A leaked copy of the audit report of the COVID-19 funds has been received by this newspaper and its findings are damning. The audit of the COVID-19 funds, according to informed sources, had been completed by the late Barten Nyeswa, who it is believed must have discussed his findings with the auditees.
Sources further say that it is suspected that auditees, fearing that auditor Nyesua would have leaked the damning report to the public via the media, allegedly sought to keep him quiet.
But Nyeswa, this paper was told, was a no-nonsense professional who stuck to principles and keeping him quiet would have entailed a lot which the plotters of his death could not risk or afford. And therefore, in their view, the “final solution” was the best option.
But the alleged killers left clues behind which raised a lot of unanswered questions.
According to sources a door, an escape outlet, had been locked and unopened for months and had a stack of assorted materials packed behind the door.
A resident of Nyeswa’s home, Teakon Williams, is said to have told Police that prior to returning home from a night’s outing at the D’Calabash bar and restaurant on the Congo Town back road, he noticed that a vehicle had deliberately blocked Nyeswa’s car.
When they finally got the vehicle out of his way he noticed that there was another vehicle tailing them. Upon arrival at home, they went upstairs locked all the doors to the house and went to bed in their individual rooms.
Sometime later, according to Teakon Williams he was awakened by a loud knock on his door and when he opened his room door, he met the security standing before his door. He then asked the security guard how did he enter the house when the doors had all been locked before going to bed.
It is also reported that one of the late Nyeswa’s friends had lived in that very house with the deceased but had subsequently moved out. And it is further alleged that he did not surrender his keys to the house up to the death of Nyeswa.
This said individual was reported to have arrived on the scene shortly after Nyesua’s body had been discovered lying in his yard. However, he has not so far been declared by the Police as a person of interest, although the public strongly suspects his involvement in the death of the auditor.
Talking about motives for the killings, could it be that fear of the audit report being leaked was/is the reason why Nyeswa was silenced? The report has been leaked anyway and it points to gross financial improprieties in the handling of the COVID-19 response funds.
In its Executive Summary, the audit report says the following:
- There is no evidence of official approval of the USD 48,637,711.50 of the COVID-19 National Response Budget.
- Comingling of COVID-19 fund of (USD 996,300) with MoH operational account 0010011502021904 and 0010011501008294
- Concealment of USD 71,500 Transaction
- No evidence of liquidation report for cash advances valued USD 7,261.00 and LRD 2,900, 800.00
- Payment made without valid contracts
- Allowance valued USD 79,212.00 for March 2020 not accounted for
- Lack of Procurement Plan and “No Objection” Authorization from PPCC for Contracts valued USD 913, 675.00
- Overstated Contracts valued USD 84,880.00
- Discrepancy in Disbursement of Compensation made to causal laborers at Star Base
- Payment made to POC, Balances and overpayment to Blessed I Luxury valued USD 120,604.20
- Blessed I Luxury TIN(Tax Payer Identification Number) is not found in the LRA Online Application and PPCC Procurement Platform
- No Evidence of GOL Tax Remittances from POC’s Payments valued USD29.318.36 and
- Contradiction of transaction (Simple Source
The audit covered the period February 2, 2020 to June 30, 2020.
The audit report, according to financial experts (names withheld) clearly points to gross derelict handling of the COVID-19 Response Funds which appears indistinguishable from and analogous to broad daylight highway robbery of such a staggering sum of USD 48,637,711.50 contained in the COVID-19 Response budget.
As if to add insult to injury, there is no evidence that the budget was ever approved according to the audit report.
Make no mistake about it, the audit report is indeed very damning for it conveys a distinct impression that the funds were virtually stolen.
According to standard auditing practice, an auditee must be provided with the findings of audit in order to respond to issues raised in the audit. As a seasoned professional, Nyeswa must have provided copies of the report to those in charge of the funds.
But it must have undoubtedly sent alarm bells ringing.
And apparently for fear of this damning report coming to public spotlight, auditor Nyesua was, it is popularly believed, made to pay with his life for coming out with such a report indicting a wide cast of government officials.
A retired former security official has told this newspaper that it appears as though those who plotted and ordered the killing of the auditors may have actually believed they were acting in the best interests of this government by keeping such damning information away from the eyes and ears of the public.
To the contrary, he said, the killings have whipped up public fear and anger which, according to him, are widespread enough to constitute a potential threat to national stability.
Any pursuits of murderous policies, he said, have the tendency to drive underground what should be plain open public engagement. And that is exactly wherein the danger lies, the retired security official said.
If indeed the Police is genuinely interested in determining the motives and intent of the killers the audit report speaks volumes as to why someone or people wanted him dead.
Police investigators should, by now, have a fairly good idea of where the road may lead.
The Chairman of the National Joint Security and Justice Minister, Cllr. F. Musah Dean, is entreated to not allow the handling of this investigation become another clusterfuck or shitshow, for to do so will be a sure invite to increased public discontent and anger directed against this government.