LIBERIA: 90% OF GOVERNMENT DEBTEES REJECTED
The General Auditing Commission(GAC) has completed and submitted to the National Legislature Audit of the National Domestic Debt for the period January1, 1980 to December31, 2021.
For the Government to reach a conclusion on the validity of claims, domestic debts and arrears, the Government of Liberia(GoL), through the Ministry of Finance and Development Planning(MFDP), asked the GAC to verify the authenticity of claims submitted between 1980 and 2021 and provide recommendation on the validity of each individual claim, domestic debt and arrear which will enable the proper development of a comprehensive database (Commonwealth Meridian System) of domestic debt management system at the Debt Management Unit.
During the audit, the GAC received the total of six hundred seventeen (617) vendor claims/arrears and instruments valued at US$1,148,341,010.17 and L$226,599,033.36 for verification through the MFDP and as per the GAC public request for the submission of claims documents during the audit.
Out of this amounts, claims related to Professional Services amounted to US$ 5,505,217.19 of which US 5,418,442.19 was rejected/invalidated by the GAC , amounting to 98.42 percent of the professional claims submitted. Works amounted to US$180,909,675.64 and L$1,099,099.57 of which US627,669.28 and L$275,865.57 were rejected/invalidated by the GAC constituting 99.65 and 74.9 of the claims submitted for works. Goods and Services amounted US$ 25,409,647.34 and L$152,042,556.08. Of these amounts, Goods and Services claims amounting to US$22,948,845.32 and L$150,603,637.48, constituting 90.32 and 99.05 percentage were rejected/invalidated. Lease and Rentals amounting to US$9,570,720.31and L$416,000.00. Of these amounts, US$7,587,560.00 and 416,000.00 constituting 79.28 and 100 percent were rejected/invalidated by the GAC. Salary Arears amounting US$2,672,602.53 and L$50,692,166.06 were 100 percent rejected/invalidated by the GAC.
Claims representing instruments (Central Bank of Liberia loans to GOL, commercial banks loans to GOL, and others amounting to US$788,466,930.52 and L$11,147,618.60) were submitted for validation. Of these amounts, Instrument claims amounting to US$98,846,573.31 and LD$2, 323,940.16 constituting 12.54 and 20.85 percent were rejected/invalidated by the GAC. Others Claims including social security claims amounting to US$130,279,772.57 and L$11,188,582.05 were submitted for validation. Of these amounts, Other Claims amounting to US$55,283,896.57 and L$11,188,582.05 constituting 42.43 and 100 percent of instruments were rejected/invalidated by the GAC.
Court Claims amounting to US$5,040,224.43 and L$13,011 and US$ 486,219.04 were 0 percent invalidated/rejected because the GAC does not audit court decisions and KPMG validated the vendor claims previously.
The GAC considered the claims invalid/rejected based on the following irregularities noted:
Non – provision of original documents to validate the claims; Non-provision of adequate supporting documents (payment vouchers, purchase order, invoices, contracts/agreements, delivery notes/job completion certificates, letter of guarantees, loan agreements, etc.) where applicable, to validate the claims; and resubmitted claims (same claims submitted more than once for validation.
The GAC identified several risks associated with the claims submitted which includes: In the
absence of supporting documentation, the validity, occurrence and accuracy of claims may not
be assured. This may lead to over/understatement of the total domestic debt stock. The non-
provision of original documentation may impair the legitimacy of the transaction and
Resubmission of claims may lead to over payment of domestic debt claim and overstatement of
domestic debt stock.
The GAC therefore, recommended that:
Management should ensure that all claimants retain a set of scanned copy of the original documentation and submit the original documentation to the Debt Management Unit for processing. Subsequently, Management should ensure that the claimants’ scanned copy is signed-off, stamped and dated as evidence of submission of the original document to the Debt Management Unit.
Management should ensure that all original documents of claimants are retained and arrange in
Going forward, Management should acquire or develop a document management system to
store original documents of all claims.
Routine reconciliation should be performed during the submission of all claims to ascertain that claims submitted are not invalid, duplicated, etc.
The Management of the MFDP indicated in its response to the GAC findings that it will take the audit recommendations into consideration and potentially integrate them with current effort to improve management and claim procedures.
Additionally, the GAC observed that the claimants of two hundred sixty-five (265) vendor claims/arrears amounting to US$157,514,269.57 and L$171,438,290.23 and sixty-four (64) domestic instruments amounting to US$215,625,008.70 recorded within the domestic debt database of the Debt management Unit, Ministry of Finance and Development Planning did not provide the necessary supporting documents during the GAC’s validation of domestic debt. Therefore, the GAC could not validate the authenticity of the claims;
Further, Management made payments against several claims amounting to US$ US$761,344.36 without supporting documentation such as payment vouchers, copy of checks, cash invoices, delivery notes and/or job completion certificates and other relevant documents to authenticate the transactions.