Over the years, the protector of the Sierra Leone public purse, Audit Service Sierra Leone (ASSL) has captured series of corruption related activities that are being practiced at the Sierra Leone Ports Authority (SLPA).

Just like the previous Audit Report, the recently published Auditor General’s Report pointed out issues of nepotism, irregular procurements, poor control in the distribution of funds among other irregularities as being practiced at the SLPA.

It was observed that payments which totalled Le538,759,809 were made without adequate supporting documents to justify the disbursement of the said funds. Missing documents included service level agreements, receipts, back-to-office reports, GST’s invoices, etc.

A total amount of Le531,300,000 was identified as Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) payments made to various organisations and individuals. We could not understand the basis upon which these payments were made, as they did not fall within the normal operations of the Authority, ASSL maintained in their previous audit.

Despite a response from the management of the Authority clarifying some of the issues, the audit maintained that the issue remains unresolved.

That in 2019, a review of the Authority’s management of receivables revealed the following: TH Debtors circularisation letters were sent to 12 debtors to confirm balances Ma totalling US$1,125,305 (Le10,951,145,911) in the books of the Authority. Debtors’ confirmations were-received for an amount which totalled US$275,342 (Lo2,675,414,784).

That a difference of Le95,807,041 was noted between the amount reported in the receivables register  and the  amount confirmed  by the five debtors.

That a total of US$434,197 in respect of monies owed by customers to the
Authority for 2019 were disclosed as a short term receivable in the financial statement.

The General Manager in his response said that the necessary circularisation and supporting documents confirming payments
available for audit review.

That regarding differences, as
confirmed by Destiny Shipping,
Maersk SL, Mediterranean Shipping, Alsalam and Freetown
Terminal Ltd. respectively, Our invoices raised and confirmation of payments are available for audit review as proof of our claims.

For receivable balances with no evidence of recoverability,management via directives from the Board continues to explore possibilities of recoverability, though futile.

That management will provide the necessary advice for provision/write-off f specific debts where applicable and that necessary documentation seeking
his recoverability are available for audit inspection.

“Circularisation responses were
not submitted for verification.Except for Afrimarine, a review of the Authority’s cashbooks and receivables ledger as at the current date revealed that debtors
had settled the above amounts.

Our recommendation was partially implemented. No evidence of recoverability was received for the long outstanding amount of US$413,198. Our
recommendation was not implemented. Therefore, the issue remains unresolved,” the Audit affirmed.