Audit Report: Over L$3M Paid to ‘Ghosts’ at MCSS
Monrovia – The General Audition Commission (GAC) has uncovered financial fraud at the Monrovia Consolidated School System (MCSS) causing the Government of Liberia a loss of three million, one hundred thirty-two Liberian dollars (L$3,132,034.00) as salary for 22 non-existent employees over a 20-month period.
Report by Henry Karmo, [email protected]
According to the audit report, during FY 2013/2014, the Auditor General observed that a deceased employee was kept on the payroll for 20 months, way past the three-month period allowed.
“For FY 2014/2015 and 2015/2016, the AG observed that employees, who were dismissed, died or resigned were kept on the payroll for twenty-two (22) months after the statutory period specified by the PFM Act of 2009,” the report stated.
At a hearing conducted by the Legislature Public Account Committee (PAC) supported by the Public Account secretariat, Mr. Benjamin Jacobs, Superintendent of the Monrovia Consolidated School System confirmed the report but said it wasn’t the fault of the MCSS but that of the Civil Service Agency (CSA).
According to Jacobs, he wrote the CSA several communications, some of which he displayed before the PAC chaired by Bong County Senator Henry Yallah, informing them about the situation on the payroll and requesting them to take appropriate action by removing those names off the payroll.
Regulation T.8 of the PFM Act of 2009 stipulates that” Unless the effective date is otherwise specified under any other enactment, the effective date shall be in the case of a deceased public officer, the three months following the date of death; resignation and retirement, the effective date for stoppage shall be the earlier of date of absence; or date specified on a relevant document.
The General Auditing Commission recommended that the MCSS’ management provide justification for continuous payments made to former employees who have died, resigned or dismissed from the employ of MCSS.
The GAC in its audit report on the MCSS also discovered that during the conduct of the audit that the Management of MCSS did not maintain a Fixed Assets Registry with a list of coded assets, date of purchase, cost, location and current condition. “As a result, we could not verify fixed assets to establish the ownership of assets acquired for the period under review.”
According to Regulation V.1 (2a & b) of the PFM Act of 2009, that “The Head of Government Agency must take full responsibility for 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 level are at an optimum and economical level”.
It was observed during the conduct of the audit that US$3,743,093 was allotted to MCSS in the budget; conversely, the financial statement showed that the actual amount spent was US$3,577,243, resulting in a variance of US$165,850.
Auditors also noticed that the administration did not provide general ledger, cash register, cash receipt book and other pertinent documentation such as payment vouchers, invoices, and receipts to support the reported expenditure for the fiscal year 2012/2013.