Transport Ministry fail to account for 9 vehicles procured for SSL

Contract for the supply of 40 vehicles to Statistics Sierra Leone (SSL) was entered into between the Ministry of Transport and Aviation (MTA) and Platinum & Co on 9th June 2015 at a cost of US$3,037,408. The objective of the contract was to help SSL meet the demands of the 2015 population and housing census, this according to the Performance Audit Report on the Management of Government Vehicles between the period 2014 and 2017. Audit investigations revealed that the vehicles were delivered in piecemeal to SSL. According to the records, 20 of these 40 procured vehicles were delivered on 26th November 2015; nine were delivered on 7th December, 2015; one on 4th January 2016; and one on 17th June, 2016.

As part of the Audit Service Sierra Leone (ASSL) audit engagement, a letter dated 21st November, 2018 was sent to the Permanent Secretary at the MTA for the delivery notes of the remaining nine vehicles to be made available, to help the auditors understand when they were delivered. However, up to the conclusion of the audit fieldwork on 30th June, 2019, these documents were not presented for inspection. The Auditor General said they could therefore not ascertain whether the remaining nine vehicles have been delivered. “This could be attributed to the fact that the contract was inadequately managed by the MTA. The risk that the nine vehicles have been converted into personal or other inappropriate use cannot be overlooked” she said.

The Auditor General recommended that the Permanent Secretary at the MTA should make available to SSL the remaining nine vehicles together with their documentation for audit verification within 15 days upon the receipt of this report; otherwise, the current market value of these vehicles should be refunded. The MTA response was that on various dates after the signing of the agreement, all the forty (40) vehicles were delivered by the supplier and handed over to SSL, they further attached minutes of negotiation, delivery notes and handing over notes for all the vehicles.

The Auditor General’s conclusion on the issue was that Management’s response in respect of the remaining nine vehicles for SSL did not address the audit recommendation. Therefore, the issue remains unresolved.

By Zainab Iyamide Joaque