The outgoing leadership of the Joint Public Accounts & Expenditure Committee (PAC) of the Legislature has urged the Executive to reprimand corrupt public officials who have been found liable in the Auditor General’s audited reports and ensure the restitution of money misapplied.
Over the weekend, during the turning over ceremony in the House, former PAC Chairman Rep. Ben Fofana and co-Chairman, Senator Henry Yallah, respectively, said after thorough scrutiny of the AG’s audited reports, the Joint Committee has submitted two separate reports to the Executive for compliance, affecting 11 public institutions.
Outgoing Chairman Fofana said the Joint PAC has the statutory task to review the AG’s audited reports and forward recommendations to the President for action, but it has not been thriving over the years.
According to reports, in 2014, the Joint Committee recommended to the Executive through a detailed report, five institutions for prosecution, including the Roberts International Airport, on the AG’s audited reports from January 1, 2006 to December 31, 2007 and the Ministry of Education (Free & Compulsory Primary Education), from July 1, 2006 to June 30, 2007.
Others were the Ministry of Gender and Development (2006/07; 2007/08 & 2008 up to September 2009); National Port Authority (Land Property on the AG’s audited reports of 2006/07 and 2007/08); and the Ministry of Justice (Management of the Prison System in Liberia, 2008/09 and 2009/10).
In 2015, the Joint Committee also suggested to the Executive six institutions for prosecution, including Ministry of Public Works, based on the AG’s forensic audit of 2010/11, 2011/12 and 2006/07; National Election Commission (2006/07 and 2011/12); University of Liberia (2009/10,2011/12 and also 2008 to 2010 performance reports). Others included Cuttington University (2006/07 and 2011/12); Liberia Telecommunication Authority (Jan. 1, 2009, 2010 & 2011; Jan. 1, 2006- 2008) and Monrovia City Corporation (July 2012 to September 2013).
The Joint PAC identified a number of flaws as referenced in the AG’s audited reports, including misapplication of funds, procurement malpractices, poor human resource management practices and ineffective project monitoring mechanisms.
Incoming Chairman of the Senate’s PAC and co-Chairman of the Joint PAC, Alphonso Gaye, said the Legislature would constructively engage with the Executive not to allow audited reports to be thrown into the dustbin.
The Grand Gedeh County Senator said Legislators would not sit idle and watch the Executive – through the prosecution arm of the government – fail to take action.
He stated that they would continue to uphold the credibility of the PAC and remain collaborative partners with the General Auditing Commission (GAC) and other affiliate prosecuting partners.
In his statement, Rep. Thomas Fallah, the incoming Chairman of the House PAC and the Joint PAC, said the committee would also be collaborative and bring to the post a new confidence, dynamism, vigor and determination.
Auditor General Yusador S. Gaye of the General Auditing Commission (GAC) said the GAC will continue its good working relations with the Joint PAC.
The AG said the newly enacted GAC Law gave the GAC Financial Autonomy to reasonably charge for “auditing.”
The former chairman of the Senate’s PAC and Joint PAC, Sen. Edward Dagoseh, said the PAC and the GAC cannot work independently and indicated that the Joint PAC must have a good relationship with the Executive to allow their recommended reports to succeed.
Sen. Dagoseh was the Chairman of the West Africa Public Account Committee (WAPAC), and is current chairman of the Africa Public Account Committee (AFROPAC).
In the reshuffling process of both Senate and the House of Representatives, Reps. Thomas Fallah and Edward Kafiah replaced Reps. Bill Fofana and Garrisue Yeallu; while Sen. Alphonso Gaye replaced Sen. Henry Yallah as co-Chairman.