16th May, 2013
The Permanent Secretary and senior Management staff of the Ministry of Energy appeared before the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) of Parliament on Wednesday 15th May, 2013 at the Administrative Building in Parliament.
During the Hearing, a one-week ultimatum was given to the Ministry to present supporting documents to the Auditor-General’s office on its 2010/2011 utilization of funds.
This order was given when the Permanent Secretary, Mr. Reginald Thomas and other top officials could not provide the team of auditors the necessary documents and records relating to disbursement of funds, fuel usage and proper procurement procedures among others.
The Deputy Auditor-General, Specialised Audits, Mr. Tamba Momoh, in the 2011 report read before members of the committee, stated that the audit team found out that a disbursement totaling Le 171, 310,000 in respect of water division was without supporting documents such as certificate of repairs, monitoring and evaluation report to substantiate the utilization of funds. He also cited in the report, inadequate control over distribution of fuel in the ministry, amounting to Le 29,997,500, which was issued to a vehicle named ‘Contingency Truck’ whose evidence the audit team could not verify. Mr. Momoh further stated that the audit team also found out that proper procurement procedures were not followed, leading to a contract amounting to $ 66,421,300.99 and Le851,313,000 awarded by the Ministry for which the activities were not in the procurement plan.
He mentioned that the audit team observed that inventory register was not updated at the ministry, and that items bought amounting to Le 207,361,984 for the period under review were not posted into the inventory register and the audit team was unable to verify the physical existence of the items.
Considering the level of discrepancies regarding expenditures in the report, one of the members of the committee Hon. Hassan Sheriff ordered the Ministry to make the evidence available to the Auditor-General’s office the following week, otherwise, action would be taken against them.
The Permanent Secretary accepted the request and promised to produce all relevant documents available to the Auditor-General’s office before the stipulated date.