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Public Accounts Committee Orders Salary Deduction for Audit Report Discrepancies

The Public Accounts Committee (PAC) has ordered a salary deduction of five thousand New Leones from the salary of the Assistant Director of the Ministry of Finance, Joseph Fatorma, for failing to furnish the Audit Service Sierra Leone (ASSL) with documents related to the Gento Group of Company. The order was issued by the PAC Chairman, Hon. Ibrahim Tawa Conteh, on the grounds that the failure to provide the required documentation resulted in misrepresentation and reputational damage to the company.

In a statement to Parliamentary Journalists, Fatorma expressed his concerns about the order and requested that it be reviewed. He clarified that the Ministry of Finance is not responsible for auditing and that he had provided the necessary information during the Exit Poll. Fatorma also stated that the clarification was circulated by the Financial Secretary and that he was surprised to find that the issue had been raised again in the audit report.

The ASSL report noted discrepancies in the payment process related to a contract agreement between Gento Group of Company and the Sierra Leone Road Authority. Fatorma acknowledged the existence of a typographical error in the contract document, specifically in the year and contract number, which was detected during the Exit Poll. He emphasized that the error had been rectified, and he expressed his willingness to provide any further information that may be required.

Fatorma indicated that he will respond appropriately once he receives the written correspondence from the PAC. He also expressed his expectation that the PAC would have provided him with an opportunity to clarify whether he had submitted the relevant documents during the Exit Poll, which he maintains he did.

In response to questions about why he did not raise the aforementioned explanation during the PAC hearing, Fatorma stated that he was not given the opportunity to speak further on the matter. He also questioned whether he had received a fair hearing, as expected in line with international best practices.

The Public Accounts Committee is a parliamentary committee responsible for scrutinizing public expenditure and ensuring accountability in the use of public funds. The order for salary deduction serves as a reminder of the importance of transparency and adherence to established procedures in the management of public resources.


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