ACC investigations reveal…Kimbima Hotel defaults on PAYE tax
By Ibrahim Tarawallie
The Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) yesterday provided its second media update on actions and steps it has taken to address critical issues raised in the 2015 – 2018 Audit Reports of Sierra Leone.
The ACC investigations established that no payment was made to the National Revenue Authority (NRA) in respect of Pay-as-You-Earn (PAYE) for staff of Kimbima Hotel for the months of June, July, October, November, and December of 2017.
The Audit Report had alleged that Kimbima Hotel has not been paying Pay-as-You-Earn (PAYE) Tax from August, 2016 to April 2018.
The ACC stated that a letter will be directed to Kimbima Hotel (including its successors) and its stakeholders to pay PAYE Tax for the said workers, failing which the matter will be either referred to the NRA for recovery pursuant to the provisions of the Tax Laws of Sierra Leone or the ACC proceeds with direct recovery or prosecution, as may be deemed expedient in the circumstances.
With regards allegation in the Audit Report that some staff at the Ministry of Finance received overpayments; the ACC investigations revealed that the thirty-one (31) staff involved were overpaid.
According to the ACC, the said persons have completed repayment to the state through a structured program instituted by the Ministry of Finance itself. Save for two staff whose issues are still under review; all have accordingly completed repayments.
“The file itself is still under review by the Prosecutions Department of the ACC to determine if criminal responsibility emanate from the conduct of the staff concerned or anyone else,” a release from the ACC stated.
Also, the Audit Report alleged that officials of the Ministry of Works and Public Assets failed to pay proceeds from the sale of Government quarters into the Consolidated Revenue Fund, amounting to Two Billion, Two Hundred and Sixty Million Leones (Le 2,260,000,000).
The ACC investigations established that twenty-eight (28) Government quarters situated around Spur Road, Wilberforce, Hill Station and Ross Road were sold for the sum of Two Billion, Six Hundred and Eighty Million Leones (Le 2,680,000,000).
“An amount of One Hundred and Nineteen Million, Three Hundred and Fourteen Thousand, Three Hundred and Four Leones (Le 119, 314,304.00) was spent on monitoring activities by the Ministry of Works, leaving a balance of Two Billion, Five Hundred and Sixty Million, Six Hundred and Eighty Five Thousand, Six Hundred and Ninety Six Leones, (Le 2,560,685,696) held at the Works Emergency Account No.0112004648 at the Bank of Sierra Leone. The ACC has, by letter, requested that the Accountant-General transfer the said amount into the Consolidated Revenue Fund and the same had been affected on the 13th December, 2019,” the release state further.
The commission’s interventions on the Auditor General’s reports 2015-2018 focus on aspects of possible, or alleged corruption, and conduct inconsistent with the provision(s) in the Anti-Corruption Act of 2008.
After a thorough review, and analysis of the aforementioned Reports, a total of twenty-one (21) issues attracted the attention of the Commission; with a view to investigating, prosecuting, or recovering public funds, public revenue, public property, as the case maybe, in accordance with Sections 7, and 48 of the Anti-Corruption Act of 2008 respectively.
The ACC has charged two (2) matters to court with thirteen (13) ongoing active investigations, while two (2) matters have been accordingly closed for lack of evidence.
In terms of monies returned to the State, the ACC has recovered a total sum of Two Billion, Seven Hundred And Forty-Two Million, One Hundred And Eighty-Five Thousand, Three Hundred and Four Leones, Sixty-One Cents (Le 2, 742, 185, 304, 61).