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P’ment concludes probe on COVID-19 audit

The Public Accounts Committee in Parliament has concluded its public hearings on the COVID-19 Audit carried out by Audit Service Sierra.

According to the Chairman of the Committee who doubles as Deputy Speaker of Parliament, Hon. Segepoh Solomon Thomas, the hearings provided an opportunity to lay bare issues raised in the report for the understanding of the general public.

On Wednesday February 10, 2021, the committee, together with auditors and journalists visited the offices of the National COVID-19 Emergency Response Center (NaCOVERC) and the Joint Logistics Unit to physically verify items mentioned in Appendix 16 of the report. Samples of i-5; i-7; smart phones; wheel chairs; and mattresses were verified by the Committee.

In respect of discrepancies and concerns raised by the auditors about the missing 1, 356 25 kg bags of rice without supporting documents; the PAC referred the matter to the Anti-Corruption Commission for investigation.

Also, on the query relating to 50 KVA Generator on paper donated by the Chinese Embassy and a 65 KVA Generator found in ZIMMI, the committee also referred same to the ACC for investigation. The reason is because of varied explanations on said donated 50 KVA Generator.

The committee has also advised NaCOVERC to review the SIERRATEL contract by making provision for shortfalls.

For the query relating to the 47 laptops, the PAC has promised to recommend stringent actions including criminal prosecution in addition to payment ordered by ACC on the proviso that the items supplied are of less value than specified. Meanwhile, officers have claimed on oath that the items supplied are of higher value than specified.

Following a business case and consideration with a human face, the Public Accounts Committee had earlier ruled and directed NaCOVERC that full payment is made to BUYA's Hotel; housing COVID-19 patients.

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