By: Thaimu Bai Sesay

Following issues raised in the Audit Report, the Public Account Committee (PAC) of the Sixth Parliament chaired by Hon. Thomas Sengepoh Deputy Speaker of Parliament has on Monday 12th February 2024 probed Tertiary Education Commission (TEC) for improper accountability and ended up rejecting the commission’s receipt describing it as nonnotarized and unauthentic.

“Payment totaling SLE192,827 and SLE66,357 were made in respect of rent for the Commission’s Secretariat and brake boosters respectively. However, supporting documents such as receipts and service agreement forms were not provided for audit inspection,” noted in the Audit Report.

After the swearing of oath by the Finance Person in the name of Peter Smell and other Representatives of the Commission, the Chairman of the Committee Deputy Speaker of Parliament Hon. Segepoh welcomed members of the Tertiary Education Commission and informed them on their reasons for being invited in which he said it was as a result of issues raised in the audit report regarding improper accountability and without the provision of the necessary documents.

The Chairman revealed that there were financial issues raised in the report which was not accounted for. He queried the Commission for not properly accounting for the money raised in the audit, adding that they spend money without preparing the relevant documents.

“You don’t have to go about spending money like that without relevant documents. When money is dished out there has to be proof. And even when the Auditors go and ask you, you cannot provide those documents regardless of their prior notification”, he reproached.

Hon. Sengepoh, the Chairman of the Committee revealed that improper accountability remained as one of the major reasons for bad audit reports which social media do spread all over with negative news such as government is corrupt; government has stolen XYZ.

“These are some of the reasons people shout all over the place because they spend monies they do not properly account for,” he said

As the session progresses, the Chairman requested for the evidence in relation to the money in question from the Commission which he later rejected describing the receipt presented as a nonnotarized receipt further modifying it as not a receipt but just a form of paper.

Hon. Sengepoh requested that the Commission provided a notarized receipt or account for the money stated in the Audit Report.

The Deputy Leader of Government Business Hon. Bashiru Sidikie further probed on the date of the receipt when the transaction was made and expressed great concern over the accuracy and authenticity of the receipt presented.

The Deputy Leader of Opposition in Parliament and also a member of the Committee Hon. Aron Aruna further looked at the receipt and outlined that the recent did not have a serial number and many other features an authentic receipt should have.

He reminded the Commission’s Finance Person and other representatives about the consequences involved for presenting such a receipt to the Committee.

“The accountant ought to know better, Hon. Aron asserted.

Hon Dixion Rogers, also a Member of the Public Account Committee requested for the bank account and other significant details of the money paid and also told the Finance Person of the Commission that they would be paying for the 12 years that they could not properly account for. “You cannot spend our money without giving us receipt. We want to see your bank statement to ascertain more proof,” he said.

The Public Account Committee stands down the probing session for the Commission followed with strict warning on having all the required documents as promised to be invited in court.


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