18th October, 2019
The Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) has on Thursday 17th October, 2019 presented a report titled ‘Review of Practices and Procedures of the Freetown City Council’ to the Freetown City Council (FCC). The report, compiled by the Prevention Department of the Commission, highlights several systems weaknesses at the Council, covering the period 2015 to 2018. This follows a comprehensive review of practices and procedures at the Council.
Presenting findings of the report, Muctarr Manasu-Conteh Systems Analyst, ACC, who also served as Team Lead for the review exercise, highlighted significant weaknesses in the management of finance, audit, procurement, stores, human resource, fuel, fleet and other assets of the Council.
In the area of the Council’s revenue generation drive, Mr. Conteh said that monies collected as market dues were paid to cashiers at the Council instead of the Bank. “There is also no proper reconciliation of receipt books,” he added. The report also shows challenges in the documentation of transactions for street parking, and the Council is owed nearly Two Hundred and Fifty Million Leones for street parking.
Mr. Conteh also spoke about the weak internal audit system at the Council, stating that the Audit Committee was being chaired by a Councilor instead of a person outside the institution that is knowledgeable about this important management function.
The report also shows that the FCC does not have a fixed assets register to show all the assets owned by the Council. “There is no policy on the distribution of fuel to those entitled to it,” Mr. Conteh said. There is also no Procurement Committee at the Council and the store for the storage of the institution’s goods is poorly managed.
Deputy Director of Prevention Department, ACC, Patrick George, said there was a strong correlation between the targets set by the FCC and the recommendations contained in the report, adding “if the recommendations are implemented, Council is sure of meeting its targets”.
Mr. George reminded his audience about the new National Anti-Corruption Strategy which puts much premium on enforcement. “The Report highlighted recommendations for Council to implement within three months of the formal presentation of the Report or face sanctions for noncompliance as provided under the Anti-Corruption Act, 2008,” he warned.
The Deputy Mayor of Freetown, Osman T. Koroma expressed appreciation for the “very good job done” by the ACC in conducting the review exercise. “This will help mitigate corruption” and help staff align their work in a bid to ensure that Council delivers effective and efficient services, he said. He assured the ACC Team of Council’s commitment to the implementation of the recommendations contained in the Report.
The Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development Mani Koroma described the review as a very important exercise and encouraged the Council to treat the recommendations with the seriousness they deserve.
Formal presentation of the Report by the Deputy Director of Prevention Department, ACC, Patrick M. George, to the Deputy Chief Administrator of the FCC Bangalie F. Marah climaxed the event.