The Joint Public Accounts Committee (PAC) of the Legislature has booked former Gender and Development Minister Varbah Gayflor for “financial malpractices” and wants her restitute monies allegedly mismanaged.
Addressing a news conference yesterday at the Capitol Building in Monrovia, PAC announced that Madams Gayflor, Parleh D. Harrison, Director of Women Division and Stephen Forkpah, Comptroller, all from the Gender Ministry, should jointly restitute US$75,000 and deposit said amount into an escrow account for government purpose.
PAC also wants Forkpah and Mrs. Jestina Kollie jointly restitutes US$25,279.55 that remains unaccounted for as a result of bank and cash reconciliation.
According to the PAC, recommendations to restitute these monies are based on the fact that the issue of non-approval of budgets presents a challenge for governance of affected entities.
“The Committee believes that the expenditure of funds without an approved budget will continue in the future if no action is taken. The committee considers such actions systemic across sectors line ministries and agencies, and hereby recommends that henceforth the Legislature must approve the budgets for these entities along with the annual budget of the government of Liberia,” the PAC declared.
In further recommendations, the Committee intoned that Madam Gayflor and Forkpah must be made to payback US$23,901.71 and L$31,180 allegedly mismanaged for fees collected from the Ministry’s Conference Hall rental, which were not accounted for during the period of the audit.
Relative to monies intended for women’s organizations and unaccounted for allowances, Madam Gayflor and Forkpah again were booked for the alleged misappropriation of US$143,459 and US$35,576 respectively.
Payments made to third parties instead of service providers, PAC believes that Edwin Borbor and Mrs. Moses S. Kelleh should jointly restitute US$355,367.60 and deposits the amount into escrow account.
The PAC also wants Matthew Bundo, Personnel Director to restitute L$235,629 from monies accounted for as a result of payroll irregularities.
The Auditor General during the audit of the Ministry of Gender and Development analyzed the bank statements of the Ministry and observed that there existed a variance of US$25,279.55 for which the AG did not receive any substantive explanation or documentation, according to the PAC.
During the public hearing, the chief witness in person of Varbah K. Gayflor and the financial controller at the time argued that the money was a donor fund, as such, the reconciled reports were sent to the donors, so the ministry was unable to give the AG a report on such donor fund.
During the cross examination, the committee was emphatic that all monies that flows into any government agency from central government or partners belongs to the people of Liberia and are subject to the AG’s commissioned audit under the laws of Liberia. Thus, the Committee recommends that Forkpah and Mrs. Jestina Kollie should restitute US$25,279.55.
Meanwhile, other line ministries and agencies captured under this report are to be published in our subsequent publications.