GAC Audit Finds Financial Mismanagement, Procurement Irregularities at Housing Authority

205

The General Auditing Commission has completed an audit of the activities and financial transactions of the National Housing Authority compliance with relevant laws and regulations for the fiscal years ended 2012/2013 to 2015/2016 consistent with the Auditor General’s mandate as provided for in Section 2.1.3 of the General Auditing Commission (GAC) Act of 2014. The audit report was one of the several reports submitted to the National Legislature with a copy to the President of Liberia in line with the GAC statutory requirement recently.

Mr. Samuel Thompson served as Managing Director of NHA from March 2012 through July 2015 and Mr. Samuel Wlue who currently serves as Transport Minister, served as Managing Director to June 30, 2016, and beyond.

The GAC audit finds that the Management of the National Housing Authority could not provide deposit slips and receipts for the total deposit of USD27, 322.57 and LD11, 977,704 recorded in the cash book. These deposits could not be traced to the bank statements obtained directly from the bank by the GAC. The GAC says that cash receipts without evidence of deposit could be a result of cash collected not deposited to NHA’s account and could be diverted to personal use. Therefore, the GAC has referred this matter to the Liberia Anti-Corruption Commission (LACC) for further investigation

The GAC observed that the Management of National Housing Authority made payments amounting to USD288, 355.45 (two hundred eighty eight thousand three hundred fifty five dollars forty five cents) to four construction companies for 12 housing units in Brewerville, Montserrado County without going through a bidding process Further, the Management awarded contract amounting to USD86, 409.92 for the construction of 4 (four) housing units in Brewerville, Montserrado County without going through a competitive bidding process. . Failure to invite bidders could deny competition in the procurement process thereby deny the achievement of value for money and may result to conflict of interest.

Further, the Management of the National Housing Authority procured air tickets for the Managing Director and the Mortgage Officer to travel to the United States on April 4, 2013, amounting to USD8, 674.00 (eight thousand six hundred seventy-four) without obtaining the required number of quotations. Failure to obtain the required number of quotations could deny competition in the procurement process, promotes conflict of interest thus denying the achievement of value for money.

The National Housing Authority Management paid USD2, 287.87 (two thousand two hundred eighty-seven dollars eighty-seven cents) for consultancy services without going through the required procurement process.

The Management of the National Housing Authority made payments amounting to USD52,518 for goods and services without adequate supporting documents.

The NHA Management did not provide documents to support the procurement of goods and services amounting to USD110, 517.30 and LD149, 000.00 during the audit. Unsupported payments could cast doubt on the authenticity of the transactions.

The Management of National Housing made payment amounting to USD43, 823.20 (forty-three thousand eight hundred twenty-three dollars twenty Cents) for construction contract without monitoring report or completion certificate to ensure that the work was done as per specification.

The Management of the National Housing Authority procured goods and services during the period amounting to USD12, 227.50 (twelve thousand two hundred twenty-seven fifty cents) and LD52, 752.00 (fifty-two thousand seven hundred fifty-two Liberian dollars) without obtaining the required numbers of quotations.

The Management of the National Housing Authority made payments for consultant services amounting to USD12, 624.00 without evidence that the services were performed.

The Management of NHA paid US$254,686.07 to contractors on several payment vouchers without the signatures of the authorizing authorities, such as Financial Comptroller and the Managing Director, on the vouchers to guarantee the legitimacy of payments. The signing of payment vouchers at NHA is designated to the Comptroller and the Managing Director of the entity. In the absence of requested payments. Failure for the authorized officers to sign the payment vouchers could cast doubt on the validity of the transactions.

A field verification of the eight housing units in Zwedru, Grand Gedeh County on May 26, 2017, by the GAC noted that the Management of the NHA disbursed US$249,000 to the contractor without evidence that the project has been completed. According to the contract document signed on August 5, 2016, the contract was expected to be completed in November 2016. However, during the field verification, nine months after the signing of the contract, the project was yet to be completed.