SIERRA LEONE HIGH COMMISSION, GHANA FOR THE PERIOD 1ST JANUARY, 2005 – 31ST DECEMBER, 2009.
1. Inadequate control over the collection and recording of revenue
There was inadequate control over the collection and recording of revenue. A Revenue Cash Book was not maintained. There was no register where receipts/visa stickers received were first recorded before used.
It was highly recommended that the under-mentioned records should be maintained with immediate effect:
Revenue cash book;
A register to record all receipts and issue of visa stickers;
A deposit register to record all deposits made; and
Safe/Strong Room Registers showing details of all lodgment or withdrawals of cash in the safe/strong room. In addition, both key holders should initial the register, when cash or other valuables are withdrawn or put into the safe/strong room.
Also, Periodic spots checks should be carried out to ensure appointed ‘checking officers’ fulfill their obligations. That is, Cash in hand is correct, Cashbook and ledgers are posted to date-controls and safeguards are applied.
2. Inadequate control over loans
Loans were given to various officers of the Commission but a Loans Policy was not in existence.
Our recommendation was that the HOC should ensure that a control account in the form of a register must be maintained, giving the name of the officer, the amount given out as loan/advance, payments to date and the balance outstanding. Similarly, proper procedures such as the placing of formal applications for such loans to the HOC must be followed in all circumstances.
Payment Vouchers for the period under review were poorly prepared. Expenditures totalling $40,158.46 were made without the use of Payment Vouchers, even though receipts, invoices and certifications in support of the expenditures were seen in a folder. Cash Books, VSL or an Expenses Analysis Book for the disbursement of monies expended by the Commission were not maintained. A difference of $1,038.40 was noted between the face value of the vouchers examined and their related supporting documents. Bank Reconciliations were not carried out by this institution.
The following were recommended;
Officers authorizing payments should ensure that vouchers were properly completed;
Amounts were to be written in words by the person preparing the vouchers;
Payment Vouchers were to be prepared for all expenditures;
To charge promptly in accounts under the proper Heads, sub heads, accounts, all disbursements of public funds; and
The Financial Officer should ensure that the recipient’s signature was on all vouchers.
It was observed that procurement procedures were not followed in the procurement of two (2) Hover vehicles costing $39,000. Documents relating to procurement proceedings were not maintained. In addition, there was no evidence to confirm that authority was given by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs for the procurement of these vehicles.
It is highly recommended that, in future, every effort should be made to always follow procedures.
5. Control over the assets of the Commission
An Inventory Ledger or a Location Inventory was not maintained. Furthermore, assets were without identification marks.
The HOC should make sure an Inventory of furniture and equipment be done and at the same time ensure that they bear unique identification marks.
Vehicles Log Books were not maintained. There was no formal administrative control over the use of the High Commission’s vehicles.
A proper use of official vehicle Log book should be enforced to enhance the management of the High Commission’s vehicles and that Log books are reviewed periodically and all journeys counter signed by the user.
The Staff Attendance Register was not properly kept. In most instances, staff did not sign the Register upon arrival and departure. Also there was no evidence of supervision/review of Attendance Register by a responsible officer or the Vote Controller.
The HOC should ensure that members of staff sign the Attendance Register when they report for duty and when they depart each day. In addition, the HOC should review attendance records on a regular basis.
7. Salary Vouchers not properly maintained
Payroll vouchers were not explicit as there were no provisions for statutory and other deductions on the vouchers.
It was recommended that the HOC should ensure with immediate effect, that salary vouchers were prepared in the prescribed format showing full details of basic salary, all allowances, income tax deduction, social security contributions by employers and employees, all other deductions and the net amount payable to the employee.
The HOC did not respond to the above audit observations and findings and has thus violated Government Budgetary and Accountability Act Section 64 (3) which states that; ‘‘Every query or observation under subsection (2) received by the Accountant-General or any other person shall, within thirty days after its receipt by that person, be returned by him, with the necessary reply to the Auditor-General’’.