28th May 2013
The Public Accounts Committee in Parliament summoned Secondary Schools in Bo on Monday 27th May, 2013 to account for findings on the 2011 Auditor General’s Report
The Committee which comprises 11 Members of Parliament headed by the Deputy Speaker of Parliament, Hon. Chernor Bah, was given technical support by Audit Service Sierra Leone (ASSL) to look into the issues raised in 2011 Auditor General’s report.
Principals and Bursars from 13 schools; Queen of the Rosary Secondary School, Methodist High School, Bo Government Secondary School, Centenary Secondary School, Milton Comprehensive, Methodist Secondary JSS, Kakua Community JSS, Kakua Government JSS, St Andrews JSS, Sierra Leone Muslim Brotherhood JSS, United Brethren in Christ Church JSS, United Methodist Church JSS and Islamic Call Society JSS, all appeared before the Committee.
The Committee looked at areas such as poor records keeping, non-compliance of financial procedures, misuse of funds, and non-submission of relevant financial documents. The issue of poor records management system and several anomalies were also of major concern.
During the proceedings, it was discovered that most of the schools that did not produce the relevant financial documents when the auditors from ASSL were in their offices, had already paid the amounts to the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC).
During the Bo Government Secondary School hearing, the Deputy Auditor General, Specialised Audits, Mr. Tamba Momoh informed the Committee that there are lots of outstanding financial queries at the school that remain unsolved.
He noted that during the 2010 auditing, it was discovered that the school management collected a total of four hundred and thirty-seven million, nine hundred and twelve Leones and banked only two hundred and twelve million, five hundred and thirty-two thousand Leones, whilst a balance of two hundred and twenty five million three hundred and eighty thousand leones were unaccounted for.
The Principal of the school, Mr. Musa Amara, when asked by the Committee why the issues still remain unsolved, said that the school management had adequately addressed the queries. He told the Committee that he had forwarded his responses on the issues with the relevant receipts to the auditors for inspection.
The Principal of the United Brethren in Christ Church, Mr Joseph Sowoye informed the committee that when he was summoned by the ACC, he produced the document but they insisted that he accounted for the money for payments made without adequate supporting documents and since he did not want to go to court, he paid the money.
Most of the schools that appeared before the committee gave similar excuses for not producing documents when the auditors were in their schools. They blamed the parents for not paying school fees which hindered the process of collecting the exact amount they were supposed to collect in a year.
The Committee’s Deputy Chairman, Hon. Eric Koedoyema told the principals that schools should not be operated as charitable organizations as most of the excuses given on the issues raised were absurd. He also appealed to them to employ qualified bursars and desist from using teachers as bursars