscal years ended June 30, 2014 and June 30, 2015 consistent with the GAC Act of 2014.
For the fiscal years under audit, Madam Florence Brandy served as Superintendent, Mr. Sylvester Lama, Assistant Superintendent for Development and Mr. George Zinnah, Assistant Superintendent for Fiscal Affairs.
he GAC audit report observed that the Government of Liberia made payments amounting to L$864,400.00 (Eight Hundred, sixty-four thousand, four hundred Liberia dollars) to six employees of the Montserrado County Administration who have died and are still maintained on the County payroll.
The employees were maintained on the payroll between 9 to 17 months after the statutory payments of three months after death had elapsed.
The GAC report observed that the Government of Liberia paid an annual salary of L$ 2,520,000.00 (Two million, five hundred and twenty thousand Liberia dollars) to 20 employees of the Montserrado County administration during the periods under audit without evidence that the employees signed the daily attendance log and reported to work.
Further, the report noted that 8 (eight) employees, with valid employment letters from the Ministry of Internal Affairs and the Office of the Superintendent to replace employees who are dead or those who do not report to work, have not been included on the Montserrado County Administration payroll. The employees have been working between 2 to5 years without evidence of compensation.
The payroll irregularities noted violate Regulation T.5 (1) of PFM Act, 2009 which states that “ A Head of government agency shall cause the immediate stoppage of payment of salary to a public servant when that public servant has: (a) been absent from duty without permission or reasonable cause for a period as stipulated in the administrative regulations of the establishment; (b) been absent from duty on leave without pay; (c) been convicted of an offence involving theft or fraud, or a sentence of imprisonment; (d) resigned; (e) retired; or (f) died”, the report stated.
The reports observed that the Montserrado County Administration made payments amounting to US$53,766.27 (Fifty-three thousand, Seven hundred and sixty-six United States dollars, twenty-seven cents) in fiscal year 2013/2014 and US$146,300.00 (One Hundred and forty-six thousand, three hundred United States Dollars) in fiscal year 2014/2015 without adequate supporting documentation to assure the regularity of the transactions.
These transaction according to the GAC violated , Regulation P.9 (2) of the Public Financial Management (PFM) of 2009 which states that “Payments except for statutory transfers and debt service shall be supported by invoices, bills and other documents in addition to the payment vouchers”.
The GAC Audit observed that Montserrado County Administration made payments of US$122,000.00 (One Hundred and Twenty-two Thousand United States Dollars) to PMC Treasurer for purchases of sporting materials rather than make the payment to the service providers.
Of this amount, there was no evidence that the payment of US$43,000.00 for various teams and technical staffs, county meet were received by the intended beneficiaries. The GAC observed that the payments were contrary to Regulation B. 28 of the PFM Act of 2009 states that “A payment shall be made only to the person or persons named on the payment voucher or to their representatives duly and legally authorized in writing to receive the payment.”
The GAC observed during the conduct of the audit that the Financial Officer, Nagbe Sonpon prepare payment vouchers in his own name, signed the payment vouchers as one of the authorizing signatories and directly procured Ebola preventive materials in amount US$146,300 (One Hundred and forty-six thousand, three hundred United States Dollars) contrary to Regulation A.15(1) of the PFM Act of 2009 which states that “a head of government agency must exercise all reasonable care to prevent and detect unauthorized, irregular, fruitless, and wasteful expenditure, and must for this purpose implement clearly defined business processes, identify risk associated with these processes and institute effective internal control to mitigate these risks”.
Further, the report noted that the Montserrado County Administration provided Financial Aid/ Scholarships to students in the amount of S$110,634.91 (One hundred and ten thousand, six hundred and thirty-four United States dollars, ninety-one cents) without evidence of a documented policy to regulate the provision of the scholarships/financial aid.
The County Administration did not also provide a list of scholarships/financial aid recipients for the amount of US$44,628.16, therefore, the GAC could not provide assurance that the amounts were utilized for the intended purpose.
In addition, the report said the Montserrado County Administration could not produce for verification, 6 (six) out of (10) motorbikes purchased by the County Administration.
Also, there was no log or document to identify the assignees of the individual assets. In violation of Regulation V.1 (2a & b) of the PFM Act of 2009 states that “The Head of Government Agency must take full responsibility of assets assigned to him by the General Services Agency and ensure that proper control systems exist for assets and that: (a) preventive mechanisms are in place to eliminate theft, losses, wastage and misuse; and (b) inventory levels are at an optimum and economical level
Further, Fourteen (14) construction contracts entered into by the Montserrado County Administration and vendors had no completion dates for the execution of these contracts and/or projects. Also, there were no provisions enshrined in the contracts to monitor and evaluate project deliverables before installment payments were made.
Additionally, the contracts were not notarized and there were no provisions for the issuance of certificate of completion for completed projects in violation of Section 41 of the Amended and Restated PPC Act of 2005 & 2010 states that “(1) The Procuring Entity shall be responsible for the administration and monitoring of the contracts entered into by the entity.
In conclusion, the GAC stated that based on the audit work performed, the activities and financial transactions of Montserrado County Administration are not in compliance, in all material respects, with stated laws and regulations.