Liberia: Several Millions Diverted at Nation Road Fund

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MONROVIA – An Audit of the National Road Fund conducted by the General Auditing Commission (GAC) for two fiscal years July 1, 2018  to  June 30, 2020, has observed that millions of dollars of fuel levies paid by motorists for the maintenance and rehabilitation of roads in Liberia are either not being remitted to the road fund account as required by the act creating the National Road Fund or expended for the intended purpose.

The GAC observed in the report released to the National Legislature last week, that the Liberia Revenue Authority collected  US$53,018,871.54 and deposited the money in the Consolidated Fund Account instead of the National Road Fund Account as required by the Road Fund Act. The Consolidated Fund Account is the Government general revenue account that is controlled by the Ministry of Finance and Development Planning (MFDP). Of this amount,  according to the report, the MFDP remitted  US$28,152,231 to the National Road Fund thereby leaving a difference of US$24,866,637.54 which was not remitted.

The Management of the National Road Fund provided the below response to the GAC:

The NRF brought to the attention of the Minister of Finance and the IMSC the issue of all fuel

levies be remitted to the NRF accounts not through the Consolidated Accounts to avoid

interference with the fund flow and to avoid delay in payments to contractors and suppliers for

road related maintenance works. The MCC (MC-AL) made the issue of fund flow as one of the

paramount condition precedents. The non-adherence to this condition precedent by

the MFDP cause NRF to loss the Matching Fund of $15,000,000 that was earmarked to the road

sector. We hope this audit report will made a resounding demand for the Government of Liberia

to see reasons to allow fuel levies and other road user charges collected by the LRA be directly

remitted to the NRF Accounts not through the GOL Consolidated Accounts”.

Also, in the fiscal year 2019/2020,  the GAC observed that the MFDP  withheld the total amount of US$7,000,000.00 from the petroleum levy fees collection as National Road Fund support to the National Budget in contravention of the National Road Fund Act. The Management of the National Road Fund indicated to the GAC  that the amount was requested by the MFDP to assist the Government meets its payroll obligations. The report says the program objectives of the National Road Fund will not be met when funds intended for road works are used for purposes not intended.

The GAC further noted that payments totalingUS$379,619.5 170,693.79 and LRD$123,644,698.52 were made on payment vouchers at the National Road Fund that were not approved or signed by the National Road Fund Manager and the Finance Officer respectively.

Further,  samples of transactional documents such as payment vouchers, contracts, and certificates reviewed by the GAC showed, that the National Road Fund Management made overpayments for goods and services amounting to US$7,483.65.

Petroleum importers confirmed to the GAC through confirmation requests that they owed the National Road Fund US$6,355,221.59 whereas the National Road Fund accounting records showed that importers owed tUS$10,978,473 thereby resulting in the variance of (4,623.351.41).

The GAC  report further noted that the National Road Fund  Management did not disclose in the financial statements, commitments to contractors totaling US$6,100,508.3 which places a restriction on the total cash balance of US12,936,639.00 brought forward as at 30th June 2020.

The GAC audit report also noted that the NRF Management did not maintain essential personnel records in several personnel files such as Letters of application, interview panel reports, proof of academic credentials, police clearance, and performance evaluations are done.

The report concluded that staff working for the National Road Fund are all contractors even though they have served the entity beyond the statutory period allowed for full-time employment.

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