Liberia: GAC Reports Unveil Several Financial Malfeasance at the National Elections Commission Covering Three Fiscal Years
MONROVIA – The General Auditing Commission (GAC) has completed and submitted to the National Legislature audit of the National Elections Commission (NEC) for the fiscal years 2014/ 2015, 2015/2016, 2016/2017 and 2017/2018. The GAC observed several financial and compliance irregularities during the audit periods:
The total amounts of US$1,191,501.08 and US$4,507,640.45 for fiscal periods 2014/2015 and 2016/2017 respectively were paid in the names of employees of NEC for onward payment to temporary NEC workers contrary to the Public Finance Management Act and the financial management policies and procedures manual of NEC. The listing presented the names and signatures of the temporary NEC workers as evidence of the payments were without contact numbers, identification cards, addresses etc. Therefore, the GAC was unable to confirm the names of temporary workers on said lists.
Payments amounting to US$ 114,874.93 were made to employees of NEC instead of the casual temporary employees. The GAC was unable to confirm all the recipients on the listing submitted as there was no contact cell numbers, identification cards nor address to confirm recipients. According to the GAC audit, there is a risk that Management’s failure to adhere to the PFM and NEC’s policies to pay salaries directly to election and casual workers could lead to misapplication/misappropriation of resources.
Honorariums amounting to US$32,276.54were paid by check to Commissioners, instead of direct deposit into the individual employee account. Also, the Management of NEC made several payments of honorarium amounting to US$58,785.53 by checks in individual staff names for onward payment to other staffs.
Payments amounting to US$258,389.82 were made in the names of some employees of NEC for onward payment to temporary election workers for various workshops conducted. The listings presented with the names and signature of the temporary NEC workers as evidence of the workshops being held were without contact numbers, identification cards, addresses etc. Therefore, the GAC was unable to confirm the names of temporary workers attending the workshops
The NEC made payments amounting to US$ 225,915.00 to employees of NEC for onward payment to a vehicle rental company as payment for vehicle rental instead of making payment directly to the company. According to the GAC Report, failure to pay directly to the business entity could lead to misappropriation of NEC’s resources.
During the conduct of the audit, it was observed that management staff did not submit Domestic travel Advance Request Form and Domestic Travel Settlement Form for travels amounting to US$ 31,385.64 for fiscal periods 2014/2015 and US$ 163,268 .33 for fiscal 2017/2018 contrary to Government domestic travel provisions.
Further, the GAC was unable to establish the actual cost of conducting elections and other operations leading to elections by NEC because the Management of NEC did not disclose external assistance in the financial statements during the periods under audit, although management acknowledged receiving various forms of support from donor partners.
Therefore, given the significance of the matters raise in this report, the GAC urges the Hon. Speaker and the members of the House of Representatives and Hon. Pro-Tempore and members of the Liberian Senate to consider the implementation of the recommendations conveyed herein with urgency.